Ravi Narayan, Director of Microsoft Ventures blogs about the TiE Summit
Why corporate/industry partnership is crucial to build a strong ecosystem for startups in India
More and more Indian entrepreneurs are starting up every year with the dream to become the next billion dollar company, and we, at Microsoft Ventures, are here to help facilitate them, with our multi-pronged approach of supporting startups at every stage of their journey. Microsoft Ventures, has been in India for over a year now, headquartered in Bangalore. Over the last year, Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in India has graduated 35 companies, spread over three batches. Our success rate has been great overall, in terms of graduates receiving funding, access to customers, market traction and business plan development. We are now busy shortlisting companies that would make it to our fourth batch, scheduled to start in January 2014.
Besides nurturing startups through our own extremely robust and multi-pronged approach, we also collaborate with various industry bodies to promote entrepreneurship in India. India’s startup ecosystem is vast, with 1,200-1,300 product technology entities coming up every year, and it has huge potential. If we really want India to become the next Silicon Valley, it’s important to partner with industry bodies like TiE, NASSCOM, etc, which have a common goal, to be able to expand our reach and touch every startup and startup aspirant in the country. We have done similar engagements in the recent past, with NASSCOM, Mumbai Angels, etc and had significant reach and learnings.
I am super excited about the forthcoming partnership with TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) for a set of activities powering the TiE Summit (TES), scheduled to be held in Hyderabad in December. TiE Summit, Asia’s largest and premier annual conference for the entrepreneurial ecosystem, is being organized by TiE Hyderabad for the first time. Statistics show that the startup ecosystem of Hyderabad has been fast growing over the last few years—if I were to just go by TIE Hyderabad figures two years back they had only 200 associate members, the number today stands at 750. The chapter has mentored 800 companies in 2012, and have currently more than 1400 startups associated with them. With this kind of growth, it was clearly important for them to organize a global standard event which would bring together successful entrepreneurs, investors, government officials and eminent leaders on a common platform. I am happy they have succeeded in doing that.
We have a lot of exciting plans, starting with a ‘Hack Day’ on December 14, 2013 and following up with various other initiatives during Dec 18-20:
- ‘Hack Day’ on Saturday, December 14, at our Microsoft campus in GachiBowli, Hyderabad – all TES attendees will get a chance to delve into the world of mobile app development using Azure and Azure mobile services. Hackers get to learn about the APIs and build fantastic mobile applications. Teams with the winning hacks stand to win a TES pod and a TES speaking slot.
- ‘TES Connect’ – a three-day event where around 200+ entrepreneurs will get the opportunity to spend 15 minutes each with industry leaders, investors and mentors in their preferred areas. This is pre-registered event.
- ‘TES BizQuest’ – on December 18, 10 startups will be given the opportunity to pitch to Microsoft Ventures leadership for entry into the Accelerator program. Microsoft Ventures will conduct a workshop on how to make a winning pitch to an accelerator. Microsoft Ventures selected two startups for its January 2014 batch from a similar workshop at the NASSCOM Product Conclave in October 2013.
- Startup Showcase – 5 Microsoft Ventures’ startups will showcase their companies at the event, including i7 Networks, NowFloats, ShieldSquare and TommyJams.
- On December 19, Rahul Sood, Partner & General Manager, Microsoft Ventures, will deliver a keynote on ‘Scale and Growth.’ Next day, Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, Microsoft India, will deliver a plenary session on ‘Opportunities in the SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud Services) space’. Other Microsoft Ventures leaders in India will participate in various talks and panels.
I am very excited to be part of TiE Summit (TES), and strongly believe that every startup and startup aspirant should be associated with this event. It would benefit the attendees in several ways—connections, learnings, access to technology and mentors being just some of them. So if you haven’t registered yet, please do so, right away!
Ravi Narayan, Director, Microsoft Ventures