This article is brought to you by Lufthansa.
With more than 1,000 investor meetings, 13,000 delegates and 7,000 startups in attendance, the second edition of the Startup Expo powered by TiE and Lufthansa was, quite literally, a runaway success!
This past month saw TiE and the Lufthansa India teams, in association with global advertising agency McCann, caught up in a whirlwind of activity organising the second edition of the Startup Expo. In its first year, it was hailed as an unprecedented initiative that could transform India’s startup landscape. Now in its second edition, the event is recognised as India’s largest ecosystem for start-up and SME success.
India is the third-largest startup hub in the world, and startups are seen as key to the country’s continued high growth trajectory. For the past decade, Lufthansa has been actively working with experts like The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), the largest entrepreneurship fostering network in the world, to create a credible and genuinely valuable programme for budding entrepreneurs.
The Startup Expo is part of this overarching umbrella, which began as a television series eight years ago, and has grown consistently to become a nationwide movement, adding into its fold a growing stream of free mentorship camps held across nine Indian cities, both metros and small towns. These camps culminated in the second Startup Expo held in Gurugram on August 23, 2017, which saw participation from thousands of entrepreneurs and startups.
Hosted at co-working space GoWork on August 23, the Startup Expo had all the ingredients needed to boost entrepreneurship, with innovators and investors, mentors and industry partners, business experts and government agencies, corporates and customers in attendance. Participants swarmed the registration desks, which opened at 9 am and even the heavy downpour and clogged roads could not dampen their enthusiasm.
The event has been recognized as an opportunity for startups to not only gain much-needed exposure, but also explore partnership opportunities and interact with all the stakeholders who can help them scale to new heights. Together with TiE, Lufthansa is bringing together all that a startup needs for success under a single roof, and is being recognised as a partner in the success of Indian business. In all the noise for attention in the booming India market, an initiative like the Startup Expo helps break the clutter. It proves that 'More Indian than you think' goes beyond a product promise, and that Lufthansa is deeply connected and committed to India beyond flight operations.
Startup Expo 2017 only built on the success of last year’s edition, having received enthusiastic confirmation from leading investors in India, besides partners and senior government functionaries. Nearly 13,000 delegates attended, including 7,000 startups. Over 230 startups also exhibited at the event. A total of 75 investors came by, with the Investor Lounge hosting close to 45 of them for one-on-one meetings with startups. Over 1,000 investor meetings took place. Other delegates included mentors, representatives of accelerators, government functionaries, corporates, support agencies, and industry associations.
The staggering turnout is merely a reflection of India being the third-largest base for startups in the world, witnessing a YoY growth of 10-12 percent. This should come as no surprise with innovation and startup ideas cutting across demographics, be it youth willing to take on new challenges or experienced professionals ready to embark on their entrepreneurial journey.
Wolfgang Will, Senior Director, South Asia, Lufthansa Passenger Airlines, said, “Entrepreneurship is the driving force of the Indian economy and we, at Lufthansa, feel privileged to be at the heart of this nationwide movement celebrating entrepreneurship.”
The power-packed event comprised several activities through the day, including speaker sessions, panel discussions, and workshops led by eminent industry leaders including Raman Roy, CEO and MD of Quattro BPO Solutions and a TiE board member; Pramod Bhasin, President, TiE Delhi-NCR and Founder, Genpact and Chairman Clix Capital; Raghav Verma, Co-Founder and Head - Marketing and Business Development, Chaayos; Sunil Goyal, Managing Director and Fund Manager at YourNest Venture Capital; Deep Bajaj, Founder, Peebuddy; Nidhi Agarwal, Founder and CEO, Kaaryah, Raghav Chandra, Co-founder, UrbanClap, and Puneet Chawla, CEO and Co-founder, Jaypore.
There was also a special panel on women entrepreneurs that saw some prominent names from the ecosystem share notes on their startups’ success.
The Startup Expo also attracted organisations such as Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), and over 40 investors including Sequoia Capital, Unitus Seed Fund, IDG Ventures India, YourNest, Calcutta Angels, Indian Angel Network, Orios Venture Partners, Kalaari Capital, Mumbai Angels and Matrix Partners. The entrepreneurs themselves represented diverse fields including Technology, FinTech, and FoodTech to name a few.
Reflecting investor opinion, Ojasvi Babber, General Manager, Amity Capital Ventures, said, “The startups were more mature this time, and well curated by the TiE team. It was nice to meet a lot of startups not in the technology space and in non-traditional spaces. It was wonderful to see the entire startup ecosystem mature.”
Among the startup founders present at the Startup Expo 2017 was Devika Srimal, Founder & CEO, Kanabis, a Delhi-based footwear brand. She said, “Showcasing Kanabis at Lufthansa Startup Expo was a fantastic opportunity to network with entrepreneurs, investors and potential partners/customers. The line-up of speakers was great, and we felt energised and inspired.”
The Startup Expo is an endeavour by Lufthansa to support India’s business growth. Over the past five years, it has helped empower nearly 150,000 startups through the Lufthansa Runway to Success initiative, which has grown to become the country’s largest SME stage.
Successful entrepreneurs and winners from earlier Runway to Success editions were also present at the Expo to share their accounts of how they overcame the common challenges startups face at the start of their journeys.
Roy, who has been a part of the Lufthansa Runway to Success initiative since the beginning, said, “It’s really lonely for entrepreneurs at the top and creating forums like these where they can interact with other people, and open up, will help them realise that they are not the only ones going through this. Creating that opportunity for potential investors to talk to entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs to watch and learn from other entrepreneurs, it's just fascinating to see the buzz that platforms are making.”
According to Geetika Dayal, Executive Director, TiE Delhi-NCR, “This is the collective strength of India coming together to fuel the drive and passion of young entrepreneurs. Lufthansa’s strong commitment to partnering the success of Indian business is creditable. As the largest global network fostering entrepreneurship, TiE’s core philosophy is to support startups and SMEs with opportunities and mentoring them for success. This is why our long-standing partnership with Lufthansa through initiatives such as Runway to Success and the Startup Expo is unparalleled.”
As with the Startup Expo, this Lufthansa Runway to Success is all set to be an even fiercer contest than previous years with over 27,000 applications received by the time the Startup Expo was held. Among the prizes on offer to this year’s winner are:
So, don’t be disheartened if you missed all the action at the Startup Expo 2017. Your entrepreneurial journey could still take wing with Lufthansa Runway to Success. But time is running out. So, apply today.