HDFC Bank launches SmartUp Zone for start-ups in Chandigarh

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  • Sector 35 B branch to have a dedicated SmartUp zone in Chandigarh
  • SmartUp zones to be set up in 65 branches across 30 cities in India

HDFC Bank today announced the launch of SmartUp Zone in Chandigarh. A SmartUp Zone is an exclusive area inside the branch dedicated to start-ups. The SmartUp zone is located inside Sector 35 B branch in Chandigarh.

Through this zone, specially trained bank staff will offer tailor-made banking and advisory solutions to entrepreneurs. Furthermore, by accessing the bank’s new SmartUp portal, start-ups will be able to tap into the knowledge and experience of a complete network of start-ups while simultaneously offering their services to this universe.

The first SmartUp zone was launched in New Delhi and similar zones will be launched in over 65 branches in 30 cities across India, including tier 2 and 3 cities like Jaipur, Lucknow, Nagpur, Coimbatore, Surat to name a few, that are emerging as start-up hubs.

The SmartUp zone in Chandigarh was inaugurated by Mr. Jitender Yadav, IAS, Commissioner Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh with Mr Vineet Arora, Regional Head – Punjab, HDFC Bank in presence of other officials from the Bank. Chandigarh has a vibrant start-up eco-system with more than 700 start-ups (source: Angel.co) operating from the city. The objective is to service the needs of these start-ups and also encourage entrepreneurship.

This initiative is part of a larger effort by HDFC Bank to create an ecosystem to nurture the spirit of innovation and enterprise in the start-up space. The journey began with the launch of SmartUp, a first-of-its-kind banking solution for start-ups last year. SmartUp is tailored to meet all the requirements of a start-up, offering banking and payment solutions, along with advisory and forex services. This year, the bank is taking its start-up offering to the next level with dedicated SmartUp zones for start-ups.

 “At HDFC Bank, we believe that start-ups need partners, who will be with them right from the start of their entrepreneurial journey, creating solutions that evolve as the company grows. The launch of SmartUp zone in Chandigarh is aimed at creating a complete ecosystem to nurture the spirit of innovation and enterprise in this region. We will be looking at opening similar SmartUp zones across other cities in Punjab. After the launch of SmartUp last year, we are taking offerings for start-ups to the next level this year. We have also revamped the SmartUp product suiteto include escrow accounts for investors and demat shares for these unlisted companies for raising funds,” said Mr. Vineet Arora, Regional Head – Punjab, HDFC Bank.

At HDFC Bank, the objective is to harness the potential of the start-up and fintech eco-system using a multi-pronged approach. The SmartUp zone is one such initiative. Recently the Bank also announced the launch of Industry Academia where it will work with the incubation and entrepreneurship cells at IIT Bombay, IIT Roorkee and IIM Ahmedabad to mentor start-ups at these institutions. The Bank intends to take this programme across other leading educational institutions in India.

The Bank’s Digital Innovation Summit in its second year has enabled it to get ideas in fintech space particularly in AI and machine learning. For example, our chatbot Eva is from Senseforth, a fintech and one of the winners at the Digital Innovation Summit.

The enhanced offering includes:

  1. End-to-end banking solutionscustomized to suit their requirements
  2. Specially trained, dedicated staff to cater to start-up needs
  3. Assistance with partnerships and alliancesin terms of cost savings and growth levers
  4. Access to HDFC Bank’s SmartBuy platform, which allows them to market their product to the general public
  5. Showcase products to over 40 million HDFC Bank customers

Five quick factson the start-up market in India

  • After US and UK, India is the 3rd largest start-up ecosystem globally
  • According to estimates, there are around 20,000 start-ups in the country
  • Tech start-ups are expected to grow 2x to 11,000 companies by 2020
  • In 2016, start-ups are estimated to have generated close to 1,00,000 jobs
  • In 2016, funded start-ups are estimated to comprise only 5% of total start-ups