The air hostess announced the outside temperature to be 12 degrees centigrade and that signaled the chilly times Delhi had in store for one and all at the GSF Accelerator Forum. The morning of November 26th heralded the launch of the forum and it began with a bang with 10 companies pitching immediately after an introductory session. The who's who of the startup world were present at the event and all the pitching startups were under the spotlight.
Founded by Rajesh Sawhney, GSF Accelerator has a 7 week program in three cities (Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore) of India and has culminated into the forum wherein startups from all the cities come together in Delhi and pitch to a huge investor community. The atmosphere was bordering the lines of freezing for the ones not used to the Delhi climate but the energy at the forum was a good warm up. Some furious pitching activity was on the way and anyone who'd even lend half an ear was being would be pitched to.
Post lunch, once the first set of companies had pitched, a session "Survival Kit for angels" put 7 angels from the different angel networks in India on the spot with some questions to answer. Some interesting insights did come out from the conversation. For instance, why does Blume Ventures always co-invest? Sanjay Nath, said
The interesting dynamics between angels and investors also came out well and to conclude, the panel also threw light on how all angels don't end up in heaven.
The three masterclasses followed the panel by angels and Sasha Mirchandani stole the show here. A very pragmatic view about investing and starting up, Sasha put many things into perspective. He mentioned two key points while approaching investors:
1) The entrepreneur should try and approach the VCs via a respected referral. It matters a lot!
2) Don't always pitch to your topmost investor (in the priority list) first. Get some insights from the others first and then go the best man!
This master class was followed by Krishnan Ganesh and Meena Ganesh, the successful Founders of Tutorvista who showed how they scaled and addressed some of the doubts the entrepreneurs in the crowd held. And the third masterclass from Steven Lourie, General Manager, Studio I (India) at Zynga gave away some secrets of the trade and how young entrepreneurs can address certain problems.
Following this, the event also had a lot of fun and frolic with alcohol flowing and a comedy show as well! The audience was mesmerized by a 'drumming show' wherein actual drums appeared in front of the audience and everyone participated with the man on stage- 'jugalbandi' if we can put it that way.
The highlight of the day was saved till the last with a panel: "Creating Value through M&A led exits for Indian startups: Rockstar Founders, leading Strategic and savvy VC discuss Indian dynamic" and details of this would be brought shortly to you.
The day two is on way and hang on to #gsf2012 for updates...
(reported by Jubin Mehta)
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