How the Hyderabad Entrepreneur Community overwhelmed us at TechSparks 2013
Before Bangalore, cities like Chennai and Hyderabad were at the helm of product innovation. Soon enough, Bangalore caught up, and soon enough took the limelight, and is today known as the heart of Indian startups. But all this while, there has been a vibrant, but quiet startup ecosystem brewing in these cities. After all, the product companies from the west first came to Hyderabad and Chennai, at the time when Bangalore was very services industry driven. This product exposure encouraged entrepreneurship, and some of India's best entrepreneurs have come from here.
This is exactly what we saw at the Hyderabad edition of TechSparks 2013. It isn’t often that you see almost 80% entrepreneur crowd at a startup event. And you know you’re putting out something special when at least 50 people, who paid to attend the event, are alright with standing at the back of the room through the 3 hour duration of the event. Hyderabad, as always, overwhelmed us. They had come to hear their local heroes share their knowledge and experience and we made sure that they got their money’s worth.
We had a wide variety of speakers from the entrepreneur fraternity of Hyderabad who spoke on a variety of topics. TechSparks Hyderabad kicked off with Vamshi Reddy, Co-Founder of Apalya, on his journey so far as a first time entrepreneur. The gathering was in rapt attention as they heard how a first time entrepreneur made it big from their own city, with the simple values of perseverance, prudence and sheer selflessness.
We then had our very own Shradha Sharma who spoke about her experiences from her trip to Silicon Valley. It was a different perspective to what Hyderabad was ever used to, which essentially set the tone for the rest of the event - sales. Shradha spoke highly of the Valley entrepreneur’s ability to sell and sell concisely; an ability not many Indian entrepreneur’s possess. Their ability to fail fast and move on was another take away from her trip. However, entrepreneurship is a lonely journey and that is true, here and there.
This was then followed by an interesting panel discussion. The panel was an interesting blend of entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, VCs and investor and ecosystem facilitators. We had, Gautam Mago (Principal Sequoia Capital), Ramesh Loganathan (VP, progress software), Srini Koppolu (Hyderabad Angels), Shiva Kumar (Cisco), Nibranth Shah (Founder, Themis Consulting) Manohar Reddy (Gallop Solutions, Founder) and Srikanth Karnakota (Microsoft). Shradha moderated the panel and the questions were across a wide variety of topics, ranging from major shortcomings and pitfalls of entrepreneurs today, opportunities in India, the investors and VCs point of view of startups, as well as the corporates engagement with startups. And as with any good panel discussion, the audience questions lasted fairly longer than the moderator questions.
Post this, we had a one of the lesser known entrepreneur heroes of Hyderabad, Manohar Reddy, who recently exited the company he founded, Gallop Solutions, talk about what it takes to exit. While he spoke about the journey to the exit itself, what stood out was his adherence to ethics and the sense of selflessness; he believed that selling his company was good for it’s growth. It was widely well recieved.
The startups unveiled at TechSparks were interesting internet technology companies. They were all business facing company, but with consumer facing offerings. Here is a brief of the three CitySparks from Hyderabad.
At the end of the event, it was heartening to see the vast majority of the crowd stay back and network with each other. What was even more heartening to see was that all the speakers patiently engaged with the Hyderabad entrepreneur community. It definitely seemed like there was a lack of such a platform for Hyderabad entrepreneurs to connect with various facets of the startup ecosystem. We at YourStory.in will strive to provide this and more to our Hyderabad bretheren.
Having said that, the Deccan plateau has always given India exceptional entrepreneurs. And after TechSparks 2013’s Hyderabad edition, there is no doubting that.
Stay tuned for more from the engrossing sessions at TechSparks Hyderabad.
Disclaimer 1 - Sequoia Capital, Microsoft and Cisco are Sponsors for TechSparks 2013