Indian Startups are Moving Towards Tier 3 & 4 Cities
India as a developing nation has become an oasis for startups. With the launch of government’s lead schemes like ‘startup India’, the Indian startup ecosystem is getting the much-needed thrust.
Sensing this opportunity Anuj, Kshitij and Sukrit along with some like-minded individuals went on to create India’s first content platform dedicated to Adventure sports and outdoors. They set up a one-room office on rent in New Delhi. However, they soon realized that with their meager savings wouldn’t get them through the year.
Following this, they came up with a solution of moving their base to Manali in Himachal Pradesh. This decision of moving operations to a tier-4 city opened strategic vistas of opportunities for them.
Infrastructure is a major fixed cost for every business, but this bunch was able to successfully cut it down by a whopping 50%. They could now afford ten independent studio styled rooms with two huge balconies, parking space, garden and some of the most beautiful Himalayan panoramas in one third the prize.
Manali itself is a very small quaint town and thankfully in India, small towns call for lower costs to maintain a good standard of living.
Thus they’re moving up higher North, brought cheaper eating options and organic food straight out of farms (a routine which some of us only dream of, staying in metros). Needless, to say travel became cheaper as most of Manali can be covered within a radius of 3 to 4 km. Also, Manali is easily accessible by all major cities like Delhi, Chandigarh etc.
The basic needs taken care of, the team could now focus on making content. This called for internet connectivity which was a major media distribution for their business.
Even though private ISPs in smaller towns charge a premium for their monopoly it was worth paying to keep things in motion for this startup.
For any organization, human resource is key, and 4play offered a lucrative opportunity of doing what one really dreamt or aspired to do in real life. Keeping the basic tenets of discipline and work ethic in place, the team agreed on non-conformity with working inside concrete structures from 9-5.
4play as an organization believes in ‘learn by doing’ and encourages its employees to experience the satisfying experience of adventure sports first hand. And it is not something just put down on paper but an active lifestyle and a basic practical knowledge of different sports are what the organization looks for in individuals who are keen on being associated with 4play.
4play’s vision and a mission were acknowledged by IIT Mandi – an incubation catalyst program. This opportunity presented itself to be instrumental in helping them network with key industry specialists to help distribute their content to a wider audience. Government grants and access to speaking opportunities at startup platforms like startup Jalsa in Chandigarh were a direct result of this association.
Creating content/entertainment around adventure and extreme sports not only helped in filling an existing vacuum in the space but also help create a lot of gainful employment in Manali.
Currently, 4play accounts for a substantial portion of villagers’ income in their region. Future expansion plans are perceived to create more of such social benefits.
The reason to move to Manali for its strategic advantage in terms of a landscape has not proved otherwise for the peeps at 4play. Not only, have they symbiotically helped in the growth of existing sports in the mountains of Himachal but also introduced possibilities of new sports that can be practiced here.
Their latest B.A.S.E. Jump project in the district of Kinnaur has put Himachal as a lucrative location for the sport on the map. It wouldn’t be a surprise to compare Manali in H.P. to Chamonix in France. Although, the same level of infrastructural development still needs to be achieved things are in the right direction.
Thus, 4play has come up with a very unique value proposition with a plethora of opportunities knocking at their door. It only goes to prove that even how bizarre an idea might seem, it will eventually find its audience/consumers if the product or service has value addition.