Why Bengaluru is India's Silicon Valley

In less than one century, Bengaluru has evolved from an overlooked agricultural city to a massive hub for ambitious visionaries from around the globe.

Dedee Droege

Of the many countries around the globe striving for technological innovation, India ranks higher and higher each year for growth, investments, and profit. Now considered the third-largest startup scene in the world with almost 27,000 active startups, India’s thriving entrepreneurial scene spans IT, healthcare, life sciences, education, and agriculture.


At the center of this dynamic economic ecosystem is, of course, Bengaluru, often referred to as the Silicon Valley of India. A hub for Indian unicorns, Bengaluru is living proof that India’s business sector is reaching impressive maturity.


Ever wondered how this South East Asian hub earned this title? Here’s a quick history of the city, its modern-day connections to California’s Silicon Valley, and its increasing importance in the global economy.

Bengaluru’s Roots

Before India gained independence from British colonizers in 1947, the country’s main role in the global market was providing cheap labor for agriculture and manufacturing. But after stepping away from British ties, the newfound government poured money into Karnataka’s capital Bengaluru through public sector and education investments.


Telecommunications, aerospace, heavy equipment, and defense projects soon swarmed the city, eventually attracting manufacturing leaders like Bharat Heavy Electronics, The Indian Telephone Industries, The National Aerospace Laboratories, and Hindustan Aeronautics.


By the 1980s, Bengaluru was uniquely positioned to seize the opportunities presented by the IT revolution. With an abundance of eager programmers and enticing operational costs, American companies started setting up shop and networking with local business leaders.


Texas Instruments took the leap in 1985, becoming the first multinational corporation to create a development center in India. With easy access to the rest of Southeast Asia, countless other companies soon followed TI’s lead.

Becoming Silicon Valley

Flash forward to today, and the city’s booming tech scene is third only to the United States and China. Thanks to a perfect blend of call center feasibility, well-trained talent, academic institutions, and low-cost custom software opportunities, 80% of international IT leaders have offices in the city, and its GDP has breached $110 billion.


However, Bengaluru technologists have pivoted away from doing the bidding of other professionals. In the last decade alone, the city’s startups have raised $31 billion. 14 unicorns account for this growth, earning a collective $61 billion valuation in the process. Though IT is still a prominent focus, many of these entrepreneurs are innovating in the AI, machine learning, and IoT sectors.

Shaping the Future of the Global Economy

In less than one century, Bengaluru has evolved from an overlooked agricultural city to a massive hub for ambitious visionaries from around the globe. In 2019, the City Momentum Index by global real estate services firm JLL named Bengaluru the world’s most dynamic city.


Culturally rich, conducive to innovation, and filled with eager young entrepreneurs, some experts predict a future where Bengaluru surpasses Silicon Valley itself. With the quality of labor on the rise throughout India and the city’s technological track record, Bengaluru is positioned for lasting – if not exponential – success.

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