Startup City 2013: A Blend of Entrepreneurship, Product Showcase and Investments

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Bangalore: Startup City 2013, Asia's biggest event for Startups served as an exceptional platform for the growth of Entrepreneurs in India on June 22, 2013 in Bangalore. It was very well addressed by Top Industry Veterans and was well received by more than 3000 people. SiliconIndia would like to thank all the Speakers, VCs, Sponsors, Exhibitors and others for the event's grand success. There were more than 60 Startup companies who showcased their products which were evaluated by India’s top VCs.

The event took a great start with a Keynote Session by Chetan Maini, Founder and Chief of Strategy & Technology, Mahindra Reva on “Against All Odds: From Innovation to Success”. He narrated his story of how he came up with the unique idea of an electric car in a market like India and how he became successful with the same.

The subsequent Keynote Session was on “Entrepreneurship: The Journey” by Arun Jain, Founder, Chairman & CEO, Polaris Financial Technology. While addressing the audience, he advised the startup enthusiasts to listen, discuss and then take a decision.

Arun's keynote session was followed by several interesting panel discussions on the Technology Trends, e-Commerce and Mobile. There was also a Panel Discussion for VCs in all three parallel tracks.

The first panel discussion was on “MOBILE + eCOMMERCE: Instant Gratification, Rapid Growth” and the panelists were Bhavish Aggarwal, Co-Founder & CEO, Ola Cabs, Praveen Sinha, Co-founder and Managing Director, Jabong  and it was well steered by Himanshu Chakrawarti, CEO, The Mobile Store.

The following discussion was on “New Paths to Online Revenue: Journey of Internet Entrepreneurs”. The panel comprised of  Binny Mathews, Co-founder,, K Satyanarayan, Ex Co-Founder, CricInfo, Umang Kumar, Co-Founder & CEO, and was well moderated by Manish Sharma, Co-Founder & CEO,

While discussing on the topic, Umang said “Ensure you account for customer acquisition costs when you think of your business model - most startups fail because they don't account for the cost of acquiring new customers.” He further added, “Mobile is the future but keep costs in check if investing into a mobile only solution - The mobile advertising market is current quite small and building a sustainable business purely on mobile will require costs to be kept at a minimum.”

During the discussion, Satyanarayan said “If you think you have a great idea for a totally new product or service that doesn't exist in the market, and are very excited, it would be good to do a quick reality check on the demand side and the supply side to see why no other product like that exists as yet. Is there a demand for the product? Do people feel the need for the product? Will they pay for it? Has no one else implemented the same idea because there isn't enough demand for the product or service?” He also shed light on the challenges and how to address the same on the supply side.

The next panel discussion was on “Innovation & Monetizing Opportunities for Mobile Entrepreneur”. The panel comprised of Siddhartha Jain, Co-Founder & CEO, Spice Labs, Umesh Kulkarni, Founder, NewsHunt, Jitin Narang, Co-Founder & COO, TechAhead and it was well moderated by Girish Ramdas, Co-founder & CEO, Magzter.

While discussing on the above panel, Siddhartha said “Mobile ecosystem offers innumerable opportunities for innovation and monetization to an entrepreneur. A budding entrepreneur instead of looking for the next big thing should go after what his or her interest is; there will be enough opportunities to succeed in every area."

The panel discussion on the topic “The Next Big Thing: Technology Trends Shaping the Future”, comprised of Dr. Viswanath Poosala, Head - Bell Labs India, Alcatel-Lucent, Dr. Aloknath De, Chief Technology Officer, Samsung India, Avaneesh Dubey, SVP - Development Organization, SAP, Ramkumar Narayanan, General Manager, eBay Product Development Centre, India, Dr. Ishwar Parulkar, CTO - Service Provider Access Business Unit, Cisco and it was steered by Pradeep Desai, India Head-Software Center of Excellence, GE Global Research.

While speaking about the nature-inspired innovation, Aloknath gave examples of "the characteristics of lotus leaves; where by the water takes away the dirt & dust and keeps the leaves clean". This technique is adopted by the paint industry to make  quality paint that makes houses shine again after a rain.  According to him,  the next big thing is the fusion of the physical world with the digital world. From virtual reality, we have moved to augmented reality and innovations are on the way to see reality clearer than the actual reality.

Avaneesh believes that software applications can be tuned to make them faster through the use of in-memory computing. This in turn will make many more applications possible. He further highlighted the challenges faced by Startups and also provided relevant remedies.

During the discussion, Ishwar highlighted three primary trends in building the next generation of internet infrastructure driven by the exponentially increasing demand for data, ubiquitous coverage and mobility. These trends are- Small cells, Software define networking and , Internet of everything.

