Life in Dubai for Indians: 22 Things to Know Before Moving to Dubai


Life in Dubai

Dubai often known as the pearl of the gulf has done wonders to scale up on the happiness quotient. It is one of the happiest countries to live in for residents and ex-pats. Its strategic location plays one of the major roles as it has the best of both worlds. You are just a hop skip away from your country while enjoying all the bounties of the western world. Its proximity to the Indian sub-continent is one of the motivating factors for an expat to make that decision to relocate to Dubai. For more than two decades, Dubai has been a go-to destination for Indian professionals. A majority of them were either blue-collar workers or professionals employed in traditional industries such as banking, retail, finance, construction, etc.
However, times are changing. Hundreds of new-age businesses including eCommerce companies, tech startups, online media agencies, etc are coming up in Dubai, and many major corporations have set up offices that handle modern aspects of their businesses, such as technology and digital marketing.

So how is life in Dubai for Indians? Here are 22 things that you should know before moving to Dubai:

Life in Dubai

1) Tax Laws: This is by far the biggest charm of Dubai. It is one of the very few countries in the world which has no income tax. The figure which is reflected in your offer letter is the one you actually take home.

2) Money Transfer: Dubai is a hub for money transfer, Indian are the biggest lot when it comes to foreign exchange transfer. Since it is a tax-free transfer you will find a string of people outside exchange houses at the start of the month. There are loyalty cards and discounts which you can also avail in all these exchange houses. Dirham being a strong currency has also helped in building confidence in the expat community as their transfer amount has been on an increase in the past few years.

3) Passport: Uae government has passed a law stating that the employers cannot withhold any employees passport, unlike the 80s & 90s.Employees have their passport at their disposal and have the freedom to travel.

4) Visa Process: The visa process for Dubai is quite simple and hassle-free. Dubai has one of the friendliest visa processing. In fact, their government offices are ranked on the customer services they provide and are judged on a happiness meter. It has a range of visa to choose from and applicants can choose for a visa, based on his/her requirements. Most companies do encourage family sponsorship, however, if you have to sponsor your parents, spouse and kids on your own the process is quite simple and swift.

If you’re a Dubai-based startup looking to hire the right talent, outsource your requirements to the pioneers of startup hiring.

5) Distance By Air:  This is also one of the major magnets of attracting crowds to Dubai. It is like travelling from Mumbai to Pune minus the traffic. The average flying hour from Dubai to major cities in India is about 2.5 to 3 hrs. Since there are many airlines which fly out of Dubai you will easily find a flight at any time of the day at the most reasonable fare. Most companies include a family return ticket in your yearly package.


6) Expenses: One point which most of the expats agree on is that an individual can manage a decent lifestyle with a budget of about AED 7000 for a month. This includes rental, car, food bills and basic utilities. If you plan to move there with a family, you need to add about 2000 Aed to your living cost. Unlike other western countries, Dubai has the flexibility to hire cheap labour you can sponsor your own maid or there are labour rental companies who will do the process for you.

Life in Dubai

7) Housing: Dubai offers a vast choice of housing options from studios to Villas. Expats can choose to reside in a culturally ingrained area like Karama or an upbeat are towards new Dubai like Jumeirah. Depending on the area in Dubai, a 1BHK can be rented anywhere between 3000 AED to 5000 AED, a 2BHK can be rented between 5000 AED to 8000 AED, and a 3BHK can be rented between 8000 AED to 12000 AED. Real estate is another booming industry in Dubai other than tourism and the flexible laws allow you to own a property in the emirate.

Also Read: What You Need to Know About Moving to Dubai from the USA

8) Schooling: Dubai houses a lot of excellent schools which offers both Indian and International curriculum. Education is monitored by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) hence most of the schools offer quality education and excellent facilities. Find a detailed guide on how to choose a school in Dubai. 

9) Clothing: Dubai is a fashion meltdown as its counterparts like Milan and New York. You can find about 80% of the world’s clothing brand in the city. When is comes to clothing people are free to wear what they like except for covering up when they visit a mosque.

Nightlife in Dubai

10) Entertainment: Dubai has a vibrant nightlife and options include clubs, lounges, high-end restaurants, and theatres showing the latest Hollywood/Bollywood flicks. It is a myth that alcohol is banned in Dubai. While there are practically no wine shops, you can go to a club/hotel/restaurant for some beer, wine, vodka, etc. Dubai is also known for its no-nonsense attitude towards narcotics, so it is advisable not to do anything naughty in that regard or you might land up in big trouble.

11) Language: Dubai has a huge number of expats from the sub-continent, which means there is no language barrier, especially for dependents. English is the official language of communication, however you can easily walk into a grocery store and strike up a conversation in Hindi.

12) Commuting: Dubai has a great infrastructure and good connectivity with the other Emirates. Many Indian expats who work in Dubai prefer to stay in Sharjah (relatively cheaper rents) and then enjoy a scenic commute. In addition, public transport is quite reliable. The Dubai Metro is the world’s longest fully automated metro network (75km), and the bus service is very good. Carpooling is quite trendy too in Dubai, and once in a while, you can hail a cab (a slightly expensive option).

13) Cars: Dubai is a great city to own cars, thanks to awesome roads and ample parking spaces (in most areas). It is easy to get a decent pre-owned SUV for around 500 AED per month. In fact, you can even get an entry-level BMW or a sports car, if you are earning more than 8000 AED. And yes, petrol is quite cheap.

14) Food Options: If culture is equal to food, then Dubai can be called the apt melting pot! Probably one of the only places that offer affordable food from all corners of the globes. Nearly all F&B chains and QSR (quick service restaurants) are present in Dubai, right from McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, etc to Indian brands and outlets such as Bikaner, Makhan Bhogs, Udipis (Sukh Sagar), Tibbs, etc. Dinning is not limited to fast-food joints as you can experience some of the craziest dining options like tea in the sky or Dine in the dark etc.

15) Security: UAE was ranked as the safest country in the world as 96% of the citizen feel safe to walk outside at night as per the official survey. The crime rate in Dubai is very low and citizen and expat really feel safe in this country. A bunch of girls can easily go out in the night without worrying a lot about safety. Dubai is one of those cities that respects women.

