TechSparks 2019 wraps up, but only to increase our appetite for more

Day 1 of YourStory’s TechSparks 2019 was all about wit and heady conversations. Day 2 took the route of “heartfulness”. From WhatsApp India’s Pragya Misra Mehrishi to Ola’s Bhavish Aggarwal, here’s a look at the disruptors who took the hot seat at the startup conference of India.

To sum up - TechSparks 2019 was a houseful affair!

Following an action-packed  Day 1, the second day of YourStory’s flagship startup event turned out to be glitzy and insightful in equal measures. With eminent personalities, changemakers, prolific influencers, and famous business leaders holding the audience enthralled with their tales of success and failure, it was a perfect continuation of the legacy of an annual event, which has earned the reputation of being the most-sought after startup summit in India.

But this wasn’t just another run-of-the-mill edition – 2019 marked the 10th anniversary of TechSparks. And to celebrate the decade-long journey, we at YourStory gathered a stellar line-up of speakers and guests who shared their valuable insights and experiences during the various panel discussions and workshops.

If witty anecdotes and clever references from the Bhagavad Gita and the Shastras (holy texts) by VSS aka Paytm Founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma got the ball rolling on Day 1, we took the “heartful” route on the second day, kickstarting the event with a meditation session.

For 10 whole minutes, the conference hall at Taj Yeshwantpur, Bengaluru, filled with young, driven, and budding entrepreneurs, experienced a moment of “magical” silence with session host, Pragya Misra Mehrishi, Head of Communications of WhatsApp India.

From inspiring calm to evoking curiosity, the meditative session made way for a sharp and informative keynote by Manu Jain, Vice President and MD of Xiaomi India. With a quick nod to the now-famous phrase – “show me the money” – from the 1996 film Jerry Maguire (on how to pronounce Xiaomi), the Indian CEO and intrapreneur moved on to chart the Chinese electronics company’s incredible journey over the years.

“The toughest part of my job is that it’s a lonely one because as a CEO, it’s my job to keep my team spirits up even when things are not working,” he said.

Bhavish Aggarwal, the Founder and CEO of Ola, is not the one to make many public appearances or give media statements. But at TechSparks, he was at his candid best. In a nearly hour-long conversation with YourStory’s Founder and CEO Shradha Sharma, he spelt out his vision of building Ola into a global Indian consumer brand.

He even confirmed that the company -- which has been rapidly expanding into new markets and verticals -- is now “absolutely focussed” on going public and is eyeing an IPO in 18-24 months.

Speaking of going public, Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy, in a rapid-fire, revealed that his dream was to take the ecommerce company to an IPO in the next three years.

Kalyan revealed that the secret to being an effective CEO is having a high-level vision and having a solid team – and making sure to groom talent.

Adding to the star quotient was Bollywood actor Rajkumar Rao as he charmed a packed-to-the-brim auditorium with reflective anecdotes on his journey from Gurugram to Mumbai, from the National School of Drama to Bollywood, and from obscurity to stardom.

Renting furniture was unheard of in India until Furlenco came into picture. During an insightful panel, Founder and CEO Ajith Mohan Karimpana spoke about his entry into this space and all the challenges that came with it. He took the audience through the roller coaster ride he experienced right from the beginning up until today where the startup is pulling in Rs 100 crore revenue every year.

To understand a bit more about the Indian space ecosystem, YourtStory organised a Spacetech panel, called ‘The Rise and Rise of Indian Spacetech Startups’. In this panel, each vertical of the ecosystem, from policy makers to entrepreneurs, were explored.

With members like Saurabh Bhattacharya of PWC; Vishesh Rajaram, Managing Partner of SpecialE Invest; Kshitij Khandelwal, Founder and CTO of Pixxel; Pranay Kotasthane, Head of Policy Research, Takshashila Institute; and Yashash Karanam, Founder and COO of Bellatrix, taking the hot seat, it was nothing less than a moment of pure joy and excitement for all spacetech enthusiasts.

While the various panel discussions, workshops, talks, fireside chats, and keynotes featuring some of the top guns from the startup ecosystem is what the essence of TechSparks is, the two-day startup event has also become popular for another ceremonious event – the unveiling of the Tech30 startups.

It is a cherry picked list of promising, innovative, and young startups, for the uninitiated, who seized the opportunity to pitch their business ideas to the packed hall here at Bengaluru, amid resounding applause.

With this, it’s time to draw the curtains on TechSparks 2019, an annual event, which has turned out to be this huge success. The 10th edition of India’s beloved startup conference might have come to a close, but it’s just paving the way for a new beginning, more engaging, insightful, and entertaining sessions, and a yet another year of TechSparks.

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(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)

YourStory's annual extravaganza TechSparks brings together the best and the brightest from the startup ecosystem, corporate world, policymakers and, of course, the investor community. Over the past decade, TechSparks has grown to become India's most loved tech and startup platform for knowledge sharing and networking. A big thank you for all your support over the years and a big shoutout to our sponsors.


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