An action-packed day 1 at TechSparks 2023 Delhi

It was an exciting first day at TechSparks Delhi joined by union ministers Jyotiradtiya Scindia and Rajeev Chandrasekhar, along with Vikram Pagaria, Mukesh Bansal, Mukul Arora, Amrendra Singh, William Nanda Bissell, and more.

An action-packed day 1 at TechSparks 2023 Delhi

Wednesday November 29, 2023,

5 min Read

'Yeh shehar nahi mehfil hai’ (This city is not just a city, it's a gathering)— The Delhi startup ecosystem never fails to impress. 

Travelling 2,000-odd kilometres from Namma Bengaluru, the opening day of India’s biggest startup tech fest—TechSparks 2023—witnessed an extraordinary confluence of brilliant minds drawn from startups, corporates, government, and the investor community. 

Commitment, executive, granularity, and honesty—Jyotiradtiya Scindia, Union Minister for Civil Aviation and Steel, set the tone right for founders building across sectors, passing on the wisdom shared by his father in building successful projects. 

In a fireside chat with YourStory's Founder and CEO Shradha Sharma, the minister shared anecdotes from his early days, giving advice for founders, while also touching upon the paradigm shift brought about by drones and advanced air mobility. 

"The sky is the limit for Indian manufacturers in the space tech and aviation sector,” he said, adding that policy updates and impetus given to technology providers and MSMEs in the sector, over the last few years, will position India ahead of its global peers. 

The cheer for the startup ecosystem did not stop as Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, put the spotlight on India’s growing AI sector, terming it the most important invention in recent times with startups building real-life use cases of agriculture, healthcare, governance, language translation and so on. 

He said the ministry is developing a framework to allow companies, with consent, to use anonymised personal data, besides creating a framework where Indian startups and the Indian AI research and innovation ecosystem will have preferential access, curated access to this huge data sets programme.

Vikram Pagaria, Joint Director, National Health Authority shared that the authority and Insurance Regulatory Development Authority are working towards streamlining health claim processing.

"NHA is set to launch a National Health Claims Exchange—partnering with insurers and hospitals. Simplifying the process: means that hospital records will go directly to insurers with a click, cutting costs," he shared.

Customer before valuation: Investors advise 

Mukul Arora, Co-Managing Partner at Elevation Capital busted some myths, advising founders to place customers before chasing valuations. 

"The end outcome is whether your customers like (your product) or not. If that (customer liking) is happening, long-term valuation will happen,” said Arora, advising startups raising funds in the current challenging environment.

Prashanth Aluru, Co-founder and CEO, TMRW added to this in another fireside chat, saying, “As an ecosystem, we obsess a lot about capital. Now, of course, some brands have found a way to grow and hack their way to building brands in a more capital-efficient way. But so many brands have not managed that.” 

Addressing questions from the audience during an AMA session, entrepreneur, author, and content creator, Ankur Warikoo dismissed the notion that the fear of missing out (FOMO) is a valid reason to venture into entrepreneurship.

Prominent investors, including D2C trailblazers such as Shreyans Gangwal, Principal at Fireside Ventures; Rajit Uboweja, Principal at Stride Ventures; and Zoeb Ali Khan, Senior Associate at Sauce.vc provided a detailed guide for D2C founders on navigating equity discussions with VCs.

Fintech and D2C high 

Fintech leaders across payments, escrow management, lending and insurance spoke on themes such as working with regulators, co-creating financial products, strategy for rural finance, UPI opportunity, and tackling frauds. 

The panels and firesides were joined by the likes of Castler, Neokred, PhonePe, BharatPe, NuvamaAsset Management, and DBS Bank , among many others. 

Meanwhile, the corridors continued to bustle with founders, investors, experts and learners sharing interesting conversations and networking. 

We also had some in-store fun sessions with household D2C brands and agritech startups. 

“The ecosystem has to change. The perception has to change. The next generation of farmers has to come to this space. We have to make farming easy by making the practice more mechanised and digitised,” said Amrendra Singh, Co-founder and Director, DeHaat.

 

Meanwhile, CEOs of the two most successful startups in their respective segments, Agnishwar Jayaprakash from Garuda Aerospace and Sabyasachi Goswami of Perfios, inspired many with the success stories of their ventures while sharing critical details of their IPO preparation.

"In terms of being market-agnostic, Perfios has followed the “made in India for the world philosophy from day one. Whichever product we create, we first see whether it's applicable to other markets and is repeatable in nature,” said Goswami.

TechSparks 2023 Delhi ended with a bang with superstars—Mukesh Bansal, Co-founder and CEO, Cult.fit and William Nanda Bissell, Chairman and MD, Fabindia—together spilled the beans about their retail journeys, and what changed today for founders building in the space. 

“While the pie is growing, and the retail market is shifting from unorganised to organised, I think there is a tremendous scope for brands to grow,” said Bansal, while advising founders to evolve with time. "Maybe 20 years ago no one cared about consuming organic stuff and being environmentally friendly, but today they do,” he added. 

William ends the session by saying, “To really build enough for India to be a global superpower and create an opportunity for 1.4 billion people will require product work and figuring out how the value proposition reaches a much larger population. Otherwise, a lot of people will be left behind.”  

(A huge shout-out to our gifting partners: Sleepy OwlTrue Elements, Amrutam, Ancient Roots, Chiran Tea, Conscious ChemistTalentplace.aiBySakNestle, and TESU. We thank them for helping us make TechSparks Delhi truly memorable for the attendees.)


Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti

Montage of TechSparks Mumbai Sponsors