16) Religion: Dubai is an Islamic country however it is one of the most tolerant country of the world. All religions thrive well in Dubai and you can easily find places of worship and communities for all faiths. Dubai celebrates all festival with equal zeal and fireworks be it Eid, Diwali or Christmas. The year 2019 was known as the Year of tolerance and Dubai witness the famous visit of Pope Francis.

Dubai Beach drive-in

17) People: A majority of the expats are from the sub-continent (India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh) and GCC countries. The locals, called as Emiratis, are a friendly bunch and usually prefer to stay to themselves. It is very easy to be a part of a community in Dubai as expats outnumber the locals.

18) Tourist Places: Dubai is one of the topmost tourist destinations in the world. It has many tourist places, and offers you a varied experience, right from desert safaris, theme parks, water parks, beaches, art, architecture, etc. Amongst other things, it has the tallest building in the world, the largest shopping centre, the tallest residential building, the tallest hotel, and the world’s largest indoor ski resort! Among the many feathers in its touristy cap, Dubai added another feather with Louvre Abu Dhabi.

19) Shopping: Dubai is a shopaholic’s paradise as it has many malls, including one of the world’s largest (a bigger one is under construction). There are many supermarkets too that offer an international experience whether you are buying groceries or home furnishings. It is also home to Dragon Mart, which is a mall in the shape of a dragon with nearly 4000 shops offering a variety of inexpensive Chinese products. Apart from the malls, Dubai also has a souq culture where you can get the local spices and the traditional items eg Abayas, Honduras etc.

Dubai Mall

20) Medical Expenses: Employers in Dubai must compulsorily offer medical insurance, and most companies offer family medical insurance along with the salary package. Dubai has some of the best hospitals with great facilities which have progressed leaps and bounds in recent years.

21) Holidays: Most companies follow the UAE holiday list, and work on Sundays and have weekly off on Friday and Saturday. Depending on the company, you can adjust your leaves (expats are entitled 30 in a year) for certain holidays. Unlike India, where there is a culture of staying late at work, most people in Dubai are in the office for eight to nine hours only. This culture promotes a good work-life balance.

22) Fines: The big downside about Dubai is the fines. Littering or spitting can get you into trouble, and Dubai is quite apt when it comes to the implementation of such laws. That is what keeps the city clean and safe. Most of the citizens are law-abiding and hence are able to live a safe and secure life. Dubai has truly be called a home away from home.

23)International Travel: Dubai’s strategic location also makes it easy for residents to take an international vacation. You can take a family vacation to budget destination eg Georgia, Sri Lanka, Jordon etc for a less as 8000 Aed.

If you are a startup in Dubai / Middle East looking to hire, please get in touch with us now!


Waqar Azmi (Founder & CEO, Sutra Services) featured on BBC news


Waqar Azmi on BBC

Mr. Waqar Azmi, our founder and CEO, featured on BBC news as an expert in a bulletin discussion on emerging recruitment trends (airing date-26th February 2015).

Waqar shared his expert opinion on the new and innovative mediums that recruiters around the world are using to acquire great talent while easing out the recruitment process.

Here is an excerpt of the same.



Over the years, we have been covered by a number of media organisations. Check out some of our media mentions on our YouTube channel SutraTV


12 Pages Why You Should Join Us


“HR”, does it ring any bell? Well, most of us perceive this profession to be revolving mainly around two things; hiring and firing. SutraHR exposed a fresh new side of HR in the year 2008 and has been working constantly since then, towards striking a balance between HR as a profession and as a passion. This time too, we have come up with a remarkable way of exhibiting it’s extraordinary growth opportunity, amazing learning experience, super cool work culture and loads & loads of fun elements in the form of a photobook.




Do feel free to share the same with your friends. In case you want to know more about us checkout our Careers page.



Top 100 Startups in India to Watch in 2015


Top Startups IndiaAs we welcome the new year, SutraHR is delighted to present the list of top 100 startups to look out for in 2015. After the overwhelming response to our last article — list of top 100 startups to watch in 2014, we are back with a compilation of some of the most promising and ambitious Indian startups. Majority of the companies which featured in our list last year went on to achieve huge success and established themselves in their respective domains. Along with expert inputs from Mr Waqar Azmi, CEO, Sutra Services, we’ve collated this list of ingenious startups which we think will make their mark on the startup fraternity of India.

Update: Top Startups in India 2020


New Year has rolled and the list of 2018 has come in too!