Pradeep, the moderator of the panel highlighted on some very useful technologies like Analytics, Big data, Unstructured Data Management, Industrial Internet and Designs inspired through nature. He also discussed on Software Defined Networks, Infrastructure Technologies - distributed cells in place of single large stations for communications, Internet of Everything; Usability and User-experience, need for convergence from many devices to one/few, example Google Glass and In Memory Processing.

The next panel discussion was on “Leveraging Platforms to Bootstrap”. The panel comprised of Ganesh Raja, Solutions Architect, Amazon Web Services, Atul Batra, CTO, Manthan Software Services, Karthik Srinivasan, Director - Emerging Markets, EMC, Manoj Khilnani, Country Manager - Enterprise Products, BlackBerry and Shourabh Shrivastav, Founder & CEO, 3P Technologies.

While talking about the current market scenario, Shourabh said “the pace at which the market dynamics changes can be really challenging for the startup, the fastest way to reach to your customers is to co- create values for them along with the other stakeholders in the eco system”

The following panel discussion which comprised of Vivek Subramanyam, CEO, iCreate Software and Kishore Mandyam, CEO, PK4 Software Technologies was on “B2B Models of Entrepreneurship: The Blessing or the Mess Up!!.

While discussing, Kishore said “In a B2B start-up, unlike a B2C start-up, planning for revenue is Critical, not just important and the traditional Field Sales is an absolute must no matter how strong your Marketing is.”

There was an interesting panel discussion on “VC Perspective: The State of Tech Entrepreneurship in India” which was held in all the three tracks simultaneously. There were also several presentations from startup companies to grab the Best Startup City 2013 Award in various sectors like Internet, Mobile, Product and Services.

During the discussion, Kumar Shiralagi, Managing Director, Kalaari Capital focused on the early stage investors on tech entrepreneurship. According to him, “India has moved up as an attractive investment destination for tech companies. The environment now is significantly more vibrant that what it was even 3 years ago.  There is help even from mentors.” He further added that entrepreneurs should learn about the investors and their areas of interests and investments before approaching them.

Bala Parthasarathy, Managing Partner, AngelPrime feels that “The Indian startup ecosystem has matured enormously in the last 4 years. While it is no Silicon Valley, it is comparable to other big startup hotspots in the world. There is now adequate capital and talent. What is missing are a few more exits to spur the entrepreneurs and investors as well as more domestic demand. We will see both these happen in the next 2-3 years.”

According to Vijaya Kumar Ivaturi, Member, Indian Angel Network, “The startup ecosystem is driven by internet platforms, risk capital and mentor availability and social acceptance for startup as a career. Use the angel investor ecosystem to convert idea into viable business solution and leverage venture capital to scale it or consolidate it.”

Towards the end of the conference, the winners of the Best Startup City 2013 Award were felicitated. The winners are SkipTask in Product Space, ShareMojo in Internet Space, Mahalife in Mobile Space, Intelligence Node in solutions space and BlobCity in services space Cars iCare got a special recognition for the Jury.

The last and the best part of the event was the CEO Conclave on the topic “Best Practices of Building Technology Companies in India”. The panel comprised of Edwin Kolen, COO, CtrlS Datacenters, Sanjay Nayak, CEO & MD, Tejas Networks, P. Srikar Reddy, MD & CEO, Sonata Software, Satish Kumar, Founder, Chairman & CEO, Glopore IMS, Mahesh Ramakrishnan, Founder, & CEO, Nanobi Analytics and it was well driven by Shoaib Ahmed, President, Tally Solutions.

While discussing on the above subject, Sanjay said that India has all the key ingredients to build a strong local ESDM (Electronic System Design and Manufacturing) industry. We have a strong R&D and manufacturing talent, a large domestic market demand and now a set of supporting policies from the government. There is an opportunity to build a $400 Billion industry in the next decade and this presents a great opportunity to entrepreneurs. He also added that India has so far used its cost-arbitrage to build a world-class IT outsourcing industry.

During the discussion Satish highlighted the need for Entrepreneurs to be agile in order to adapt to the overall business strategy in line with the market place and customer’s business needs. He also highlighted upon the importance of money and the VCs role in building a successful business. He also focused on building process driven systems, automation, continuous governance control and innovation culture.

While moderating the panel, Shoaib, the moderator of the panel pointed out that the startup ecosystem is very keen to learn what it takes to grow and become large companies. According to him, many of them have dreams to become big companies themselves rather than sell out to someone or to merge their business. While raising capital was an important issue, desire to learn what it takes to form effective teams, understand the market that they are operating were some of the other critical parts of the puzzle for the startups.

This event was supported by Tally Solutions, Intuit, Verisign, CtrlS, BlackBerry, Amazon Web Services, EMC, Incubate, eBay inc, PluralSight, Godrej Properties, GitHub, Renault, Book My Trainings, GreyTip, Airtel, e-Intelligence, Synapse India. We would also like to thank  BDotNet, Blr Droid and Business Gyan for Associating with us and also Business Wire, our News Distribution Partner.

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