It was a diverse audience - Chennai brought to TechSparks a wide spectrum of entrepreneurs, be it in terms of experience and sectors they operate in. How would we have talks and presentations that will appeal to all of them? How much content can you stuff into a half day event? These were some of the questions that we had going into this event. We realized that we needed speakers who can transcend these differences. And transcend they did.
Talks and presentations are either meant to convey meaningful information or they are meant to inspire and motivate. They seldom do both. But what we had here were two back to back talks that moved the Chennai audience to its feet, as they shared their experiences and invaluable lessons that they learnt while setting up their business. And when this diverse capacity crowd at IIT Madras's ICSR auditorium rose to its feet at the end of every speaker session, we knew we were putting out something special.
Two Tamil speakers, an exciting panel discussion and three very interesting ventures from Chennai were the composition of the day. Their impact; well, that was a completely different story.
10 gaps filled the BharatMatrimony way
Murugavel Janakiraman, the founder of BharatMatrimony was our first speaker. He shared how he was an accidental entrepreneur and that entrepreneurship happened to him, when he was laid off from his corporate job. From thereon, he had no choice but to employ his coding talents to what would be one India's best known Internet success.
Murugavel summarized his journey by listing 10 gaps that every growing startup needs to fill. Of course, these gaps appear at various stages, but as Murugavel has spent a good 14 years on his business, he had live examples of how he approached addressing these gaps. It was an enthralling journey of a first time, and accidental entrepreneur, who went from being a coder to a leader. We will cover Murugavel's talk in detail in the coming days.
Then, a strong message
Arunachalam Muruganantham, was probably the only one in the whole auditorium who had very little to do with running an internet business. He was a mechanic, and possibly was introduced to the Internet not very long ago. But the basics of innovation and entrepreneurship remains the same. After a first few minutes of applause and laughter accompanying his quick wit, his story earned the undivided attention of everyone in the room. There was applause, but that of respect.
It was an hour long experience. The Chennai audience witnessed possibly one of the best orators that the country has for now. Yes, his English was broken and he didn't use the most flowery of words. However, when the message being conveyed is so strong, grammar really doesn't matter. This was possibly Muruganantham's best talks, about which, we will write about in detail in the coming days.
Addressing real problems - the audience participates
On a high after Arunachalam Muruganantham's talk, the stage was taken by Muthuvel Natarajan, an investment banker, Murugavel Janakiraman, Bharatmatrimony founder and Rohit Bhat, associate at Sequoia Capital. While the panel itself was an interesting blend of technical as well as the intangible side of entrepreneurship, it was the audience Q and A that overflowed well overtime.
The Chennai audience made the most of the opportunity given to them as they fired question after question at the trio at the panel. There were agreements, as well as disagreements, but overall the session ended on happy note. The audience were not only fulfilled by the session as such, they could now also reach out to these very people for help with their startups. Stay tuned for a detailed piece on the panel discussion at TechSparks Chennai.
Apart from the high quality of talks at all TechSparks events, the startups that we present as a part of CitySparks have always been a good talking point. And Chennai was no different. We had one consumer facing company (Zeocode), one business facing company (DeltaX) and an education startup (btechguru.com).
Post this, there was a networking session, where the audience relived the experience of the past 5 hours, exchanged contacts and got acquainted with possible partners. But as organizers, we sat back and watched as our audience leave satisfied. Many even had a smile on their face.
Techsparks is nearing its Grand Finale at Bangalore and our next stop is Pune. Book your tickets today.
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