[TechSparks 2020] Day 2 highlights: Amit Somani, Gaurav Arora, Madan Padaki, and more

On Day 2 of TechSparks 2020, Amit Somani of Prime Venture Partners demystified product building, making it clear that startups today don’t just have to build for the world, or for India — but ‘Bharat’.
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Day 2 at TechSparks 2020 began with Cisco’s AI Head Mohamed El Geish walking us through the evolution of artificial intelligence, and how the technology will shape human existence over the next decade. 

Mohamed emphasised on the need for a robust regulatory framework around AI. Elon Musk, in the now-infamous conversation with Joe Rogan where he smoked marijuana on camera, has already said he’s cautious of AI, and that a lack of regulatory evolution in AI is dangerous. But when you ponder the many ways in which AI has helped us all perform basic tasks, it’s hard to imagine life without this still-developing, potentially scary aspect of technology.

Next, Gaurav Arora, AWS’ Head of Startup, Asia Pacific and Japan, revealed some best practices Amazon uses while hiring people - important especially given that more and more businesses are thankfully shrugging off the COVID-19 markdown, and starting to hire again.

The highlight of the day was hearing alpha geek and Managing Partner at Prime Venture Amit Somani, who gave us the rundown on building format-defying products in India that will have the potential to become not just ecosystem leaders, but also global leaders in their respective categories.

“A mix of familiarity and novelty is essential while designing products for India. We have to draw inspiration from around the world, but, while customising, the approach has to be local,” Amit said at the event — words of wisdom that startups need to remember when designing products today.

With TechSparks 2020’s new all-virtual, more immersive format, Amit’s fireside chat felt like a rare front-row seat to a valuable, insightful, and almost one-on-one session on how to build the next Ola Cabs or Swiggy or Zoho — all from the comfort of your home.

Madan Padaki, Founder and CEO of 1Bridge — a last mile platform that connects rural consumers with rural and urban suppliers — took the ‘stage’ next and conducted a session on how the rural economy works, zooming in some post-COVID-19 trends that have emerged in the rural landscape. 

“In the last six months, I’ve had more conversations about supply chains, last-mile deliveries, digital access and, of course, kirana stores in rural areas, than I have had in the last 18 months,” Madan said.

His endlessly knowledgeable masterclass, especially important now as startups seek to solve for not just India but also Bharat, was capped by various sessions on branding, marketing and social media strategy, across tracks, which were well received by our young startup founders, as well as professionals looking to create an online presence.

Onwards and upwards to Day 3 then, which will start with a keynote by Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister of Law and Justice, Electronics and Information Technology and Communications, followed by a fireside chat with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on “Marching forward towards an Aatmanirbhar Bharat”.

We also have CRED’s Kunal Shah and Bollywood’s Kunal Kapoor, along with Sequoia’s Shailendra Singh and BJYU’S Bjyu Raveendran on the docket tomorrow - so don’t forget to tune in.


For more information on TechSparks 2020, check out our TechSparks 2020 website. Sign up here to join the event.

TechSparks - YourStory's annual flagship event - has been India's largest and most important technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship summit for over a decade, bringing together entrepreneurs, policymakers, technologists, investors, mentors, and business leaders for stories, conversations, collaborations, and connections that matter. As TechSparks 2020 goes all virtual and global in its 11th edition, we want to thank you for the tremendous support we've received from all of you throughout our journey and give a huge shoutout to our sponsors of TechSparks 2020.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta