talent and first-world infrastructure.
"We were alone. We had no idea how to make a company, how to sell it We tried, failed, tried, failed," said Kallidil Kalidasan, a 23-year-old member who started a mobile app venture in Kerala two years ago and could not find a single investor.
He is now one of the entrepreneurs at Startup Village, and is working on a product that could help the government detect illegal abortions in a country plagued by female foeticide.
The seven-month-old Startup Village provides would-be entrepreneurs with workspace at rents about a tenth of anywhere else in Kochi, computers, a high-speed Internet connection, legal and intellectual property services and access to high-profile investors.
The village is still to be completed, but 68 people, would-be entrepreneurs and their teams, have already taken up two buildings at the site.
Spread over 100,000 sq ft (9,250 sq m) - equivalent to 20 basketball courts - Startup Village will be completed in 2014. India has 120 other incubators, but they are mostly housed in academic institutions and have not drawn a strong network of advisers from the private sector.
Startup Village, the first such institution to be jointly funded by the government and private sector, has Gopalakrishnan as its chief promoter and has collaborations with companies such as BlackBerry maker Research in Motion and IBM.
"One, the goal of this initiative is to create new companies and create jobs. Second, this will create new solutions and products," Gopalakrishnan said in an e-mail interview.
He is excited about creating an ecosystem for entrepreneurs in his home-state, Kerala, which is famous for its tropical coastline and backwaters. The Village team says it chose Kerala because costs are lower than New Delhi or Mumbai and it has 150 engineering colleges that can provide start-up enthusiasts.
But for some, Startup Village will not work because it does not provide the right environment for a budding tech start-up.
"What does an entrepreneur need besides money? They need strong support in terms of advice," said Mukund Mohan, who has founded and sold three Silicon Valley start-ups and is CEO-in-residence at the Microsoft Accelerator. The