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April - 2014 - issue > View Point
TiEcon 2014 A Perfect Storm of Technology and Entrepreneurship
Pradip Madan
Charter Member & Co-Convener-TiE Silicon Valley
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Each year, TiEcon focuses on hot technical and market topics. At TiEcon 2014, approximately 4,000 attendees will get to hear from experts on three of the hottest industry areas, that is, infrastructure, the Internet of Things, and applications of Big Data.

IT infrastructure continues to evolve from real to virtual for deployment flexibility and efficiency, supporting public as well as private cloud architectures. New methods of building, and new tools to deploy, scale, and manage this infrastructure, are spawning new companies.

The Internet of Things (IoT) started with industrial applications such as discrete manufacturing, process controls, and building controls. Today, it is being deployed in warehouses for asset management, in robotics for self-driven cars and delivery by drones, in buildings for signage, lighting, security, and temperature control, in trains, airplanes and cars for drive-by-wire connections, and in wearable for health tracking. Combining industrial, enterprise and consumer applications, the IoT market can range from $3-6 trillion by 2025, that is, become larger than the entire electronics and software industry today.

Finally, the many billions of sources collecting data comprises big data. As the internet of things grows, and as the cloud makes it easier to collect, aggregate and comingle data streams, applications of big data will grow exponentially. Many companies are building these applications to convert this data into insights. From thermostats using weather data to automatically give us the right temperature with minimum energy consumption to drone navigation, analytics will help us make better decisions faster.

Analysts observe that software is 'eating the world'. Till now, healthcare and drug discovery have remained the domain of biology. Software is now re-making these disciplines as well. Computational biology is replacing biological cause-and-effect analysis of individual molecular pathways. Systems biology is replacing immunology to understand side effects. Statistical inference is driving drug discovery. Smartphones are improving patient education and compliance. And telemedicine is making specialized healthcare available in remote communities where even brushing teeth may have been a novelty ten years ago. With a new dedicated healthcare/life sciences track, for the first time, TiEcon will help Silicon Valley entrepreneurs become better acquainted with the opportunities in healthcare and life sciences.

In each of these tracks, a lightning round will showcase six of the most innovative companies in the above areas to describe what they are doing. The TiE50 program will similarly select 50 winners from hundreds of best startups.
Of course, seeing is believing. TiEcon will show many demos on stage. A surgical system operated remotely will show the power of the Internet of Things. A scientist leading NASA's Mars exploration program will show us what is happening on the surface of Mars in real time.
The Expo will give opportunities for several startups to show their products.

This year, TiEcon will highlight 'Breakthorugh Thinkers' - innovators with singular focus delivering exceptional outcomes in different domains. Dr. Alex Tsiras will describe how through imaging, scientists have been able to observe in detail human development from conception to birth, helping us understand in detail the role of genes and environment. Dr. Jacob van Zyl, a space scientist running for NASA at JPL/Caltech, will describe the Mars exploration program. Dr. Pawan Sinha from MIT will talk about how the blind or partially blind can gain cognition as good as those who have had sight since birth. Four young thinkers will similarly share their experiences.

Entrepreneurs succeed not only by innovation in technology and business, but from persistence, determination and leadership to beat the odds. This requires extraordinary emotional, social, and personal well being. On Day 2, TiEcon will focus on personal factors that help entrepreneurs to be successful.

A good conference must not only update an entrepreneur's awareness, and kindle his energy, it should also help identify and fill in needed resources to be successful at every stage. At TiEcon, programs such as TiE50 will highlight the best emerging startups to angel and institutional investors. MentorConnect will connect founders to accomplished entrepreneurs and domain experts for mentorship in different areas. By enabling 'speed-dating', FounderConnect will enable founders to find initial team members.

When a complete ecosystem such as the above is made available, an entrepreneur's energy knows no limits, and can rapidly accelerate from idea to reality and value creation. It can speak personal motivation, enable the journey to survive and thrive, and lead to the hundred million and billion dollar exits we dream and hear about.

As the internet educates us about social challenges, social entrepreneurship is on the rise. TiEcon will showcase success in areas such as healthcare and energy production with social benefit.

Entrepreneurship has reached a tipping point. When I started my career with Intel over two decades ago, my professor warned me that this 'startup' could go out of business any day. From a path only some took several years ago, entrepreneurship is becoming the path of choice today. Today's youth have adopted the mantle of entrepreneurship and see it as a way of life. A dedicated track will bring young entrepreneurs together. Among other sessions, a 'shark-tank' like session will showcase the best young entrepreneurs.

TiE's success is rooted in the South Asian community. With the success of many South Asian entrepreneurs across the tech landscape from the new CEO of Microsoft to new startups, TiE has focused on the broader tech entrepreneur community over recent years. At TiECon 2014, this will be reflected among speakers and attendees alike.

Finally, TiEcon is not only for entrepreneurs. Large, highly successful companies will find talent they can recruit. Professional services firms in law, accounting, and M&A, will find clients. The several hundred volunteers working on TiEcon 2014 have a single goal: to make it the best TiEcon ever.

Pradip Madan is one of the two TiEcon 2014 Co- Conveners. As a successful entrepreneur, he has led startups from fundraising to exits (e.g., Rivio, which raised $130 million), and has participated in several IPOs (LSI Logic, Echelon) and exits. He has served in executive leadership roles (e.g., Founding CEO/President/COO/EVP/SVP) and as Board member, advisor and investor in multiple tech sectors (ICs, storage, M2M/IoT, enterprise/mid-market/ small business software, cloud apps/infrastructure/services, gaming, social media, e-commerce, healthcare). Madan had led the development and launch of over 300 products in his career, and has worked in M&A for several years. He holds a BSc in Physics from the University of Delhi, a BS in Electrical Engineering and an MS in Computer Science from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA from Wharton, all with high honors. Madan has paid for all his education since sixth grade.

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