AdPushup – Helps optimize online ad revenues by using advanced automated A/B Testing.
All India Bakchod – India’s edgiest comedy collective running a popular podcast on YouTube.
Alma Mater – ,Online store providing apparel and memorabilia to alumni students from schools and colleges across India.
AudioCompass – “Turns smartphones into personal audio tour guides, and helps travelers explore India.”
AxisRooms – Allows hotels to update and share their inventory status with agents and portals in real time.
BankBazaar – “Internet-based multi-brand financial product comparison platform, designed to aid applicants with choosing loans and credit cards online, without need of any paper work and offline processing.”
Betaout – “Develops cloud-based platforms and tools that enable digital agencies to manage content production.”
Browntape – Helps online retailers manage listings and sales on multiple online stores.
Capital Float – An online platform that provides working capital finance to SMEs (small and medium enterprises) in India.
Cardback – “A predictive Android app that alerts users about which of their credit, debit or loyalty cards will give them the best deal, based on their card options and current location.”
CarIQ – “A connected car platform that offers tailor made services and products that allow users to remotely manage, monitor, and interact with their vehicle.”
ClearSharp – An online platform for filing income tax returns in India.
CouponDunia – A digital coupon marketplace connecting consumers with retailers and brands.
Coverfox – Focused on helping customers evaluate insurance plans.
Culture Machine – “Optimises one’s digital and analog presence to grow his/her YouTube channels via collaboration with creators and their fans, besides helping him/her build an audience.”
DocTree – Helps patients secure a negotiated and guaranteed price for procedures and enables them to search for and select healthcare providers through a two-way dynamic online process.
Dream11 – A unique and innovative platform that enables users to showcase their cricket knowledge and skill to win cash daily in their fantasy leagues.
Eatlo – “A platform where food lovers come together to eat, explore, share and gather their food intelligence.”
Embibe – An online test prep portal specializing in engineering entrance exams.
eShakti – An online women’s apparel company that offers Size 0-36W and specializes in mass-customization on designer clothes for women.
Explara –  An event solutions platform offering discovery to users and sollutions to event organizers.
FirstRide – A complete solution provider for all your car related requirements.
FixNix – Provides GRC solutions to growing markets like India and Africa.
Flatchat – Enables networking within a community of people looking for common accommodation.
Floh – An invitation only platform which connects single men and women.
Frankly.me – “A platform which enables people to ask questions to celebrities and other users and get answered in the form of video selfies.”
FreshMenu – “A meal kit delivery service aimed at the busy urban individual who seeks nutritious food, but may not have the time or inclination to prepare one.”
Frilp – An online platform that helps users discover a shop or service through their friends and people they trust in the real world.
Frrole – A big data startup specializing in analysing Twitter data.
frsh – Serves corporate clients in Gurgaon looking for healthy food.
Function Space – “Network for students, researchers and enthusiasts in Mathematics, Physics, and other sciences.”
fusedcow – Offers a platform for real estate developers to sell customised apartments to end customers.
Gigstart – Marketplace that facilitates quick and transparent connections between entertainers and party planners.
GoPaisa – Enables users to avail cash back or a cash reward on their purchases from 300+ retailers listed on the platform.
Greencart.in – E-commerce platform specializing in fresh produce and gourmet food.
GROFERS – A logistics company that has a fleet of foot soldiers and tie ups with local merchants for delivery of goods to customers from shops around them.
GrownOut – A referral hiring solution to make recruiting more efficient and cost-effective.
HackerEarth – Helps other startups hire programmers through technical challenges.
HelpingDoc – A gateway for health care providers to connect to their patients.
hopscotch.in – E-commerce startup selling products for infants and kids.
HotelsAroundYou – A website that allows customers to book quality hotel rooms at the last minute.
Housejoy – A website that provides home services like plumber / electrician / carpenter etc.
Instahyre – A career marketplace that connects the best talent with tech companies in India.
Junglee Games – A fast growing legal cash gaming company.
LimeTray – “A platform that provides restaurants with a platform to run day-to-day operations including ordering, online presence management, and CRM.”
Linkstreet Learning – A software company that provides technology solutions and high-end support for education and learning.
Lookup – A free messaging app which helps consumers to chat with local businesses.
Lybrate.com – “A healthcare platform that connects patients and doctors making healthcare more accessible, opening up more possibilities for patients and more time for doctors.”
MartMobi – “A mobile technology company that enables world’s leading eCommerce sites, Brands, Retailers to go instant mobile and tablet across all existing mobile platforms.”
MiCar – A Delhi-based self-drive car rental service company.
MyRefers – A referral based recruitment platform.
Nearify – A mobile app that collates information on local events.
News In Shorts – An app that provides readers with crisp news in sixty words.
Octro – “A mobile multiplayer gaming companythat makes digital versions of popular local classics, such as card game Indian Rummy or the bingo-style Tambola.”
OnlinePrasad.com – An e-commerce site that offers home delivery of religious items from over 50 temples.
Overcart – A company that helps other e-commerce companies manage their customer returns and sell their unsold stock to end consumers.
OYO Rooms – A website that provides marketplace of branded budget rooms with standardization of experience.
Phone Warrior – App for Android and iOS that blocks mobile spam calls and text messages.
POKKT – An alternative monetisation platform for app developers and publishers.
POPxo – “A dynamic digital media startup and a growing fashion, beauty and lifestyle website for women.”
Posist – A cloud-based restaurant management platform.
PressPlay – A startup that distributes tabs that are preloaded with content to make sure your travel is a breeze.
Primaseller – A cloud-based POS system for vendors to list their products and download orders from eBay and Amazon.
Printvenue – Rocket Internet-backed online printing solution.
Purple Squirrel – Provides an industry-based experiential learning program for students enabling them to make informed career choices.
Qikwell – ,Online doctor appointment booking platform.
RapidValue – “A software sollution that helps companies migrate their business operations to laptops, tablets and smartphones.”
Red Monster – “A mobile social gaming company.”
RezNext – A real-time distribution technology company.
Roposo – “A fashion focused social-network that allows women to discover and shop new products through trends which are liked, curated, personalized and updated from online brands and e-commerce portals.”
Sapience – Provides employee productivity improvement solutions to enterprises.
ScoopWhoop – An Indian-focused entertainment media startup.
Scroll.in – A digital daily that features original reporting and stories from leading publications from around the world.
Scrollback – A free open-source chat platform for online communities.
ShopClues – An online marketplace on which merchants from all over India sell millions of products.
SocialCops – A data and analytics startup that aims to power decision making through high quality data sourced from the grassroots.
Sourceeasy – “A web platform for designers, ecommerce stores, brands to source their private label apparel online.”
SquadRun –  A crowdsourcing platform that connects business to a smartphone enabled workforce.
TalentPad – An online recruitment platform that connects talent with employers in the technology/internet/analytics space.
Talview – A video interview platform based on the concept of asynchronous video interviews.
TaxiPixi –  A transport technology provider startup.
Teabox – “A speciality e-commerce startup based in the North Eastern town of Siliguri, serves fresh tea packages across Russia, US, China and Japan.”
Testbook – A website that provides a variety of mock tests to give student’s preparation a final shape for most of the competitive exams being conducted online in India.
Timesaverz – An online platform to obtain people for home services.
TinyOwl – A Mumbai-based startup that offers a location-based mobile app for food ordering
Toppr.com – An online exam preparation platform.
TravelTriangle – An online marketplace where travel agents hawk the best customised holiday deals.
TripFactory – A online service that helps users search and discover relevant content and make travel plans.
TripHobo – An online trip planning platform.
Tripoto – “An online platform that brings together travellers from around the world to share and discover real, and actionable crowd-sourced travel stories.”
Vee – Help users find out companions around their area and get into mutual relationships.
TheViralFever – One of the first Indian channel on Youtube to create original comic videos.
Venturepact – An invite only marketplace that connects companies with trusted software development firms.
Vistaprint – An online provider of marketing products and services to small businesses and independent professionals.
Vox Pop – An online portal that offers licenced apparel merchandise.
WizRocket – “Enables web messaging, push notifications, in-app messaging and reaching out to customers via SMS or email.”
Wonobo – A street view mapping service.
Woo – “Helps you meet people who are similar to you in terms of lifestyle and interests and are looking for meaningful relationships.”
Yup! – Android and iOS based messaging app.
Zippr – A central location management service that enables users to create and share short codes.


We have listed out the startups based on:

Traction: How well these Indian startups are receiving a market validation for its business model. Basically, how well the consumers are taking to the product/service.
Potential Market: How big is the market share for the respective product/service. Will the product be welcomed with wide arms in the market or will it be just another not-so-great product.
Pedigree of the Team: The background and professional credentials of the startup’s team members. Many of these listed startups are by IITians and past employees of big MNCs as well as professionals with a rich experience in the field.
Scalability: Even if the initial idea of the product/service is extraordinary, is there a chance for the business to grow? These startups have shown great potential and many have also received fundings, while others are not so far behind in line.
Execution:Ideas are easy. It’s the execution of ideas that really separates the men from the boys. A really great team finds its happiness in execution because it is more likely to succeed than one which focuses just on ideas.

Disclaimer: We have worked with many startups mentioned in the list, and have built teams & hired extensively for them.


If you want to build a team for your startup, click here.

…Or click here, if you are looking for a job at an awesome startup.


Top 100 Startups in India to Watch in 2014


Top Startups IndiaAfter the great response we received for our last article — list of top 100 startups in 2013, we are now back with a bang! Here is the list of startups in India to look out for in 2014 – presented by SutraHR. In retrospect, 2013 saw a number of ingenious startups blooming across India. Some pushing the limits while some startups crumbling to dust. Nevertheless, with its highs and lows, the Indian startup scene has grabbed global eyeballs and continues to do so with many promising startups emerging. Along with expert inputs from Mr Waqar Azmi, CEO, Sutra Services, we’ve collated this list of ingenious startups that have made their mark on the startup fraternity of India.

Update: Top Startups in India 2020


New Year has rolled and the list of 2018 has come in too!

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Airstream – Lets you stream your PC data on your tablets and smartphones.
AlmaConnect – Website that connects you with your alumni network.
Appiterate – Delhi-based WYSIWYG A/B testing platform for app developers and publishers.
AppSurfer  – Marketing tool to make your app/product/service more interactive and engaging.
Artoo – “Helps businesses to capture, analyse and process information through mobiles/smartphones/tablets.”
AxisRooms – ,”A platform where hotels can manage their contracts, B2B partners and other hotel distributions.”
BedBathMore – Online shopping portal dedicated to home furnishings.
Birds Eye Systems – Provides real-time traffic information and traffic flows.
bluegape – Website that helps brands launch their fan merchandise.
Brizz TV – They aim to bring the best of internet on the TV with just a set-top box.
Cashkaro – “India’s leading cashback and coupon website, who have partnered with many big brands like Flipkart, Jet Airways, Myntra, Expedia.”
Chumbak – Website where you can buy funky products and fridge magnets inspired by India.
CipherCloud – Software that protects your data on cloud.
ClickAstro.com – Readers Choice,Website offering services and information related to different branches of astrology.
CloudMunch – A full stack DevOps platform for developers.
Contify – A product that acts as your personal industry news reporter.
CouponDunia – Find discount coupons of various top brands.
Crayon Data – Aims to make big data simplified.
Credii – “A platform that helps companies discover, select and buy great services and software.”
CrudeArea – Online graphic art marketplace.
CultureAlley – Learn languages with free audio-visual videos and vocabulary sessions.
DailyObjects – Online site for electrical gadgets and accessories.
DataWeave – “Aggregates, organizes and visualizes data points across the web and makes them available to your apps and analytics.”
Deck – A new kind of presentation app that is simple and effortless.
Delhivery – Simplified logistics solution for ecommerce businesses.
DeliveryChef – Online portal for ordering food with a huge list of local restaurants.
DocSuggest – Website where you can search for doctors in your city.
EasyRewardz – Collaborative market place where members can track and manage their loyalty balances.
Engrave – “Deals in customized wallpapers, posters, engravings, signboards etc.”
Eventifier – “Lets you archive and save all your photos, videos, tweets, conversations, etc from various events.”
Examify – Website for students where they can find questions on any subject and also practise them on various levels.
Fab Bag – “An online store for high quality, branded cosmetics for men and women.”
FabAlley – Indian shopping portal for women clothing and accessories.
Flat.to – “Startup catering to college students, working professionals and outstation individuals on their accommodations needs.”
FlatPebble – Website where you can search and hire for photographers for any occasion.
FlexiMoms – “Flexijobs, part-time work, consultant, remote working options, etc for Indian women.”
Fork Media – An ad solutions startup helping businesses with their brand awareness.
Giftery – Website where you can book gift packages and deals for your friends and loved ones.
Gingr – App that has introduced handles for businesses and allows its users to solve their queries over an instant message.
Girnar Soft – IT company that works on offshore products and outsourced software development.
Giveter – S-commerce website that finds out the recipient’s interests on FB to help you gift better.
Grabhouse –  India’s first roommate search engine.
Haptik –  Allows users to have direct conversations with companies over an SMS.
Heckyl Technologies – Big data based analytical platform for businesses.
Homeveda – A repositiory of how-to videos on curing some common diseases and ailments with the use of Ayurveda.
Hope Monkey – Website that helps you support causes and donate to various NGOs.
Housing – Online portal that lets you search for apartments on rent or on sale.
ideaDevice – Data center automation startup.
IIMjobs – Online management job portal.
India Circus – Online shopping portal for various decorative items.
InOpen – An IIT Bombay startup that focuses on developing in-depth and well researched academic content.
JustUnfollow – ,An app for Twitter users that lets you unfollow people.
Kartrocket – Aims to simplify online selling in India.
LIQVD Asia – Asia’s first digital experiential marketing company.
Little Eye Labs – Acquired by Facebook,Builds mobile app analysis tools that give detailed insights about the behavior of the app.
ManagementParadise.com – “Website offering educational queries, help for projects, etc to management students.”
MagnetWorks – Helps small and medium businesses by providing real-time analytics tools.
MediaAnt – Bridges the gap between businesses and media agencies.
MetisMe – Attachment management system that helps you handle and organize your emails better.
Milaap – “Connects borrowers who need money for a small business, education, etc with lenders.”
Mobikwik – Website where you can recharge and pay all your bills online.
Moojic – “Digital jukebox for restaurants, cafes, gyms and bars.”
Musafir – Travel website that offers flights to over 3000 destinations around the world.
NowFloats – Website creators for small and medium businesses.
Online Prasad – Delivers prasad and other auspicious items from various pilgrimage spots at your doorstep.
Palet.ly – “Online community that showcases celebrity styles, street styles and funky wear, which can be then bought from the linked ecommerce websites.”
Phone Warrior – Spam guard for mobile phones.
Poster Gully – “Online fan merchandise store with products inspired from famous TV shows, movies, football players, witty quotes, etc.”
PriceBaba – Search engine that helps you compare prices of various gadgets.
Purplle  – “Online store for buying cosmetics, haircare, skincare products, etc.”
Qyuki  – Social media platform for artists.
ReachAccount – Software that caters to all your accounting needs.
RecruiterBox – An easy and affordable recruiting software.
SayShaadi.com – Premium online solution for Indian weddings that has everything and anything that a to-be couple need for the big day.
ShepHertz – Cloud ecosystem provider that offers mobile backend as a service.
Shopsense – Helps retailers engage customers and give them a better shopping experience.
Simplify360 – Provides an integrated enterprise solution to businesses for their social needs.
SkoolShop – Deals with all school and academically needed products.
SnapLion – Instant app builder for brands.
Spotzot – Enables retailers and brands to reach out to customers by way of promotions and coupons.
Stayzilla – Helps you make accommodation arrangements in the remotest of places across India.
The Label Corp – Online retail store that has celebrity directors on board who style and design products.
Thrill – A mobile dating app.
Thrillophilia – India’s leading activity travel curator.
Ticket Goose – Online portal for booking bus tickets.
Tookitaki – Ad technology platform.
Travel Triangle – Offers travellers customized deals from local travel vendors.
TravelKhana – Provides quality food in trains across various stations in India.
Truly Madly – Online dating site.
uFaber – “Offers various courses on online marketing, web designing, app building, etc.”
Viral Mint – Online social marketing tool.
VoiceTree – Cloud-based telephony solutions company.
Voxapp – “A SaaS platform for mobile surveys, deployment and data collection.”
We Are Holidays – Online holiday planner.
Wheebox – Leading online talent assessment company.
White Collar Hippie – Offers unique outdoor experiences.
Wishberg – “Lets you build, manage and track your wishes online.”
Wooplr – “Social discovery platform that helps connect people with local businesses based on interests, location, and social circles.”
Zepo – Aims to simplify e-commerce for small businesses.
Zoomcar – Self-drive car hire service.


