Incubation, investment, IP: TechSparks masterclasses show founders the way to success

21st Sep 2017
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At TechSparks 2017, the go-to conference for India’s startup ecosystem, sign up for a masterclass for valuable and actionable insights from industry experts.

The startup journey isn’t easy – it has its fair shares of ups and downs, and twists and turns. The key competencies founders must build on the way to success include validation, pivoting, resilience, partnerships and fundraising.

That’s where TechSparks - one of India's largest gatherings of entrepreneurs, innovators, investors and industry experts - comes in. (See also our pick of 17 highlights of TechSparks 2017, profiles of investors speaking at the conference, and the Tech30 startup showcase.)

TechSparks 2017, the eighth edition of India's premier startup conference and showcase, offers not just visionary insights and cross-cutting panel discussions with successful entrepreneurs, but also expert-led masterclasses for startups at various stages of their innovation journey. Founders can pick from 10 masterclasses across two days, and can even attend more than one to maximise their learnings.

Here are some of the valuable and actionable insights you can get at TechSparks masterclasses this year. Be sure to book your space early to avoid disappointment for only limited seats are available in each session.

How to overcome early-stage sales challenges

This masterclass will help you with typical early-stage challenges in figuring out where the value in your business model lies, and how to pitch your product or service: configuration (profit model, network, structure, process), offering (product, performance, product system), or experience (service, channel, brand, customer engagement).

You will learn about the different skills you need at different stages of the sales journey, including relationship building and enterprise basics. Attendees will learn how sales strategies can be applied in four stages of enterprise growth: customer validation (getting the real customer), operational validation (functioning enterprise: delivering the product), functional validation (satisfying customers, withstanding competition, varying the product mix), and self-sustainability (innovating again while also being efficient).

Engaging with incubators

One of the most visible examples of growth in India’s startup ecosystem is the rise of accelerators, incubators, co-working spaces, hackathons, startup pitch fests and so on. In this masterclass, you will learn what accelerators and incubators look for, how they differ, and what outcomes you can expect.

Each incubator or accelerator has different ways of selecting a portfolio, the size of each batch, selection criteria and exit processes. Find out what support you can get from them at different stages of your journey, from networking and legal assistance to corporate connections and customer insights.

Hacking your growth strategy

Now that you are off the ground with incubator/accelerator support, you need to hit the growth curve. In this masterclass, you will master different kinds of growth strategy. Growth means different things to different people – it could be about geographic reach, new customer demographies, product range, feature strength, profitability and margins.

Growth also covers a mix of business development, marketing, advertising and brand building. New waves of technology add new tools to the mix – from automation to social media. What can cohorts, batches and bots do to scale your footprint? Come to this masterclass to find out.

Machine learning on the cloud

Hype aside, AI is set to take the world of innovation by storm. Even if you are not a 100 percent AI startup, you can learn a lot by plugging into the power of the AI. The cloud lends new wings to the capabilities of AI, democratising its power for a much broader range of players.

Come to this masterclass to learn, from one of the biggest and most innovative heavyweights in AI, how you can use machine learning to plug into your data streams and extract new insights. Tools and metrics will be covered, along with case studies and trends.

Partnering for growth: IoT and cloud

IoT is a core infrastructure driving next-generation value addition in the offline-online world. This masterclass will help you find out how IoT capabilities delivered via the cloud can enhance the depth of your insights into the warehouse, supply chain, distribution networks and consumer touchpoints.

It is not just industry heavyweights who are building smart machines and intelligent factories, but startups that are reconfiguring consumer value chains and partnership networks. Case studies from India and around the world will be presented in this masterclass.

Financial fitness: the first step to funding

Most startups think of seemingly dreary topics like accounting and finance only at the very end. But it doesn’t have to be this way, as a range of industry pioneers is stepping into the fray to help startups manage their finances in a clear and transparent way.

The earlier you get started in establishing financial clarity in your startup journey, the better it is to get dashboard views of your operations and to build attractive value propositions for investors. This masterclass will let you learn about the latest financial tools and methods available for today’s founders.

7 mistakes to avoid while fundraising

Funding is not the magic wand for your startup journey, but true rocket fuel. Come to this masterclass to better understand what funders are really looking for in a founding team. Is it your degrees, experience, business model and competitive positioning – or some combination of these factors?

What mistakes do founders typically make when they approach investors? What are the types of funding available and how does the equation work? This masterclass will build on years of analysis and experience to show the best partnership strategies to engage with funders.

Intellectual property and patenting for startups and SMEs

India is well known as a services powerhouse, but how about products and original IP? How can truly innovative startups capitalise on their creativity and formalise it via patents, trademarks and licenses?

This masterclass will show you where the legal and technological worlds intersect in the world of IP. Based on the work of industry pioneers who have mastered the science and business of patenting, you will learn how to navigate the IP maze and come up with effective strategies to tap and create patents, for Indian and global markets.

All these masterclasses will be conducted by a range of industry experts from ThoughtWorks, GIZ, Param Consultants, Google Intuit, Vodafone, Stellaris and Qualcomm.

TechSparks 2017 is here. Are you coming?


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