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Here's all that happened on Day 2 of TechSparks 2023

TechSparks 2023 continued to pack a punch on day 2, with stakeholders from the Indian startup ecosystem discussing everything from making money to AI, electric mobility, and more.

Here's all that happened on Day 2 of TechSparks 2023

Friday September 22, 2023 , 4 min Read

The 14th edition of TechSparks 2023, India's biggest startup tech event, continued its celebration of The Great Indian Techade on Friday.

The second day kickstarted with a candid conversation with Umang Bedi, Co-founder of VerSe Innovation, who detailed how the parent company of news aggregator Dailyhunt and short-video app Josh, in 2018, built an adtech platform on OEM handsets, thus enabling effective expansion of its user base.

While Bedi acknowledged that monetising content in India has been tricky, he explained how VerSe has been able to earn revenue effectively by understanding the consumer and whether they would find value in paying for content.

The entrepreneur said its short-video app Josh aims to break even in the next 18 months.

"Our video networking business nears break even, where we are aiming for another four quarters of consistent performance ... The goal is to gather substantial data demonstrating scaled business operations before considering an IPO," said Bedi.

Next, Rajiv Khaitan, Senior Partner at Khaitan & Co, delivered a keynote address on India’s new Data Protection Bill and how it would impact startups.

“Data is the new oil, they say. And this is one step forward towards protecting the rights of our citizens," Khaitan said, as he deep-dived into the Digital Personal Data Protection Act 2023, which is expected to be released in the next four to six weeks.

"This Act will not cover anonymised data, personal data processed by individual for personal or domestic purpose, and personal data made public by data principal (to whom the data relates), or any person under legal obligation to make it publicly available," he explained.

Day 2 at TechSparks also saw many conversations around the latest developments in new-age technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI).

According to Vinayak Naik, Senior Vice-President of fintech firm Broadridge India, infusing finance with conversational AI can work wonders and open up the complex world of bonds and markets.

"Web3 and AI are big areas for us," he said.

Broadridge India has launched several products intersecting generative AI and finance, such as Bond GPT and Trade GPT—chatbots that help investors find bonds or equities to invest in via dialogue.

"Tech is changing so rapidly all the time ... You have to make sure you're working closely with the customer and bouncing product developments off the market and customers," said Naik.

There were also conversations on India's electric dream.

“It is time for the government to focus on the supply side of the sector and improve charging infrastructure in the next set of policies,” said Raghav Rohila, Co-founder and CPO of ElectricPe.

Sivasubramanian Ramann, CMD of Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), said SIDBI is bringing in large credit guarantee schemes for EV companies.

“We have gone into EV aggregators. We are now bringing in large credit guarantee schemes for EVs. We are working with the World Bank for two-wheelers and the Asian Development Bank for four-wheelers ... The multiples you can get from a credit guarantee scheme is way more than a loan,” he said.

SIDBI has proposed the setting up of a Rs 5,000-crore Fund of Funds for Startups, which will invest in early-stage companies, especially in deeptech.

“I do not see any reason why the bright minds of India should not come back from the US because there is a lot of capital getting raised here,” said Ramann.

He also said SIDBI's initial investment through its Rs 10,000-crore fund of funds will be deployed back into the startup sector to create "perpetual capital" for them.

The fund of funds is likely to make returns of Rs 20,000 crore from the capital deployed if they draw down six years from now, said Ramann.

“That Rs 20,000 crore will once again go back to startups. So, it is really a perpetual capital,” he said.

As Day 2 wraps up, we cannot wait for you to check out all the exciting sessions lined up for Day 3 at TechSparks 2023.

Finally, a huge shout-out to our gifting partners: The Good Glamm Group, Beco, Deconstruct, Beverich, Tagz, and Nestle. We thank them for helping make TechSparks Bengaluru 2023 all the more memorable for the attendees.

Edited by Swetha Kannan