1) We have listed out the top 100 startups based on:
Traction: How well these Indian startups are receiving a market validation for its business model. Basically, how well the consumers are taking to the product/service.
Potential Market: How big is the market share for the respective product/service. Will the product be welcomed with wide arms in the market or will it be just another not-so-great product.
Pedigree of the Team: The background and professional credentials of the startup’s team members. Many of these listed startups are by IITians and past employees of big MNCs as well as professionals with a rich experience in the field.
Scalability: Even if the initial idea of the product/service is extraordinary, is there a chance for the business to grow? These startups have shown great potential and many have also received fundings, while others are not so far behind in line.

2) If you want to build a team for your startup, click here.

Disclaimer: We have worked with many startups mentioned in the list, and have built teams & hired extensively for them.


Life in Malaysia for Indians: 22 Things to Know Before Moving to Malaysia


Life in MalaysiaWe got an amazing response when we published a special feature on life in Dubai for Indians. Since we do business in Malaysia too, we thought it’d be fair to do our bit for the new-age Indian professional packing his bag and flying to Malaysia with a job offer in hand. The country, which neighbors the sovereign city-state Singapore, has been developing at a rapid pace. And this is especially true for the startup scene there. Malaysia has seen the emergence of many new-age businesses, including eCommerce companies, tech startups, online media agencies, etc.

Now… how exactly is life in Malaysia for Indians? Here are 22 things that you should know before moving to Malaysia:


1) Tax Laws: The governments of India and Malaysia have signed agreements to avoid double taxation. In addition, the tax structure for expats in Malaysia is relatively simple and straightforward.

2) Money Transfer: In case you have dependents in India and need to transfer money to them, you would be glad to know that transferring money from Malaysia to India does not attract any income tax. However, you may have to check with your banks about the transfer fees.

3) Expenses: Malaysia is not that expensive as it is perceived to be. Here is a rough breakdown of the expenses (in MYR):

Rent: 700
Electricity / Internet / Mobile: 250
Traveling / Transportation: 150
Food (Home + Out): 750
Leisure : 350
Total (per month): 2200

Married (w / spouse)
Rent: 1800
Electricity / Internet / Mobile: 400
Traveling / Transportation: 300
Food (Home + Out): 1200
Leisure : 600
Total (per month): 4300

Married (w / spouse & kids)
Rent: 2350
Electricity / Internet / Mobile: 550
Traveling / Transportation: 600
Food (Home + Out): 2250
Leisure : 1050
Total (per month): 6800

4) Passport: Just like it is in Dubai, the passport remains with you. Malaysian employers DO NOT confiscate your passport.

If you’re a Malaysia-based startup looking to hire the right talent, outsource your requirements to the pioneers of startup hiring.

5) Visa Process: Malaysia has visa application centers in nearly all major Indian cities. The Malaysian visa process is quite straightforward and assuming you have all the required papers ready, the process will be hassle-free. If any dependents (wife, kids, parents, etc) are accompanying you to Malaysia, they too will require Malaysian visas.

6) Distance By Air: Malaysia is quite near to India and depending on where you live, the maximum time that you will take is around 5.5 hrs. Here’s more information on the time taken to travel from India to Malaysia:
Chennai to Kuala Lumpur – 3h 50m
Bangalore to Kuala Lumpur – 4h 10m
Mumbai to Kuala Lumpur – 5h 5m
New Delhi to Kuala Lumpur – 5h 25m

One more thing that you should note is that usually a majority of firms provide a return-ticket yearly to your hometown (two for senior level positions).

