Saturday the 30th of August, at the Lalit Ashok, saw a glittering confluence of entrepreneurs – those who have made it big and those who aspire to make it big – to celebrate the one thing that YourStory stands for above all else – the spirit of entrepreneurship. The cheering crowd was a testimony of faith in our work. Right from the inaugural address by our founder and CEO Shradha Sharma to the high profile key note speakers who dazzled us with their wit and insights to the buzzing of ideas the TechBazar – inspiration was at an all-time high.
Things were set in motion when Sharma took to the stage, reflecting on the beginnings of TechSparks when there was only one sponsor supporting us. Today it was an array of the old and the new:
“We believe that all of us in this room has that spark. In the last five years we have had the great opportunity of nurturing some amazing entrepreneurs – many of whom have gone on to found big companies. For us what counts the most is the relationship we have with these companies. It is very personal. The ones who could not become big superstars have gone on to become great human beings doing great stuff on their own. But we have all been on that journey together and it has been amazing.
Please be very enthusiastic. Please be very talkative, loud and young. Ask questions. Participate. We are all in this together.”
Mohandas Pai transfixed the audience with his electrifying speech. He started with:
“We are born at a particular time and we have an expiry date. If you work fourteen hours a day, make sure it is something big you are working at.”
And ended with:
“Imagine a country with a billion consumers! I have a dream. I hope all of you become great entrepreneurs. I hope we launch 100,000 start-ups. I hope India becomes the start-up capital of the world. Passion is energy that gives you great wings.”
The audience was in raptures, if the thundering applause his speech received was any indication. You can read up on more gems from his speech here.
It could not have been easy to match that act but Alok Goel, CEO, Freecharge, did so with panache. His speech- cool, calm and collected- was brimming with wisdom for entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs alike. He outlined four areas of concentration for achieving sustainable success with your venture:
1. Kickass idea
2. Great team
3. Best Execution
4. Follow the money
Read up more on the values and insights he shared here
What followed was a whole lot of learning and resource building for budding entrepreneurs. Sequoia Capital conducted an in depth talk on Start-up Metrics. Ashish Agarwal, founder and CTO of SolutionsInfini, decoded building scalable solutions on the cloud. A. L. Sriram from BCCL talked about how startups can leverage branding and marketing to scale their business. One workshop followed another till the events of the day culminated in the TechBazaar – the start-up market place. Here drones were flown and 3 D bric-a-bracs printed. Here innovation took place.
Spirits were still buzzing high when the party moved outdoors. The last part of the event was dedicated to networking over coffee, though the gourmet delights on offer far superseded just coffee. We hesitate to hazard a guess about how many friendships were forged, how many deals struck and how many promises made while standing in queue for chicken and mushroom quiches, fish fingers and tiramisu; but we would say many.
And we thank all our sponsors and partners in supporting TechSparks 2014 in discovering the best emerging tech product startups from India – Sequoia Capital, AWS, Intel, DSOA, Verisign, Stanford Ignite, Target, Intuit, Brand Capital and Ola.
This was the perfect way to kick-start the fifth edition of TechSparks. From here we travel to five cities and play the start-up game on the national stage. Things will come a full circle when Bangalore again will host the grand finale in October. For now we have, ‘miles to go before we sleep.’