Tech Sparks 2012 : See you there!

What would you want to do on a Saturday afternoon ? Take a little nap or meet a friend? How about spending the same amount of time to learn how to build a product, find its market, patent it and connect with a VC to complete the picture? Sounds jolly good! Exactly, here’s what happened on 26th May 2012. This was in IIT Powai , where Your Story organised Tech Sparks2012

This event was for every one in the ecosystem, starting from an entrepreneur, media and investors, necessarily. The platform was created to provide the visibility , not merely to interact , but find the much-needed solution.

It all began with a live Product Design workshop delivered by Aditya Kumar Sharma. He facilitated the session with cogitating on how to design a travel site without leaving the option for date and place.  Sounds difficult? It was rather exciting! Choices can be increased if the absolutes are removed. Every travel site starts with choosing date and location for departure and arrival. The attendees brainstormed with  interesting responses, such as in the absence of date, the user can pick an event such as next IPL Tour or even your Guru’s padyatra. Suppose, you have not finalized on the date for your travel, but may have a broad range of duration in mind. You can find the best prices and deals offered during that event.

Similarly, find a solution when the travel destination remains unknown! Suppose you are gifting a holiday to a friend. You may not decide upon the place where the journey would start from. Hence, you may just wish to choose a holiday by the beach or even a vineyard and find the best deals on them. Connecting these deals with a social networking site,  such as Facebook will show the choices made by your friends and map it around the world with other users with similar tastes or requirements. Now, it sounds cool, Doesn’t it !

Well, this was a very vibrant brain storming session on creating a product without its quintessential features to bring in a product-differentiation. The essence of the session was that a very basic idea, can be re-imagined, and developed into a new product.

Here’s Siddharth Roy, founder CiteHR thoughts on this product, “That travel site will work fine. Connect facebook, get all friend’s locations, draw a map with all the locations and flight details, get users location from ip and use a database to get the closest travel destinations and mark them. Similarly for events, the user will see a map of what all they might get and how much it would cost.”

This was my first product workshop , where,  every thing from coding to patent were being discussed.  My verdict: whether you are designing a product or selling it, a session like this, would add on to your business acumen, for sure.

This was followed by the two product showcases. These products were winners from Tech Sparks2011  and received VC funding as prize money. Quallcom, was the first product  that was presented. It was a local language application, used for transliteration.  Arvind Pani, founder to Reverie Language Technologies,  presented this apps for mobile phones.

Next in line was Neil Patel making a mark with his presentation on Heckyl. Its a ‘wise’ software that can track the emotion to any news. Wondering how does this help ? Here’s the dope, this wisen traders, reading  financial news, with a software, that can detect, what would be their response to the news. This helps them to decide better, whether they would want to  buy or sell the shares. Emotional responses to financial intelligence gets recorded in a software? Yes, it is that geeky cool ! This software uses historical data to predict the emotions.

Nuggets of wisdom kept rolling. Niel Patel, shared how Google chrome can detect where a user can click which is why it is seemingly a faster browser.The discussion rolled from the heat maps and user tracking systems , stopping by the camera, which can record where a user is looking, to predicting where the user will click, yes, it all happened in one presentation!

The moot point started with a panel discussion on “The Smartest Way to Scale Your Startup”, moderated by Charles Assisi, Executive Editor (Forbes India) and Editor (ForbesLife India) . This tabled Abhay Pandey, Managing Director to Sequoia Capital India, Sachin Kelkar,  Head of Software Partner Program at Intel, Rick Harshman, Head of ASEAN and India with Amazon Web Services, Akshay Padwal, Co-founder & CTO to Vserv and John Fearon, founder & CEO to DropMySite.

The discussion was focused on how bright or dull the entreprenuerial scene is in India. It was reflected upon who would be the ones , who can make it till the end. It requires a balance between the conviction and evolving with the dynamic environment. Abbhay Panday shared how VSS Mani founder Just Dial, stuck around with his idea for more than 8 years, before making it big. Whereas InMobi, grew with every changing reality. He further shared his insights on how a VC  weigh an Entrepreneur while offering funds. According to him, the prime focus remains on who the person is and his convictions. The idea and its scalablity remain the deal breakers.

Akshay Padwal, Co-founder & CTO, Vserv, nudged upon the importance of family and societal pressure, building on to the support-system. He reflected that, the family adds to higher credibility with skills for better functioning. Society challenges and grooms the entrepreneur, for good.

How would an entrepreneur know if he is doing the right thing ? To this, Jhon Fearon echoed, that one would know it, if he can get up 3.00 am in the morning, doing what he does. Meaning and actions goes, hand-in-hand for him.

Few silver bullets to this discussion :

  • How to manage an individual and team paradox, in a start-up? Well, an idea can be contributed anonymously and then voted by the members, building a synergy within the teams.
  • The brain storming on what happens when VC steals the idea from an entrepreneur, had the speakers offering the attendees with mentoring on how to avoid it or even moderate, if caught between the devil and the deep sea!
  • Deeper level understanding on both operational and strategic areas were to share with even legal areas such as how can patent problem be resolved
  • How to find a Co-founder? Charles Assisi shared how he found start-ups using MBTI for identifying alignment.

Note: CiteHR is honoured to have partnered the event. TechSparks2012 will soon come to your city.  Be there to gain from it and let us know how it helped you. We will continue to  contribute to its success, for the future events. Bangalore will host its Grand Finale on 8th Sept 2012. Join in, for this is an event, you cant miss !

Here’s Charles Assisi,Executive Editor (Forbes India) and Editor (ForbesLife India), sharing his takeaway from the event.