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An Era Of Deeper Engagements With Startup Ecosystem

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Entrepreneurship in India is not anymore breaking news. In fact, the startup ecosystem in India has experienced a profound transformation in the past decade. Today, we are in an era of disruptive technologies that are still paving paths to tread upon and are pushing various stakeholders of startup ecosystem to find "new normal". This phenomenon of "new normal" is not only limited to the new business models and innovative solutions that our nations' young chaps are bringing on table but, it is about the overall experience of engagement with innovative solutions. And this is what we call the spirit of entrepreneurship!

India has always been a country where ideas bloom and innovations are conceived. In the past years,these aspiring ideas and visions have been given the financial and infrastructural backing to grow into more than just a notion - tangible solutions to some of the many problems being faced across industries. This incubating ecosystem for innovation gave rise to entrepreneurship as a serious career option for many of the young and creative minds in the country who sought to build upon their own ideas, rather than someone else's. More than any other industry, the IT space in India saw these young leaders rise in numbers.

Nurturing these young entrepreneurs were investor or trade associations and industry bodies which aimed to benefit by growing this ecosystem of entrepreneurship. With numerous such entrepreneur led startups blooming simultaneously, it became difficult for these incubators to cater to all and maintain a balanced ecosystem of growth and opportunity. Industry bodies started hosting conferences and events that gave incubators and entrepreneurs a common ground to interact and enterprise. These events and conferences were widely successful and saw throngs of new start-ups flocking to gain the support and backing of their desired investors. These initiatives were built around the simple idea of getting potent startups a desired amount of face time with interested investors.

The occasions saw innovative events such as pitching sessions for VCs, 'on the spot' funding sessions and also led to a much desired enterprise connect for the start-ups. Startups now had access to industry leaders such as Microsoft and Google, and their inputs on various crucial decisions that needed to be made. Now the bleak reality is most of these blooming startups do not even survive the initial phase of growth, making these initiatives crucial for their growth and survival in the competitive market.

However, the events and set ups have become almost of the same kind - using the same speakers, same themes and more often than not same venues. Does it really have a value add in the lives of the new, aspiring or budding start-ups? Are these events matching the spirit of entrepreneurship prevailing in the ecosystem? Perhaps not!

In line with this, Industry leaders like NASSCOM and TiECONare further adding upon these innovative activities creating more innovative platforms and specialized sessions to give startups a better chance at survival and gaining an investor's or mentor'sfavour. And, these initiatives are further being tweaked with the intention to create a less formal atmosphere for both investors and entrepreneurs to interact openly. More often held 'Informal CXO meets', 'casual connect meets', 'Hackathons' and many other formats are gaining importance all over the country and these informal formats are successfully solving serious startup problems such as:

Mentorship - one of the major challenges for startups! It is now very usual to come across young entrepreneurs as much as 20 years old, who are full of passion and ideas. However, we often hear them feeling 'directionless'.

The curious case of finding a co-founder- Often an entrepreneur has a good business idea but many times he or she is on a look out for the 'right' co-founder with certain skill that can be leveraged to build the product/ service, OR vice-versa.

More pitching time with investors-The ideas today are unique and sometimes 2 minutes, which is the usual pitching time for a startup, is not enough.

With focus on challenges mentioned among few more, the leading industry players including upcoming TiECON Delhi 2014, have weavedinnovative sessions and platforms that are informal in nature, more focused on solving the problem and finally celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit.

Navyug Mohnot, Co-Chair, TiECON Delhi