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Nandan Nilekani: Anand Mahindra, Nandan Nilekani anoint Bengaluru TecHalli

Bengaluru: Anand Mahindra and Nandan Nilekani have a new moniker for Bengaluru — TecHalli.

A play on words technology and ‘halli’ (which means village or place in Kannada), Mahindra announced the name as a winner after running a competition on Twitter to find a suitable replacement for ‘Silicon Valley of India’ which he said was too ‘wannabe’.

Known for engaging deeply with his followers on Twitter, Mahindra had also roped in Infosys co-founder and Chairman Nandan Nilekani to co-judge the competition which he kicked off on the microblogging site on June 1.

Then on Friday, Mahindra announced the winner of the competition as ‘TecHalli’ which was submitted by a user by the name of Srinivas Reddy. “His entry cleverly put the ‘H’ in Tech to double use. By capitalising the ‘H’ he drew attention to ‘Halli’ meaning Village/Place in Kannada. So we now go from Silicon Valley to TecHalli!,” Mahindra Tweeted.

As a prize for the competition, Mahindra said he would give a scale model of the Pininfarina H2 Speed, a concept car which was revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in 2016. The firm had claimed the zero-emissions hydrogen fuel cell vehicle would be able to reach speeds of 300 km/h.

Responding to critics who said that people who do not understand Kannada might not understand the meaning behind the name TecHalli, Mahindra said that it was time to make people understand what it meant. “Much of the world doesn’t speak English and didn’t initially understand what Silicon Valley meant either,” he said on Twitter.

Bengaluru is home to Indian IT services giants Infosys and Wipro and also large offices of technology giants such as Microsoft, Amazon and Google, apart from hundreds of other global firms that have setup tech centres in the city owing to the availability of highly trained tech talent.

The city has also birthed some of India’s biggest startups like Flipkart, Byju’s, Ola and Swiggy. Bengaluru is estimated to have over 13,000 startups, and is among the world’s fastest growing tech hubs, with venture capital investments flowing into the city growing by over 5.4 times from $1.3 billion in 2016 to $7.2 billion in 2020, according to data from Dealroom.co.

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