Here's all that happened on day 1 of TechSparks 2023

Day one of TechSparks 2023 was exciting and event-packed, with some of India's brightest minds from the startup ecosystem sharing their interesting insights.

Debolina Biswas

Pooja Malik

Here's all that happened on day 1 of TechSparks 2023

Thursday September 21, 2023,

5 min Read

After 15 years of storytelling and over 1.5 lakh stories, YourStory is back in its home turf Bengaluru to celebrate the ‘spark’ in every entrepreneur. With trailblazers, innovators, and disruptors of the Indian startup ecosystem—all coming together under one roof—Shradha Sharma, CEO and Founder of YourStory, set the tone for ‘The Great Indian Techade.’ 

“TechSparks is a testament to the fact that everyone can do this! In the next three days, we want to see some change, and want you (the attendees) to go back with something that creates a spark for each one of you,” Shradha said on the first day of the 14th edition of TechSparks, India’s largest startup-tech event. 

Day one of the three-day summit began with one of the country’s brightest and most successful entrepreneurs—Bhavish Aggarwal, Co-founder of Ola Cabs and Ola Electric. He dived deep into India’s startup ecosystem, entrepreneurship, energy, building EVs, and tech advancements. “India is already an absolutely exciting growth engine for the world. And, it is our destiny to build the India of the future,” he said. 

Speaking on Ola’s role in the electrification of India and the rest of the world, Aggarwal added, “Energy is no longer just a commodity. Energy is a technology now…India is going to be the centre of the global energy transition. We decided to start with the humble scooter because India is a two-wheeler country.” 

Next, YourStory launched its much-celebrated Tech30 report—a compelling list of disruptive startups that “we believe will be big tomorrow,” Shradha said.

Speaking of building a disruptive startup, seasoned entrepreneur, author, and content wiz Ankur Warikoo took the stage next to have an ‘honest’ discussion with founders and potential entrepreneurs at TechSparks. 

“It (entrepreneurship) is the most brutal form of self-discovery. As glamorous as it may sound from the outside, it is difficult,” he said. Warikoo suggested that entrepreneurs should focus on building the right culture, building a support system of founders, and defining their own success. “I wish the show-off stature was not there. Everybody has it hard, and the biggest thing you can do as a founder is stop competing with other founders,” Warikoo added. 

YourStory also hosted Subram Natrajan, Director (Customer Engineering) at Google Cloud India. Natrajan spoke about the talk of the town—artificial intelligence (AI). While AI has been the buzzword in the tech and innovation ecosystem, Natrajan focused on the ‘What’s next?’, adding how Gen AI should be considered an augmenter for further growth instead of a replacement.

He added, “Four areas in the content industry are set for disruption through Gen AI—one is content creation, second application is business action by parsing documents, discovery from content repository, and hyper-personalisation for the audience.” 

He further highlighted that besides content discovery, Gen AI could also be used to generate personalised content tailored for audience and engagement targets. “The ability to create content using Gen AI also comes with an added responsibility,” he said. 

Vaishali Kasture, Director and Country Head of AWS Commercial Business India and South Asia, spoke about how Indian startups and enterprises can make the most of AI-powered cloud services to address supply chain problems, personalise digital experiences, and optimise coding processes at scale. 

Later in the day, Vani Kola, Founder and Managing Director at Kalaari Capital, spoke about the essential strategies for early-stage startups to leverage local innovation, market trends, and partnerships to make the most of the tech transformation in the country. “I think the theme of Techade is exciting, and the opportunity for technology to disrupt over the next decade is exciting. India is sitting on the cusp of possibilities, and we are sitting in the right environment and the right cycle for entrepreneurs right now.” 

She pointed out that the brands are going phygital, and about 60% of the shops and 40% of transactions are online.

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‘Here’s to the next 15 years of TechSparks!’ - Shradha Sharma sets the tone for The Great Indian Techade

During The Great Startup Debate, Aakrit Vaish, Co-founder and CEO of Haptik, put forth his argument to establish if Bengaluru or Mumbai is leading the startup game. While Bengaluru might be the Silicon Valley of India, Mumbai is catching up to become the next big startup hub. 

To understand how sustainability translates into profitability, TechSparks 2023 saw a panel discussion featuring Sahar Mansoor, Founder of Bare Necessities; Cherish Tota, Director of; Aditya Ruia, Founder of Beco; and Ankit Kedia, Founder and Lead Investor at Capital A.

Kedia pointed out that climate-tech is a new blue-eyed sector for VCs, adding sustainability is perceived as a ‘cool’ thing, which is turning up as a key advantage for ecopreneurs today.

Further, Karan Virwani, CEO of WeWork India, highlighted that India is stable to unicorns that will become global companies, and its young demographic is influencing work environments and workplace preferences in the country. 

He pointed out that the workplace preference in India varies from other regions, “where a thriving young demographic is exerting influence on the type of work environments companies desire for their employees.” 

Mridul Arora, Partner, Elevation Capital, during a panel discussion on ‘Reimagining India’s home service’, said that building the business on trust is not an easy feat, yet makes it look easy. 

That's a wrap for day one, and there’s more in store for the next two days. Stay tuned for all the important updates and highlights of 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 Suman Singh