The role of mentors is most crucial in the first 12 months of a startup as a company goes through maximum experiments during this period, and makes numerous changes in its business model.
13th December,2016: Yesterday morning, I received a call from an early-stage entrepreneur who wanted to know my views on whether he should be attending the two-day TiE Global Summit 2016 or not at the Taj Palace, New Delhi on the 16th &17th December, 2016. While my instant reply to him was ,“Yes, of course you should!”, I myself was left with some food for thought that what and how could he possibly gain from an event like TiE.
Is TiE just another startup event or does it have something exclusive to offer you? You can find objective details about the event here . Started in the year 1992 in Silicon Valley by a group of successful entrepreneurs, TiE has completed 25 years of fostering entrepreneurship across the world.
Here is a look at what one could expect from the Summit and a few tips on how you can benefit the most from it as a startup:
What’s new? The ‘Global’ angle
Last week, Indian startups Ola and Flipkart urged the government to design policies which could favour homegrown companies and help them battle with foreign players, such as Amazon and Uber. This had aroused much debate on the Indian vs global startups in the media. The TIE event this year might give a chance to startups to better understand the battle between homegrown and global, and how the two can work together to build global brands. What is there to learn from global business models?
Vijay Menon, Executive Director, TiE Global Summit, says that this is the first time 400 plus global charter members of TiE will be attending an event.
“The theme of the entire event is how Indian businesses can go global. We have speakers like Travis Cordell Kalanick, Co-Founder, Uber and Sanjay Mehrotra, Co-Founder, Scandisk who will talk about how they took their companies global.”
Menon says that Indian startups must think of building global companies with word class standards. There is also a talk and Q n A session by Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Ayog; the man behind “Make in India” who will answer specific queries from the startup world. Menon claims this event will focus on promoting collaboration between Indian startups and successful startups in the US, Europe and Asia especially China and sharing best practices from these markets.
Networking with a purpose
If you are planning to go just for “networking”, it might be a waste of time. The event is huge and 2-3 minutes talk with a few people will not leave you with many takeaways.
“One must ask himself/herself what is his/her objective to attend the TiE event? Are you looking for a vendor, investor, funder, co-founder or maybe you are just going to learn from similar businesses? Having a clear objective about networking always helps,”
says Priyank Narayan, Director, Centre for Entrepreneurship at Ashoka University. So, pen down what you are looking for, from networking before you enter the event, which is expected to have a crowd of more than 3000 entrepreneurs.
Leverage best practices in Technology
It is no secret that the VC industry thrives on technology. Technology is gradually becoming a horizontal in startups rather than a vertical. Ajay Chaturvedi, Entrepreneur (Founder, HarVa BPO ) and an author says, “An entrepreneur who is just starting up, must go for an event like TiE to leverage the best practices and applicability of technology. It would be a good idea to do enough homework on the industry/sector she or he is operating in and then go with specific questions on why & how technology can boost her/his business. If one is going with the motive of understanding more about their particular industry or sector, then I am afraid they might be disappointed. Similarly, going there to explore innovations in Technology is futile as well. There is no fundamental research going on in Technology in India. It’s largely commoditized end products and services that can be used for bettering the existing models.”
Pick and choose carefully
The event has many enticing session options like Light Speed Network, exclusive Meeting with Charter Members, Investor Lounge and other simultaneous panel discussions. More details here . Be careful in what you choose to attend and what you would want to pay the extra fee for. Make a list of what sessions could help and shortlist them rather than attending all of them. Bits and pieces of all sessions will not leave you with a 360 degree view of anything. List down the challenges you are facing in your organization and then pick the sessions. Most entrepreneurs who attend TiE, also fix meetings before hand and it results in better outcomes.
One intangible takeaway that I feel all entrepreneurs have from events like TiE is the contagious enthusiasm that drives entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs from all walks of live join together and inspire each other. Last and most important, don’t forget to follow up with any new person that you meet at the event!
Collect cards wisely, follow up vigorously and build relationships effectively.