A healthy rivalry amongst cities is always good for a growing ecosystem, whichever field it may be. Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai are usually in the thick of things when one talks about startups and India. Bangalore pretty much remains at the top when it comes to technology stratups but others are quickly picking up. And Saturday gave ample proof of that with the regional event of TechSparks 2014. Overall, we felt that the maturity level needs to go up a notch but Delhi gets full marks on enthusiasm. The Delhi regional event was one of the quickest to get sold out and we also had to stop on the spot registration.
Here's what was in store for the audience and everything went according to plan. The event was opened with a round of networking and lunch before everyone headed to the first talk of the day from Suraj Saharan, co-founder Delhivery. Suraj took the audience through the journey of Delhivery and how they've managed to get more than 7000 customers and how Delhivery would use its recent $35 million series C funding.Some of the key points from his talk:
- Focus on creating value for the customers, the valuation of the company will take care of itself.
- Focus on team from Day 1- create an organization that is well oiled and works smoothly together.
- How Delhivery setup the processes
- How Delhivery differentiates themselves- Distributed hub model (an innovation in managing supply chain), focus on technology and agility.
- The other big talk of the event came from Vaibhav Padlikar of Phone Warrior, the mobile application that has managed to get more than 3 million downloads organically. PW is an integrated SMS and Call Blocker app available for Android, BlackBerry and Nokia smartphones. Vaibhav spoke about a number of things about ranging from the growth trajectory to raising funds for the app, key highlights:One of the recurring questions the audience had in mind- revenue model. Although Phone Warrior has competition from the likes of True Caller, it as managed to grow organically and has shown good metrics to attract investor confidence. One a product has good traction, revenue model can be worked out.
- Phone Warrior's larger picture- to create a globally-relevant cloud-based platform to crowd-source mobile phone numbers and turbo-charge the value of this data through big data techniques, graph search and machine learning.
Alongside talks, there was a Tech Bazaar also in place which had some exciting startups showcasing. Here is We Do Sky, a drone company from Delhi in action:
From the other side of the table, we had Abheek Anand of Sequoia Capital to talk about Startup Metrics and what VCs are looking for. Abheek was subjected to a volley of questions from why investors have more confidence in pedigree founders to deeper questions on metrics. One of the important factors that entrepreneurs and investors miss out on is the addressable market in the next five years. It is very important for a company to be addressing a large enough market if it is looking to raise funds. For instance, mobile in India- On the higher side, the current number of data subscribers on mobile would be around 40 million and if you consider ones who'd pay, this number would follow under 5 million. But this same market, five years down the line is more likely to be 10x. Then the market becomes exciting.
After this, we had two more workshops: A Branding and Marketing workshop conducted by Brand Capital and a Design thinking Workshop by Intel. The Design Workshop was the perfect finishing touch where the audience was required to pair up and there was a poll to decide what topic would every team be working on. "A smart home experience" was the chosen subject and then the teams underwent a 8 step design process to come up with solution. The whole exercise is a scaled down version of how to think design with any product.
The talks and workshops were followed up by another networking session for an hour. All in all, it was a fantastic event and we hope the momentum continues as we head on to the other two cities. Social media was also abuzz with tweets flying in at a rapid face throughout the event. follow the #tsparks to stay updated on the happenings.
TechSparks is coming to Chennai and Mumbai next. You can book your tickets here