7) Housing: Kuala Lumpur has many exquisite yet affordable residential areas. Depending on your budget/requirements, you can easily rent a flat for MYR 700 to MYR 2300. Notable areas include Ampang, Bangsar, Brickfields (sometimes unofficially referred to as Little India), Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI), Damansara Heights, and Mont Kiara. In case you are planning to shift to Malaysia for a very long period, it is a good idea to buy a property there.

8) Schooling: There are plenty of schools for expat children in Malaysia. While there is one school offering Indian curricula (CBSE), there are many schools offering International Baccalaureate (IB) and International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) in Malaysia.

9) Clothing: Though perceived as an Islamic country, Malaysia is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural and this reflects in what people wear. Depending on the area that you visit, you will see expats, especially females, wearing modern attire, such as jeans, skirts, and even tank tops.

10) Entertainment: Malaysia scores high on entertainment, since it is a popular destination for expats as well as tourists. Major cities, including KL, have world-class nightclubs, lounges, and high end restaurants. Malaysia also hosts a Formula One Grand Prix. Most multiplexes show Bollywood movies too, in addition to the regular Hollywood fare. While alcohol is available in Malaysia at most places, it is banned in Kelantan and Terengganu. Usually, most expats are put up in KL, which has its own ‘Hop-on Hop-Off’ tour bus that showcases nearly 40 attractions in the city.

11) Language: While the official language is Bahasa Malaysia, English is the language of choice when it comes to professional working environments. In addition to expats from other countries, there are many Indian emigrants, which ensures you will find people speaking languages such as Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Tamil, etc. This is true when you are socializing.

12) Commuting/Transport: In addition to good connectivity with Singapore and other ASEAN countries, Malaysia also has good transport infrastructure. Kuala Lumpur has an integrated rail network and one of the world’s longest automated driverless metro systems. There is also a monorail service, and you can always use a carpool or a taxi for daily commutes. Malaysia has good network of roads and expressways, ensuring you can easily travel within the country, whether on business or a leisure trip.

13) Cars: Sufficient parking space and great infrastructure make Malaysia a good place to own a car. You can easily get a nice pre-owned sedan / MUV for around 600 MYR a month. In case, you have a higher budget, you can go for a good SUV too. The petrol prices are relatively cheaper.

14) Food Options: Most F&B chains and QSR (quick service restaurants) have a presence in Malaysia. Being a country that is home to many expats, you can enjoy many types of cuisines here. In addition, there are many Indians (mostly Tamil) living in this country, which ensures that you can enjoy Indian cuisine too. Vegetarians can easily find the cuisine/food of their choice. The country also has mamak food stalls, some of which operate through the night.

15) Security: Malaysia is a relatively safe country, especially Kuala Lumpur. Many expats who have lived here have told us that it is much more secure than Mumbai or Chennai or Bangalore. You can easily go out and enjoy the nightlife.

16) Religion: While the official religion of Malaysia is Islam, the constitution guarantees freedom of religion. The country is quite cosmopolitan, and people from all religions live cordially. Malaysia has many mosques, temples, churches, and even gurdwaras.

17) People: Similar to the Middle East, Malaysia sees many expats from the sub-continent (India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh). Comprising many ethnicities, the local population is friendly and gets along with expatriates.

18) Tourist Places: Malaysia is a top tourist destination (ninth most visited place in the world) and offers you lots of things do. While it is home to the world’s tallest twin towers, the country has many exotic tourist spots and islands that you can visit on weekends/holidays. If you are someone who likes to explore nature, Malaysia is the place for you. Be it scuba diving or visiting nature reserves, you will find it here.

19) Shopping: Malaysia hosts a shopping festival every year between July and September. It also has hundreds of malls and supermarkets, which provide an international experience whether you are buying groceries, home furnishings, or electronics.

20) Medical Expenses: Healthcare in Malaysia is quite affordable and in fact the country is becoming a destination for medical tourism.

21) Holidays: Just like India, Malaysia has many public holidays. It has one of the highest numbers of public holidays in the world! Barring a few states, most companies in Malaysia have weekly offs on Saturdays and Sundays.

22) Climate: Malaysia enjoys a tropical climate throughout the year, which means you can expect uniform temperature, high humidity, and abundant rainfall. The average temperature hovers around 27C.


If you are a startup in Malaysia / Singapore looking to hire, please get in touch with us now!


HR Recruitment Jobs in Mumbai: Working as Media & IT Recruiter in India


Recruitment jobs in Mumbai Finding HR and recruitment jobs in Mumbai, that too at a top recruitment agency can be quite a task. There are many qualified media and IT recruiters in India who are looking to work in top placement agencies. At SutraHR too, we are looking for bright individuals with a passion for recruitment and a hunger for success.

Recruitment jobs in Mumbai

There are many advantages to look out for recruitment jobs in Mumbai, especially applying for a recruiter position at SutraHR. Firstly, you get to headhunt and recruit candidates for Asia’s finest new-age companies, including top technology startups, eCommerce companies, and digital agencies in India. In addition, as an IT recruiter, you will have an opportunity to interact with and serve prestigious clients, some of whom are India’s most exciting and youngest entrepreneurs, who have graduated from IIMs, IITs, Harvard, MIT, Stanford, ISB, etc.

So, why would one want to work as a recruiter at SutraHR in Mumbai. Some of the few reasons to get a recruitment job in Mumbai are:
1. Profit sharing: SutraHR has an unmatchable incentive structure for a recruiter
2. Modern recruitment practices: As a recruiter, you get to expand your technical know-how by using new-age, state-of-the-art technology and web-tools.
3. Employees as partners: Recruiters get an amazing opportunity to brainstorm on various ideas and contribute to overall management of company affairs.

Working as a recruiter

Savio Rathod, Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist, works as a recruiter at SutraHR in Mumbai. He explains, “Being a recruiter enables me to not only learn new things and meet new people, I get a bird’s-eye view of new-age industries in India. For a recruiter, there are many opportunities since there are lots of recruitment jobs in Mumbai.”

Are you a recruiter who is looking for HR recruitment jobs in India? Why don’t you apply at SutraHR? Just send your resume to [email protected] or just call Pallav on +91 922 344 0205 / (022) 4266 9487.

Recruiter jobs in Mumbai


Top 10 Indian Freelancing Websites For Your Next Project


Top Websites Freelancing IndiaFreelancing in India is booming and a lot of people – some looking to make a quick buck and some looking for a steady income, from college students to the elderly, anyone who has any grain of talent is cashing in on this trend. If you fall under this category, here is a list of top 10 websites for you to help you with your next project.

