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SiliconIndia Startupcity 2009

After a long break finally got some time to pendown , I happened to go for SiliconIndia startupcity Event 2009 . It was the biggest and most excited IT event in 2009 with 50 exhibitors, an outstanding range of speakers, 40 investors, 500 entrepreneurs and more than 4000 attendees..

It was specially for those of us , who are thinking of starting a business, or already in business and looking to network .
Rediff and Syntel were the Gold sponsors for the event .

The Event was held at Rangasharda Hotel at Bandra , on 12 September early in the morning at 8:00 am to 5:00 PM . Though I dont wake up so early on Saturdays , but that day I was ready before the sun rise . It started with the registration , had given some time for connections and then a welcome note was given by Harvi Sachar, CEO, siliconindia .

At 9:00 , Venki Nishtala, CTO, Rediff.com [NASDAQ: REDF] gave a Inaugral keynote on the Universal Internet .
Then at 9:30 there was a panel discussion on the topic “Building a Successful Startup”
Speakers were

1. Dheeraj Aggarwal, Co-founder & CEO, Altruist
2. Govind Rammurthy, Founder, CEO & MD, MicroWorld Technologies
3. Arvin Babu, Partner, GreyLock Advisors
4. Bhavin Turakhia, Founder & CEO, Directi

Dheeraj Agarwal shared his failure/sucess stories , He failed twice and this was his third attempt to startup Altruist and finally was successful . Dheeraj was a good speaker and had a nice sense of humour which made people to hear him very carefully . During the initial stage of Altruist when he just passed out his engineering , Dheeraj was concentrating on Altruist , he had some business plans in mind and as all of us , he was also excited to bring up his company , his parents were putting pressure on him as to what is he really doing , their concern was can they justify what their son was doing if they go to search a bride for Dheeraj . They wanted him to do a job instead . In the menatime he got into MBA and the Altruist was failure , But after his second failure attempt , he seriously made up his mind that this time , he need to concentrate totally on the business , and no side-business kind of stuff, and this time he was really successful and today Altruist is India’s leading Digitial & Mobile Entertainment Company.

Altruist got the first song on mobile in the initial period in India , they also started the value added services like regional , devotional contents on mobile phones , they were mainly concentrating on voice data , despite of the fact that text messaging cost cheaper than voice infrastucture .

You may visit the Altruist website at  www.altruistindia.com .

The next two speakers were also particularly impressive . In this Panel , Bhavin Turakhia , was one of the speakers who really pulled  my attention . He was really mad , mad in the sense full of enthusiam and excitement . The way he presented on the stage was very impressive . He was the only speaker in casuals , rest all were very formally dressed . He was holding a BCOM degree , so not really from technical background , but today his ideas made directi to be 300+ million dollar group . His tag line says “Intelligent People” uncommon ideas . He was stressing more on hiring the best . He told about the recruitment procedure in directi . They have 7 rounds of  interview , the candidate is selected only if he impresses all the 7 interviewers . Pretty tough haa .   www.directi.com  is the official website .

Because of time constraint , the question answer session was cancelled .

At around 10:30 , the send panel discussion started . The Panel’s topic was Opportunities in the Internet space for Entreprenuers

The Speakers were :
1.  Satya Prabhakar, Founder & CEO, Sulekha.com
2. Vishal Sharma, Founder & CEO, (!) Zimblee(A Yureekah Company)
3. Faisal I Farooqui, Founder & CEO, Mouthshut.com
4. Himanshu Singh, MD, Travelocity India

All of the Panel members  shared their experiences , up and downs , and success stories . In this Panel I particularly liked Mr. Faisal Farooqi , CEO Mouthshut .

He started with his past experiences , difficulties which he faced in setting up his success .Will like to introduce Faisal breifly in case you dont know him , Faisal  Farooqui attended the State University of New York at Binghamton from where he obtained a BS degree with concentration in Management Information Systems and Finance.

