sourceaditya: TIE Summit 09 - My perspective

Thursday, December 24, 2009

TIE Summit 09 - My perspective

TIE - The Indus Entrepreneurs is a not for profit association of a very driven kind. It is the largest association of experienced, mature, early and wannabe entrepreneurs in the entire world. Indus standing for India and US since the organization has its roots in the Silicon Valley and was initially formed to network this group with the budding talent in India. So here we were the 2 co-founders of Plus91 on our way to their yearly summit. It was promised to be star studded and educational event. Some insights on what I saw, learned and formed opinions about.

The first session I sat through was tete-a-tete with Ratan Tata and Narayan Murthy, the two most respected names in the Indian Business fraternity. The one question which I was interested in hearing them answer was what a young individual asked, "What is that one success mantra that any entrepreneur should look for or follow or believe in". Their answer was quick, and I think may be to most people there surprising. The both said quite unanimously "Luck". The conditions attached off course were, one should be hardworking, prepared, courageous and all the other virtues of Ram, so that when luck shines your way you do not miss it. But finally it comes down to one word - Luck. Relating this to my own experiences I would say that certain influential factors in my business to have happened because of luck, backed by being good able people, but nonetheless the spotlight shining our way was lucky. May be somewhere it is circle, now come to think of it. You start of a chain reaction which has included some luck along the way which diverts the whole thing right back to you. I think our finding a willing investor, who not only brings money but a vast experience in our field was lucky - (was through an advert for a product in a small publication in a very exclusive newsletter for doctors).

Another interesting session was with Kanwal Reikhi. This man is a demi-god when it comes to entrepreneurship and investment in tech start-ups. It was a simple question and answer session where he acted like an agony aunt to budding entrepreneurs. The best part of the interaction was his very matter of fact and straight forward answers to the questions.

Learning’s -
a. Services are always more scalable.
b. To go abroad appoint channel partners in those locations to build value.
c Focus on one business, do not lose this focus at least for the investor's satisfaction.
d Build a focused and strong team, even if your plan isn't fully polished yet. Build a team of people who know what they are getting into and are ready to focus on it.

There was a special session on Healthcare, though I think it was as irrelevant to Healthcare IT as it could get. Also the main attraction Malvinder Singh of Religare failed to turn up due to weather playing god in Delhi. The interesting part was the companies that did present were unique and interesting. Shramik Saraplasts who are into portable bathrooms was quite a revelation and definitely a company to watch out for.

The other session which did interest us a lot was of Mr. Nilekani. His topic is the rage these days, the UID. The UID project is definitely something which each Indian should look forward to. The uses of the system described by him are numerous and what interested us the most was open API that they are likely to provide developers to use its resources. So how does this help us? Our medical software and online applications can now identify you biometrically or using the UID from an authorized government. No more duplication and no additional work for us, as we use a trusted source to interconnect are records got from various medical entities for the same patient. Already our software has the capability to take this single unified number to tie it to the master record of a given patient. What’s in it for the lay public, imagine not having to run around to prove to various companies about who you are with Xeroxes and certified copies and what not. All you need is the UID and your thumb or your eye! And you could be anywhere in India.

Apart from the above lecture there were many interesting stalls, some innovative products. There were two other healthcare IT companies. The CTO of one of the companies is a friend and was interesting interacting with him. I think the Indian Healthcare IT circuit is still nascent and it needs a mass movement with companies interacting and educating the market together. There are numerous synergies we see with companies like the one above who are into PHR management or with PEAS which is into Patient Education in providing a better value proposition for the complete digital side of their practice for healthcare professionals. It was also interesting to see few doctors in the midst. Some there to promote other activities, most there to promote their newly constructed hospitals or getting into the business of starting a hospital.

What was disappointing about the TIE summit? The genuine lack of financial entities present, by financial entities I would mean VCs, Angel investors, Banks and other entities who would be looking for talented companies to invest in. There was a genuine shortage in quantity and the TIE's effort in promoting the ones that were there. The second thing that was a little irritating was that a large number of the high profile sessions were more about the particular company in the sector or what the sector is about. I think focus should be more on the How and the Why, which was lacking, some where I thought this seems more like a MBA session on values and business case studies rather than a value add to people who have already passed that stage.

Overall I will give the conference a 3 on 5. Next time I either hope to be on the panel or featured in the sessions. The aim is decided and time to get working on it.

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