As Bangalore attempts to justify its ‘Silicon Valley of India’ tag, there is a flurry of startup events held in the city. As founders, it becomes extremely hard to choose between them and more importantly, make time for them. However, when we read about ‘SAP Startup social’ we knew it’d be a class act. While it would have been a great platform for us - the founders- to go and indulge in our usual elevator pitches and business card hunts, we thought this would be a great chance for us to walk the talk. We often tell our interns that we truly consider them to be a part of the core team and that we trust them immensely. We felt that requesting a couple of them to represent Eventosaur at SAP startup social would be a great chance for them learn a thing or two. Below is a recap of the event in the words of Karan.
The event was kicked off by showcasing SAP Startup Studio, which is a grandiose setup for a coworking space. Mr Dilipkumar Khandelwal who’s the Managing Director of SAP Labs India, spoke a few words about how SAP Startup Studio is different from other accelerator programs, as it just doesn’t give the startup a space to work but also provides access to their own customers- which is something new.
The first panel discussion was about "How Corporates and Startups are working together".
Shradha Sharma, founder of YourStory gave a ray of hope to everyone present in the audience by recalling one of her anecdotes, "Indu lan hai" (India is land of blue ocean) says the Chinese to her during her China trip.
This discussion interested all the people who are working on B2B startups, especially those who wanted to know how to partner with large dinosaurs. As the discussion progressed, the key point which was being highlighted was that just like startups need enterprises as their customers, the enterprises too are interested in allowing the lean, agile startups to solve their problems, improve their efficiency and maximize productivity. The discussion focussed on how new B2B startups can scale and turn large giants into their customers. The common advice from all panelists was to first establish their worth in SMEs and then only plan to scale and aim for large corporates.
Followed by this discussion was a short tea break which essentially amounts to exchanging business cards at a startup event. "Networking" happened, and so the audience geared up for an exciting discussion by K Vaitheeswaran who’s the first e-commerce founder in India.
He prepared a short crisp 10-pointer presentation which had some crucial mantras that every startup must follow. He talked about how ideas are overrated and that startup should not loiter around searching for an idea, but instead search for a problem which is large enough and work on the solution. He took a dig at startups indulging in unnecessary expenditure which is of no value to the customer and just wasting VC’s money by doing that. He pointed out the need to hire smarter people as they are the detrimental factor of any startup’s success and that this is one crucial point every founder should act on. He also ridiculed the ‘fail fast’ funda and reminded us the importance of perseverance in this age of "unicorn evangelist" driven startups. He shared a great formula for evaluating a business plan with us. The formula is 2x2x2, where you divide your gross earnings by 2, divide profits by 2 and multiply your expenditures by 2. One of the things in his talk which amused everyone in the audience was, “Are you brave AND stupid”? He joked about how important is it to be fundamentally stupid in order to be a successful entrepreneur as you have to be brave and stupid to leave the comfort of your 9-5 cushy job.
The next panel discussion was about how to give wings to your idea and build a successful venture out of it. It included panelists like Nikhil Kumar, Vikas Malpani, Yogendra Vasupal, and Vidyashankar MN who’ve not only built successful businesses themselves but also helped several founders with their ventures-
The discussion was more audience-oriented and interactive - budding entrepreneurs asked questions about their journeys and how to go about making a successful venture. The panelist shared their stories in the most humble ways and patiently answered every question. They also mentioned the fact that back in the day they had to spend 70% of their time dealing with bureaucratic hurdles, while today’s entrepreneurs have it quite easy on that front. One key takeaway from the panel discussion was how important it is to always keep innovating or else your business can be disrupted by a more innovative player than you in future.
After a couple more talks, it was the time for VC Pitch-in sessions and 7 VCs were present to evaluate the pitches. While we loved the way founders proudly presented their companies, we were also reminded of the sessions Nikhil conducts for us back in office. The fact that we get to watch Eventosaur grow and learn from the founders up, close and personal means that we know how to pitch even if woken up in the middle of the night. After a series of pitches, it was time for a break. Right after a feedback session, there was a live rock music performance by Laghori followed by beer and barbeques.
Thus, a day with great food, lots of networking and key lessons to be learnt came to an end. Surabhi and I are super grateful to have gotten a chance to take a break from our usual routine. We hope you got a sense of what the event was like from this blog post.