Surat Emerges as a Thriving Hub for SaaS Startups in India

Surat Emerges as a Thriving Hub for SaaS Startups in India

Surat, known as India’s diamond city, is now making its mark in the world of Software as a Service (SaaS) startups, following in the footsteps of Chennai. With over 2,530 startups, Surat houses 164 SaaS-based companies, offering a range of services such as financial management, export-import management, and cloud-based solutions. These startups have collectively secured an impressive $224 million in funding to date.

Surat’s SaaS Startup Landscape:

  • Surat boasts over 2,530 startups, with 164 of them being SaaS-based companies.
  • SaaS startups in Surat cater not only to global enterprises but also to local traditional industries.
  • Prominent SaaS startups in Surat include Dhiwise, Trezix, Ezee, VideoSDK, and Wishbook, serving markets from Gujarat and Chennai to the UK and the US.
  • Many of these startups employ 150-200 people, with a significant number of graduates from the local National Institute of Technology contributing to the talent pool.
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Inspired by Chennai:

  • The success of SaaS giants Zoho and Freshworks in Chennai encouraged entrepreneurs to start their own ventures.
  • Chennai, with more than 1,132 SaaS startups, earned the title of “SaaS capital of India.”
  • Surat-based entrepreneurs, inspired by the Chennai ecosystem, began attending SaaS community events and sharing their experiences with others.
  • Surat’s SaaSBOOMi chapter, led by Vishal Virani of Dhiwise, has gained momentum with increasing participation.

The Gujarati Advantage:

  • Surat’s SaaS startups exhibit a unique business mindset, focusing on profitability and cost efficiency.
  • The availability of local talent and the relatively low cost of living and operations contribute to the success of startups in Surat.
  • The affordability of skilled software programmers in Surat, compared to cities like Bengaluru, makes it an attractive destination for businesses.
  • Industry associations, such as TiE, have played a vital role in promoting and supporting startups in Surat.

Tapping into Local Industries:

  • Unlike their Chennai counterparts, SaaS startups in Surat serve traditional local industries, such as textiles and diamonds.
  • Surat-based SaaS products address the digitalization and modernization needs of these industries.
  • Startups like VideoSDK, TreZix, and Ezee offer specialized solutions for the textile and diamond sectors, further propelling Surat’s growth as a SaaS hub.
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A Strong Talent Pool:

  • Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology (SVNIT) in Surat has played a crucial role in nurturing local talent for the city’s startups.
  • Surat’s engineering colleges, along with the return of skilled professionals from cities like Mumbai and Pune, contribute to the availability of competent software engineers.

Challenges and Future Prospects:

  • Surat’s SaaS startups face visibility challenges and struggle to secure funding, despite the growing interest in SaaS ventures.
  • However, investors like Accel, India Quotient, Together Fund, and Upekkha are recognizing the potential of startups from smaller cities.
  • Lack of awareness about government initiatives and programs remains a hurdle for startups in Surat.
  • While engineering talent is abundant, the availability of management-level talent poses a challenge.
  • Surat has made significant progress, but it still has a journey ahead to match the established SaaS ecosystem in Chennai.

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