In The News
02 Apr 2014

25 startups set to visit Silicon Valley

In a big initiative to showcase Indian technology entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley, IT industry body Nasscom is taking a group of 25 innovative startups to California for a week-long trip next month.

BANGALORE: In an initiative to showcase Indian technology entrepreneurship in the Silicon Valley, IT industry body Nasscom is taking a group of 25 innovative startups to California for a week-long trip next month.

The group will attend two major startup conferences - Collision in Las Vegas and TiEcon in Santa Clara - which will give them an opportunity to listen to, and interact with, a host of technology entrepreneurs and investors in the US. They will visit Stanford University, where they will meet faculty members, and the campuses of Google, Intel and Walmart Labs. They will also interact with the Indian diaspora.

Ravi Gururaj, head of the Nasscom Product Council, who has been working on putting this initiative together for the past several months, said it has two big objectives. "One is to make people in the US aware that India is an emerging hotbed of technology entrepreneurship, that we are doing some really disruptive innovation. The other is to give our startup founders a truly immersive experience, connect them to startup founders there, connect them to corporates, VCs and the Indian diaspora. This will help them to benchmark themselves against global startups and build relationships," he said.

The initiative, called Nasscom Innotrek 2014 (, is scheduled from May 11 to 18. Nasscom is subsidizing the trip for each startup founder to the extent of about $1,000. It used several of its "best startup" shortlists of recent times to make offers for the trip.

"We were particularly focused on startups that have a potential global play, not those focused on the India market. We needed articulate founders; we focused on ensuring diversity in the kind of work they do," Gururaj said.

The startups include experienced, late-stage ones like Manav Garg's Bangalore-based Eka Software, which has software products for commodities trading that some of the biggest companies in the world use.

The group also includes upcoming startups like Rohith Bhat's Udupi-based Global Delight, which makes apps for Apple devices; Ashwin Ramasamy's Chennai-based Contract IQ, a showcase of the works of mobile solution providers so that people who need them can quickly access them; Aditya Bandi and Niketh Sabbineni's Bangalore-based Bookpad, which enables cloud-based document embedding in any web or mobile application without downloading plugins or desktop software; and Abhishek Chatterjee's Kolkata-based Tookitaki, a social audience discovery platform that helps enterprises reach out to their target audience.

"What Indian product startups need is scale," said Eka's Garg. "We need to learn how to put together the right team to build scale, how to do sales and marketing, product management. We can learn all this from entrepreneurs who have done it in the US."

Bookpad's Sabbineni said the event would be a great platform to engage with fellow entrepreneurs and explore the possibilities of customizing the product to other geographies. "We can hugely benefit from interacting with Dropbox and Google," he said. Global Delight's Bhat said the Silicon Valley trek gives them an opportunity to explore options of funding and taking the next step in the growth phase.

Gururaj said if the initiative pays off as anticipated, Nasscom would make it an annual event, and also organize similar trips to Europe and parts of Asia. "We may look at a much bigger trip to Singapore later this year. Costs would be significantly lower for Singapore."

The Indian startup ecosystem is beginning to see an increasing number of such global interactions. Indian software product association iSpirt has had two rounds of events in Silicon Valley where it showcased some Indian startups to top acquirers there. The Karnataka government has been planning a trip for Bangalore-based startups in association with the Indian diaspora in the Valley.

Source: TOI