1. Truelancer.com
Truelancer.com is India’s largest on-demand freelance marketplace with over 3,00,000 skilled freelancers from across the globe working as Freelance Web Developers, Freelance Mobile App Developers, Content Writers, Graphic Designers, Data Entry Experts, Data Analytics Experts, Online Marketing Consultants etc. Truelancer.com provides payment security to freelancers as well as 100% satisfaction to the employers by its escrow system. This not only ensures that the freelancer is paid for the work delivered, but also that the payment is released to the freelancers only when the work is done. Truelancer.com also allows freelancers to list their gigs on the platform which have clear deliverables mentioned and can be bought in a click. Truelancer.com is one of the few freelance marketplaces that have fully functioning Android and iOS Apps which eases the communication between the freelancer and the employer, and decreases the response time that a freelancer takes to bid on the Project.

2. WorknHire.com
WorknHire.com is a freelance marketplace dedicated to the Indian market. You can find freelancers in various categories including IT & programming, graphic designing, data entry, content writing etc. The look and feel of this website is very linear and simple. The website claims to ensure payment safety through Escrow services provided by the company. Transaction in INR is another plus point. This website also has a large network of freelancers which you can filter based on location. Project posting is free and so is getting registered as a freelancer. Being a newly launched website which is hardly a few months old, you may not find many reviews and recommendations. Yet with a rapidly expanding base, one feels that it is coming along quite nicely and will work to the advantage of any freelancer in India.

3. Freelanceindia.com
Freelanceindia.com is perhaps one of the oldest websites in existence and one of the pros of this website is that it has been in existence for over ten years now. The site design though is very amateurish which may pose a problem for freelancers looking to work through this site on a regular basis as they may run into various problems. The site seems to have not been maintained for a few years now. Apart from the above two clauses severely disadvantaging freelancers looking to work through this site, posting a project on this site is charged which does not help the employers either.

4. Freelancer.in
Freelancer.in is a fairly large global freelance marketplace. Being such a large website it obviously has the advantage of offering you more quality and quantity in your work, helping you expand your dimensions. Thanks to a large user base, employers find good freelancers who are willing to deliver quality without compromise. But there are certain disadvantages too of using this website. A payment on freelancer.in needs to be done in USD. Because of the currency conversions involved, it becomes very expensive for clients. Moreover, the transactions are charged to the client as well (around 3%). The total transaction charge for freelancers is as high as 10%.

5. Instastudio.com
Instastudio is an Indian networked freelancing portal originating, which aims to widen the scope of freelancing opportunities in India. The website is dedicated for content writing and has assignments for various content writers, but in last few weeks the amount of assignments available on the website has decreased a lot. A point to note is that it’s not a freelance marketplace which basically means the website cannot be used for hiring a freelancer.

6. Dreamstarts.in
Dreamstarts.in describes itself as a startup jobs board. It is a website that features a section for freelance and part time jobs. One can check this out but the problem with this website is that there is no payment processing or section to review freelancers and hence it neither works in the advantage of clients nor the freelancers.

7. VentureHire.in
Like Dreamstarts, VentureHire is a website with a section for freelance and part-time jobs but there is no payment integration or a review section. It describes itself as a website that is “creating and curating global talent”.

8. WorkMonk.com
WorkMonk is another freelance website that outsources jobs but it has very few assignments and very few freelancers and your projects may not grab eyeballs here.

9. Oncontract.com
Oncontract is not exactly a freelance website but has more of a contract based concept. Project posting is paid and payment safety is not guaranteed.

10. Youth4Work.com
Youth4Work is a website targeted for students with jobs similar to Dreamstarts.in and VentureHire.in.

Freelancing in India is a popular option for people seeking flexible work timings and exciting projects. It’s a growing trend in India and various websites are mushrooming to cater to different needs. If you’re unsure on how to get started we hope that the above reviews help you get some direction and guidance.

Author: Aarti Patel, a seasoned consultant and writer.


Top 100 Startups in India to Watch in 2013


(Note: We have published an updated version of this list: Top Startups in India 2018)

When we started out in early-2008, the startup scene in India was nascent, exciting, and poised to grow exponentially. Over the last few years we have been working with multiple startups, entrepreneurs,  and have been very active in the startup ecosystem in India. We’ve now compiled a list of the top startups in India.

Top Startups in India

This list contains 100 startups to watch in 2013. Do let us know in the comments section below your thoughts on the list. In case you know about any top startups in India, just list them out.

