Cyberpark, Kozhikode grows from 6 to 113 firms in four years

Kozhikode, Feb 5 (FN Agency) Cyberpark Kozhikode has clocked a milestone achievement by adding 107 companies in just four years, as the government-owned IT hub for Northern Kerala today houses 113 firms as against six in the 2017-18 fiscal. As of this week, Cyberpark has allotted space to 56 companies. Of this, 44 are operational. Space has been allotted to 12 more companies, who would commence operation after obtaining SEZ approval in the pivotal Sahya building of the 45-acre campus. In addition, 47 companies are functioning from App Incubation Hub in Mobile 10x. Of these, 22 are startups (less than two years). Another 25 have availed co-working spaces. Cyberpark had only 4 companies functional in 2017 before Sahya building commenced operations.

That way, the total strength now has gone up to 113. The story of growth can also be seen when one looks at the area leased, number of employees and software exports over the last four years. The area under lease has gone up from 8 per cent in 2017-18 to 73 per cent in 2020-21. The number of employees grew from 107 to over 850 during the same period. Software exports marked an increase of nearly 390 per cent from Rs. 3,01,71,390 in 2017-18 to Rs 14,76,10,856 in 2019-20. Authorities attribute the feat mainly to a strategical approach that is tuned to the market demand and potential. Leveraging the demand from startups and smaller IT and ITeS companies has been the core strategy as small companies are busy optimising their cost without impacting service deliverables, authorities noted. Cyberpark, understanding the specifications of its clients, strategically initiated conversion of larger warm shell-space (lying idle for long) into smaller warm-shell units, accommodating companies as per their needs. The IT hub also initiated conversion of a basement space measuring around 50,000 sq ft into a fully-fitted-out smart business centre. It can accommodate 31 companies, starting from 500 sq ft to 2,500 sq ft with seaters ranging from a minimum of 10 to as high as 70.

These will be ready by end of the current financial year. Startups chiefly face the challenge of obscurity while sourcing global business. Cyberpark addresses this issue, as acquiring premium infrastructure space of a government-run IT park earns it instant recognition and quality ecosystem, experts point out. Unlike private space that is leased out at market price, government IT parks provide space at a subsidized rate with all supporting facilities. At a recent function organised to mark the growth of Cyberpark, the then Cyberpark General Manager Mr Nireesh C pointed out that amid the pandemic, there is a huge demand from startups. They are keen to explore global markets towards export business, especially for product-based companies.

The 2009-founded Cyberpark has proposed a new IT building, as the existing space will be fully occupied within a year, going by the number of Expressions of Interest from IT units. “Above all, as the startups are looking at innovative products and are into R& D, there is every possibility of a global recognition for units from Cyberpark,” Mr Nireesh added. Calicut Forum for Information Technology (CAFIT) President Harris P T said that northern Kerala has a good number of entrepreneurs eager to shift base to Kozhikode so as to optimise cost and access a large talent pool. “Covid-19 has opened huge opportunities for IT sector, as experienced and talented resources can be recruited from anywhere. The facility to work from home affords offices to go for smaller working space,” he said. As lease rentals play a significant role, Cyberpark will be an ideal destination for IT units to avail space — SBC or raw. Product-based startups can also avail KSUM’s rental subsidy, given that the park space is government-owned.

Subsequently, Kozhikode went on to become a decent destination for IT companies, as trend is to shift focus to tier-2 and 3 cities to optimise operational cost. Currently, 73 per cent of existing space has been leased out successfully and an additional space of 50,000 sq ft will be up in the next three months. Mr Harris, who is also Managing Director and CEO of M2H Infotech LLP, had his firm recently moving into Cyberpark. “The Covid-time initiatives are excellent here. So is the post-Covid support in accommodating startups,” he noted.