UK opens its doors for tech partnerships with Indian companies

Avril Ann Braganza Monday 06th May 2019 09:29 EDT

Twenty of India’s Tech and FinTech scale-ups, which won the Tech Rocketship and FinTech Rocketship Awards this year, have been offered an opportunity to set up their global headquarters in the United Kingdom. Over the years, this initiative has been helping the UK further its economic growth and strengthen its ties with the Indian subcontinent. 

These competitions — organised by the British High Commission in India — gave the winning firms an opportunity to spend a week in London and Manchester, learning and understanding the nitty-gritty of setting up base in the UK. Thedelegation of 20 met with the Department for International Trade (DIT) and the British High Commission of India, at the House of Lords in London on Tuesday to discuss their prospects and have their questions answered.

“The purpose of these awards is to attract the fastest growing Indian technology companies spanning all verticals, including cyber, FinTech, AI, and Big Data in which we feel there will be incredible opportunities and synergies with the UK,” said Gita Krishnankutty, Head of Investment, British Deputy High Commissioner. Through these competitions — now in their sixth year — approximately 10 Indian firms have already set up base in the UK. The winners had the opportunity to travel to the UK as guests of the DIT and the British High Commission to view incubators, accelerators, and spaces where entrepreneurs and technology companies can be established. They also had the chance to meet other companies and potential clients, visit cohorts, understand UK’s technological landscape, and learn about the opportunities that the universities’ academia and the UK start-up ecosystem offer global companies.

“India is a priority market for the British Government, because of its fast growing economy and talented workpool,” explained Alpesh Patel, Dealmaker, Global Entrepreneur Programme, Department for International Trade. The hope is that once these companies are exposed to the UK market, they will establish their headquarters here within 5-10 years. Eventually, they will become incredibly valuable British companies that the DIT then helps, in their exports around the world. “When Indian companies set up in the UK and become British companies, more jobs are created here — they employ more people, the employees and the company pay taxes, which in turn advances UK’s economic growth and improves the entrepreneur ecosystem as well,” he said. Patel clarified that DIT’s role in helping companies export is open to all British businesses whether or not they’re originally from India. 

He believes this arrangement will benefit India as well. “If the shareholder is Indian and he remits some of his profits back to India, India benefits. As they grow globally, they’re going to use more Indian services as well,” he added.

In terms of establishing their headquarters in the UK, the DIT assists these businesses with everything from advice about where to set up their offices; introductions to lawyers who will help them transfer their patents from India to the UK and visa guidance to hiring staff, developing their business strategies, and getting access to customers, capital, export markets, as well as research and development centres, through which they can improve their products. 

How did this sit for the visiting delegation? For Shruti Aggarwal, Co-founder of StashFin — a digital lending venture — this collaboration works well. “We hadn’t thought about looking at the West. We’ve always been looking East — Singapore and Indonesia being similar platforms. This has opened up a whole new world, where open banking companies like Dozens and Monzo work in parallel with larger companies like Lloyd’s. It gives us an opportunity to think about being large and about being competitors to banks like Lloyds and Barclays. To be a global firm, we can’t only think about going East, but going West as well,” she said. 

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