Faisal is often regarded as the man who introduced Web 2.0 concepts in India and a leader in the social media space.

According to the Economic Times, India’s largest business newspaper, Faisal Farooqui pioneered the auto-rickshaw advertising in India when MouthShut.com painted the backs of auto-rickshaws with its logos across Mumbai .

He was telling about the difficulties he faced , but one which was really interesting was , In his past starting phase , inorder to expand his business , He wanted guidance and advice from big already well settled company’s CEO , He didnot name the company but gave a very clear  hint . So Faisal gave him 10-15 calls for the apointment , send mails , voicemails. After so many mails and calls , he finally got an appointment to meet the CEO . The CEO asked Faisal , how big is your company , does you get a billion page views , do you have enough capital ? The anwer was obvious and thats “no” . The CEO then asked him ” Why are we talking then ? Get all this first and then we will talk .” This was very much dissapointing . The guy who said this was one of the Gold Sponsor of the event .

At 11:30 , there was a keynote “My Journey” , by Suresh Elangovan, CEO, Mindlogicx Infotech . This was also very interesting . The way he presented , his style of talking was very interesting . He was a very successful and highly paid consultant , before he started his firm . He cracked a joke saying that , He used to capable of hanging out with 3 girlfreinds and always used to travel by business class and today when he own his company , he have only one wife and he now travels by economy class .

His main focus was to create monopoly in whatever he do , initially faced a lot of difficulties , had to tackle with lot of different kind of people . Since Mindlogix is in online examination , he had to meet a lot of vice chancelors who used to think that this things are like peanuts for their kids and their students can develop anything  that Mr. Suresh used to tell them about . According to Mr.Suresh , every Vice chancellor thinks that , he knows everything and he is the guy who has the responsibility to save the country .

Breifing about Mindlogix , Mindlogicx has specialized in knowledge management and delivery domain and has rolled out many products and services in the virtual learning space to make learning pervasive. Mindlogix developed the world’s first intelligent assessment system. Mindlogicx is a technology company that provides the technology platform in the education segment, more so in the higher education segment.


At around 12:00 pm , there was a CEO conclave . The topic was  Best practices of building technology companies .
The Speakers were:
1. Sharad Sanghi, Founder & CEO, Netmagic Solutions
2. Keshav R Murugesh, President & CEO, Syntel [NASDAQ: SYNT]
3. Ravishankar G, MD & CEO, Geometric Limited [BSE:]
4. Kailash Katkar, CEO, QuickHeal Technologies CEO Conclave 

Among all the CEOs , Kailash Katkars success story was very much appreciable and impressive . 

Kailash Katkar started his AMC business . Initially he used to repair computers for very few customer group in Pune . He was specialised in printer repairs , so any printer faults all over pune was reported to Kailash . He was at the same time used to get the feedback from his customer as to what additional services would they prefer along with AMC . Most of the customers were reporting Virus related problems . Kailash’s brother was doing his MCSE at that time . He was supposed to do the project , so Kailash suggested that he should do project on Viruses . His brother accepted his proposal and developed a small virus removal tool . Kailash started distributing it freely to his customers and they used to like it . At that time buying an antivirus program was adding a lot to the operational cost , so this free program was very popular .

So now Kailash started using his AMC profit in development of antivirus program , he hired more people . Initial only his brother was the developer and he never had to pay him hefty money . Then he started brand building of his product and today QuickHeal is India’s number 1 antivirus company . Isn’t this very impressive . I really liked this person , He has not done any MBA or big Entreprenual courses . He is the living example who proves ” If there is a will , there is a way “.

After the CEO conclave , there was a very special program , the most important infact , as it was already 1:00 pm , and we were all hungry , yes it was time for lunch .

After lunch  there were presentation and live demos from all the exhibitors . My colleagues who joined me , by this time wanted to go back home so we checked out some of the demos and did some hands-on and moved back for our homes .

But the session was really really informative and was a must visit event of 2009 for all IT guys . Thanks to SiliconIndia .

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