For the first time, I took myself seriously and attended the SiliconIndia Startup City event at the Nimhans Convention Center in Bangalore today. The morning sessions turned out to be very interesting. Sanjeev Bikhchandani, Founder CEO of Naukri.com, spoke about how he happened on the idea of a job site and what kept him going. His advice to the startups, which he called "Wisdom in Hindsight", were very clear: Know your customers, Solve an unsolved problem, be an early mover, be frugal with your cost, don't get into a business just for making money, and finally and most importantly Persistence.
When Ajit Balakrishnan, co-founder and CEO of Rediff.com, walked in on the stage, the crowd was visibly excited. Rediff, after all, is our very own home-grown portal standing shoulder to shoulder with the big guys (as is naukri of course). Rediff, as you all may know is an offshoot of the main business Rediffusion which is a media company. It was apparently started out by Ajit just to see what the Internet can accomplish but later become an integral part of his business. Today, Rediff.com is headed towards mobile and is continously thinking of innovative ways to keep up with technology and customer needs. While Ajit told the crowd about this exciting journey and responsibility of being an Indian portal, his advice to the startups was only one: periodic re-invention.
The rest of the three morning sessions were presentation by the event sponsors - Amazon on their Web Services, Sun on their Startup Essentials, and Nokia on its ForumNokia. All of them highlighted how they can help the startup community (Amazon with their cost-effective cloud solutions, Sun with their support for open source products, and Nokia through opening their OVI for mobile developers).
The event ended with a keynote session by Sanjay Nayak of Tejas Networks. Sanjay turned out to be best and most inspiring speaker of the day. He shared his thoughts about the opportunities in the Indian ecospace, especially for a product company.
The afternoon sessions were parallel tracks of presentations by startups to VCs. I did not stay back for these though the line up of startups in each of the tracks were pretty interesting. Maybe next year, I will be presenting like one of them. Ha, ha, ha. Let's see.
Overall, not a bad investment in time. I wish I had attended the previous event organized by SiliconIndia on Women entrepreneurs. Seeing how nice this one turned out, I'm sure that one would have been nice too.