Name[attr sort=”false”],Description
aaramshop – Hybrid retail platform focused on FMCG / CPG retailing
Acceltrade – High Frequency Trading Technology firm which leverages its completely in-house platform for quantitative trading
Adnear – “Location-based mobile advertising platform in APAC enabling powerful targeting across India, Singapore, Australia”
affle – Smart Media company with strategically aligned businesses
Airwoot – Smart support helpdesk that uses sophisticated natural language processing techniques to enable brands engage with their customers on social media
Akosha – Innovative service for Indian consumers which helps them in resolving day to day consumer complaints
Amagi Media Labs – Unique mix of media and technology that merges the latest technology with the traditional broadcast media to create a new TV media adverting platform called Targeted TV ad
Appnomic Systems – Appnomic is a focused IT Infrastructure Management Services company that simplifies the complexities of managing information technology (IT)
Aurus – “Integrated cloud based platform for video creation, management and distribution in the educational space”
babajobs – Leading job site for urban India’s informal sector
BigBasket – India’s largest online food and grocery store
BlueStone – Online store for fine jewellery and accessories
Canvera – Online photography company providing mass customized printed products and e-commerce solutions to professional photographers
Capillary – “Cloud-based software solutions that help retailers to intelligently engage with customers through mobile, social and in-store channels”
Cartrade – Online automotive market for buyers and sellers of new and used vehicles
Chargebee – Affordable Subscription Billing & Recurring Billing Solution for online web apps
Ciphergraph – Provides secure cloud based VPN services
Citrus Payment – “Payments solutions including Netbanking Credit and Debit Card Gateways”
CommonFloor –  India’s first real estate portal dedicated to apartments and gated communities
Crowd Analytix – Predictive analytics and data mining solutions
Desicrew – IT enabled service centers in rural areas
Dexetra – “Mobility startup that develops apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Symbian and Windows Mobile”
Dogspot – otOne stop platform for all dog & dog related needs
DoneByNone – Online-only women’s fashion store
Edusys – “Leading education training provider in the global market (US, UK, Australia, Canada, India, and other countries)”
Eko – Banking services at affordable costs to vast sections of disadvantaged and low income groups
emo2 – Multi-user multi-touch interaction OS and Cloud platform
exotel – Cloud telephony platform for modern Indian business.
ezetap – India-based mobile payments firm
Fashionara – eFashion mall that offers premium merchandise in the space of fashion and lifestyle
Freecultr,Apparel etailer
FreshDesk – “Cloud-based help desk software that allows companies to support their customers through email, phone, website”
Fundsindia – India’s first online-only investment service platform that serves customers country-wide and globally
HackerRank – “Fun social platform for programmers to solve interesting puzzles, build quick hacks, code game bots and collaborate to solve real-world challenges”
HealthKart – India’s first e-health store
HelpShift – First embedded support desk for native apps
Hoopos.com (Acquired) – “Online store to buy Baby Clothes, Baby Toys, Baby Shoes, Maternity products”
Hotelogix – Online property management solution on the cloud providing solutions to the small and mid sized hospitality industry
icreate – Developing intelligent software that helps banks understand customers and conduct business in a better manner
idubba – Helps quickly find Indian Television programs
Innoz – One of the fastest growing mobile company in India
Insieve – Intelligent information sharing network
Instamojo – “1-click process to buy & sell your digital files like reports, code, documents, photos, templates, tutorials, music, videos etc.”
iStream (Shutdown) – “Showcases premium video content across News, TV and Movie categories online for the Indian audience worldwide”
Kayako – Developer and vendor of proprietary help desk and customer support software
Lenskart – India’s leading online retailer on Contact lenses
LimeRoad – India’s most extensive lifestyle platform for Women’s shopping
localbanya – “Online grocery store/supermarket that sells over 4,000 household products ranging from daily provisions,grains,packaged foods,cosmetics etc”
Loylty Rewardz –  India’s Premier Loyalty & Relationship management company
madrat games – Online and mobile Indian language learning game
MangoReader – “Bring books to life by making them engaging and fun using videos, animation, quizzes, maps, graphics and interactivity”
Mettl – “Powerful online assessment platform for hiring, training, contests”
MindTickle – Enterprise gamification and learning platform for new employee orientation and web based training of company policies and procedures
mobme – Value added services for mobile phone users and carrier grade solutions for network operators
Mobstac – “World’s first HTML5-enabled, mobile publishing cloud platform”
Mswipe – Mobile POS service provider Mswipe
Myparichay – India’s Largest job search and career network on Facebook
MySmartPrice – Online price comparison engine
NewsHunt – Mobile application that enables leading newspapers to access on mobile phones
Nimbuzz – “Instant, mobile messenger & phone app for Windows PCs, Macs and mobile phones”
Octane Marketing – Marketing technology company that provides a state-of-the-art email SMS and web-marketing platform”
Olacabs – “Car rentals and cab hire services in Mumbai, India”
Olx India – One of the world’s biggest free online classifieds sites
Paytm – India’s trusted prepaid recharge destination
Plivo – Cloud based API Platform for building Voice and SMS enabled Applications
Policybazaar – India’s prominent online life insurance and general insurance aggregator
Posist – Online SaaS based Point of Sale solution for Restaurants
Power2SME  – Online platform that offers tools that enable SME’s to improve productivity & reduce procurement costs.
Practo – “Clinic management software solutions to help enhance the operational efficiency of dispensaries, clinics and even small hospitals”
Pretty Secrets – “India’s leading online lingerie store featuring exclusive collections of bras, panties, nightwear, swimwear, shapewear & stockings”
PropTiger – Independent real estate advisor with a pan-India presence
Rechargeitnow – “24×7, multi operator web based, instant pre-paid recharge station”
RedQuanta – New-age mystery shopping audit company
Rolocule – Independent game development studio creating very realistic but simple to play console quality video games for tablets and smartphones
Saavn – “Ad-supported digital music service for Bollywood, Indian and regional South Asian music”
Scalearc – Pioneer in a new category of database infrastructure software that simplifies the way database environments are deployed
SharedCab – Platform for daily commuters to sign up for airconditioned chauffeur driven pooled cabs
Sokrati – India’s leading online advertising agency and Google’s largest preferred partner in India
Squeakee – Location based offers and specials search engine
StayZilla – Online booking & reservation portal for hotels in India
Stepout – “India’s #1 place to meet new people, have fun experiences and form real life relationships.”
TalentSprint – Professional skills development firm delivering experiential and industry-relevant training in IT and BFSI sectors
TaxiForSure – Aggregator of car rentals and taxis in India
That’s Personal – “India’s first premium personal products e-commerce website, focusing on international and Indian legal adult products”
Travelyaari – Website for Bus Ticket booking using real time inventory
Unbxd – Search-as-a-service platform that provides site search and analytics to ecommerce sites
United Mobile Apps –  Mobile / broadband / wireless technology company that focusses on Connection Management (UConnect) / Data Synchronization (USync)
Urban Ladder –  e-retailer of contemporary furniture for Indian consumers
Vdopia –  World’s largest mobile video advertising company
Visual Website Optimizer –  “World’s easiest A/B testing tool for increasing website sales, signups, downloads and conversions”
Vizury –  Digital marketing pioneer enabling e-commerce and online travel companies maximize the value of their digital data
Vserv – Leading global mobile ad network
Vuclip –  “World’s largest independent mobile video and media company”
Webengage –  “Push notifications, in-site targeted surveys & customer feedback management – most powerful in-site marketing tool for online business with analytics”
ZipDial –  Engagement & analytics platform for Mobile
Zivame – India’s largest online lingerie store
Zomato –  “Website providing information related to restaurants, pubs, clubs and events at such establishments in cities of India, Sri Lanka and UAE”
Zopnow – Largest online hypermarket for daily household needs
Zovi.com –  Online fashion shopping porta

Disclaimer: We have worked with many startups mentioned in the list, and have built teams & hired extensively for them.

Note: If you want to build a team for your startup at a marginal cost, click here.

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