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Converging-Entrepreneurial-Dreams
Christo Jacob
Sunday, June 1, 2008
They walked in with lots of hopes. With a vision to build cool products, about 6,000 technology enthusiasts walked into The SmartTechie Startup City at Nimhans Convention Center on Saturday 24 May. As they walked into the venue, 42 startup firms that had already laid the foundation for their million dollar dreams welcomed them to experience the culture of innovation. The attendees laid their hands on the best of the breed solutions. The presence of over 16 venture capitalists charged the aspiring entrepreneurs to put life into their innovative ideas.

The event created an ambience of a tiny technology city with stunning startup companies with live demonstration of cutting edge technologies. Well designed interiors decorated with balloons and the stalls of Arada Systems, Axiom, Crederity, Divitas Networks, Druvaa, Impel, Injoos, mChek, MetricStream, mobisy, My Duniya, netmagic, netCore, Netweb Technologies, Pramati, Seclore, Sloka, SonicWall, SOA Matrix, Soliton, SRA Systems, Starent Networks, Taroby, Vanu, Yodlee , Tabs, Tratum, MAIA intelligence, Soais, Quillpad, Sky Group, Akamai, Ngpay, MapmyIndia, Glopore, and RGV Telecom caught the attention of young techies. “It was truly excellent and inspiring,” noted Satish Hegde, a techie from Cisco.

The quiz, gifts, and product launch by the exhibitor companies created excitement and attracted the crowd to be more curious about their products. Riyaz Hyder, Director, Marketing and Stratergy, Mobisy, who was one of the exhibitors said, “We had chosen the event for unveiling our new addition to Mobisy, ZMO, which is considered to be Web application assimilator and packager for mobile phones.” Interestingly, the event helped Mobisy, Seclore, Trantum, and many more to win customers. Apart from the exhibitors, the supporting fraternity like BangaloreITpro, OpenCoffee Club, India Angel Network, IndiBlogger.in, National Entrepreneurship Network, Mobile Monday Bangalore, Startup Saturday, ITVidya.com, and businessgyan gained attention of the IT professionals. “At the Smart Techie Startup City, the kind of support towards our community really helped us to grow faster and groom the awareness within the society,” reckons S.Kaliyan of BangaloreITpro.

Moreover, it was a unique opportunity for over 6,000 technology enthusiasts to recharge their entrepreneurial spirits. Sandeep Lodha, Vice President, Netweb Technologies, an exhibitor said, “It is interesting to see so many techies looking forward to have a startup. Surely the entrepreneurial spirit has to be saluted, knowing that it’s not easy to start a company. I was particularly impressed as the SmartTechie had a vision to get the entire ecosystem in a single place.” The event also had an elite think-tank to share their experiences and give healthy encouragement to the startups.

The talk by Ashish Gupta, Managing Director - Investment Advisor, Helion Ventures was compelling and stimulating. His insights were well articulated in his address ‘Concept to Success: Milestones for startups’. “Our country India itself is a startup and it has a lot of vibrancy as there is plenty of talent and innovative ideas. One of the features of a startup is its tremendous energy and innovative ideas,” noted Gupta. But, Rajendra Mishra of Change India Movement and a serial entrepreneur was the cynosure of the event. His exciting entrepreneurial journey thrilled technocrats who were jam packed in the auditorium hall and on the balcony. Mishra advised the entrepreneurs to envision the future to be able to succeed. As a social entrepreneur and an agent of change Mishra opined, “The Indian middle class that forms a major chunk of the population is the main culprit responsible for bad politics in the country. Make use of your voting rights. Everyone hates politics and does not vote for anybody. By doing so one is helping the bad politics to become worse.”

As branding was one of the key concerns for most of the entrepreneurs, the panel on ‘Innovative Marketing Applications’ in Technology by Dr. Y.L.R. Moorthi, Professor, IIM Bangalore, Bharath Chinamanthur, Director, Amazon IDC, Suresh Vedula, Head-Business Mobility, Nokia India, and Paul Murphy, Director of Innovation, Microsoft India gave an overview of how to build the brand. Dr. Moorthi, moderator in the panel, emphasized that the entrepreneurs should find innovative ways apart from direct marketing, public relations, and advertising. Moreover the entrepreneurs need to recognize what is not working and how different they are, compared to their competitors. However, for a startup it is imperative that marketing and building the technology should go hand in hand to meet the customer demands.

Jinesh Varia, Evangelist at Amazon Web Services, discussed on how startups can take advantage of cloud computing. Cloud computing, also known as Server Cloud, gained attention in 2007 as it became a popular solution to the problem of horizontal scalability. Varia continued, “As soon as you lose the infrastructure, you are loosing the demand of the customers. Hence, the hosted virtualization environment helps you strategically improve the requirement of startups.”

Another attention of the SmartTechie Startup City was ‘Meet the VCs’, which gave entrepreneurs an opportunity to network with the top VCs in the country and to give life to their innovative ideas. In this unique programme, VCs gave an overview of the areas of investment and what they are looking for in startup companies. “Usually the startup companies give the pitch. It is the first time that VCs are giving the pitch,” quipped Aditya Nataraja, Venture East. This informal session, as Srini Vudayagiri, Managing Director, Lightspeed Venture Partners found, gave more time to network with the entrepreneurs. The session helped more than 90 entrepreneurs to explore about the VCs’ investment trends, VC strategies for investing in early stage ventures, and other aspects of funding and gaining capital. Apoorva Bhatt, MD, Arada Systems, an exhibitor in the event, said, “This is a truly different kind of experience of meeting people with innovative ideas.”

The CEO Conclave, which was a part of the event, was a confluence of more than 300 CEOs from budding ones to highly experienced IT honchos. The conclave motivated the crowd to take confident steps towards realization of their billion dollar dreams. Moreover, it was like an awareness program for the aspiring entrepreneurs and techies who came to know that there are geeks who are fiddling with innovative technologies in our own backyards. In fact, it recharged the aspiring entrepreneurs to go back to their garages, work on their dreams, and develop a potential technology for tomorrow.
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