By Sanhati Banerjee
The Indian startup ecosystem has witnessed some aggressive venture capital (VC) funding this year. Between January and September 2021, approximately $23 billion was raised in funding. India has already produced 33 unicorns this year. As the Indian startup-tech ecosystem is rebuilding, revolutionising and reimagining the economy through innovation, it is time to examine the relationship between potential disruptors and enablers.
TechSparks, which will return for its 13th edition in an all-virtual avatar from October 25-30, 2021, will tap into the entrepreneurial spirit and look at the way forward for India’s next generation of entrepreneurs. And towards this, a stellar lineup of investors and VC firms will share their unique perspectives and industry knowledge – only at India’s most influential startup-tech summit.
We’ve put together a list of VC talks to look forward to during the course of the six-day event — as these thought leaders expound on this year’s theme -“What’s Next: Rethinking the Future”.
As TechSparks kicks off on October 25, first up is an enlightening session with Indian businessman Sanjeev Bikchandani, who will join YourStory Founder & CEO Shradha Sharma for a Fireside Chat. Catch the Co-founder of InfoEdge share rare gems in the form of key learnings and the vision for the future, as he talks about “Decoding InfoEdge’s internet business gambit and role as enabler”.
There is also an investor panel session “From the investor’s lens: Seizing the India opportunity” to look forward to, where you can listen to Amit A Patel, Managing Director, Owl Ventures and Rahul Chowdhri, General Partner, Stellaris Venture Partners. Owl Ventures is a global leader in education technology investing, while a network of more than 65+ entrepreneurs at Stellaris contribute a significant portion of their fund corpus to work with the investor relations firm in identifying and eventually mentoring promising investments.
Varsha Tagare, Managing Director, Qualcomm Ventures also joins us on Day 1 to speak about how disruptive homegrown tech solutions are potentially the answer to creating global impact. Varsha, who oversees a $150 million fund dedicated to investing in Indian startups and cross-border digital enterprises, is a significant player in the Indian VC ecosystem.
On the second day, we have two power-packed Fireside Chats lined up for you. Catch Hans Tung, Managing Partner, GGV Capital, demystifying “India: The next billion opportunity” and Ryan Hoover, Product Hunt and Investor, Weekend Fund, decode the “Journey from entrepreneur to investor: A no-holds-barred chat with Ryan Hoover”. Listen in as both industry pioneers talk about balancing the two ends of the VC spectrum — seeing India through the investor’s eye and an entrepreneur eyeing to be an investor. A global venture capital firm, GGV Capital invests in seed-to-growth stage investments across consumer/new retail, social/internet, enterprise/cloud and smart tech sectors. Weekend Fund helps founders with product, community building, and GTM strategy and invests in early-stage startups around the world across consumer and B2B.
If you are a SaaS stakeholder, or want a tutorial on mining the burgeoning SaaS startup space, then look no further than the panel discussion on “Cracking the $1 Tn Indian SaaS Opportunity: Identifying the trends ahead”. Our stellar panel includes Harshjit Sethi, Managing Director, Sequoia Capital; Jishnu B, Managing Director, Nexus Venture Partners; and Pranay Desai, Vice President, Matrix Partners India.
If you are looking for some inspiration, or a springboard to further pursue your own learning, get prepared to enjoy a masterclass on the second day of TechSparks 2021 with Sanjay Mehta, Founder and Partner of 100X.VC, as he conducts a session on “What investors want”. 100X.VC invests in early-stage startups using India SAFE Notes and after investing in a startup, 100X.VC becomes a coach, strategy consultant, business mentor, and trusted advisor.
Moving on to Day 3, a panel discussion on charting the new frontier in Indian healthtech will see the participation of Swapna Gupta, Director, Qualcomm Ventures; Dr Ramesh Byrapaneni, Partner, Endiya Partners; Anup Jain, Managing Partner, Orios Venture Partners. Endiya is an early-stage VC firm that invests in impactful, IP-led Indian product startups and category-defining companies across digital transformation and healthcare sectors. Orios Venture Partners invests in startups in business-to-consumer or B2C, business-to-business or B2B and software spaces and looks at business models that have the potential to disrupt traditional frameworks. Healthtech is a burgeoning sector that has been fuelled by technology and a consumer base willing to adopt healthcare solutions that are smart, intuitive and caring.
Another powerful session to look forward to on Day 3 is the Diversity Agenda panel to listen to Varun Khaitan, Co-founder, Urban Company; Anjali Sosale, Partner, WaterBridge Ventures; Prukalpa Sankar, Partner and Co-founder, Atlan, as they speak on empowering women-led startups through targeted mentorships and more. WaterBridge Ventures looks at funding early-stage startups.
On the same day, joining in the Diversity Agenda in a separate chat will be Apurva Purohit, Founder, Aazol Ventures as she speaks on “Lady, you’re not a man, you’re the boss!”, a theme built on the amalgamation of Apurva’s two books. Apurva has over three decades of experience in the corporate world, where she has formed significant partnerships with private equity firms and promoters to build and scale up diverse businesses. Her experiences traverse early-stage fledgling businesses, to setting up new ventures and supervising turnarounds in mature and declining organisations.
Moving on to Day 4, there’s a panel discussion on the future of revenue-based financing in India, led by a fantastic panel that includes Ishpreet Singh Gandhi, Founder and Managing Partner, Stride Ventures and Rahul Chowdhury, Founding Managing Partner, N+1 Capital. While Stride Ventures offers cutting-edge credit solutions to novel businesses in India, the company shapes the lifespan of its portfolio companies through deep penetration in the banking and venture ecosystem. N+1 Capital is a sector-agnostic fund, which invests in companies that have an annual revenue of INR 10 Cr+ in the last financial year.
Taking the cause of Aatmanirbhar Bharat forward on Day 5 will be 100X.VC’s Sanjay Mehta, Rohit Manglik, the Founder and CEO of bilingual online education marketplace EduGorilla, and Anuradha Ramachandran, Investment Director of venture firm Flourish Venture, a VC firm that boosts the financial health of individual and small businesses. Our panelists will discuss “Building and investing in India: Making the case for Aatmanirbhar innovations”, where you can discover the future of disruption with ‘Made-in-India’ startups.
All this and more, only at TechSparks 2021. Get empowered as you discover what’s driving the turbocharged Indian entrepreneurial space.