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ReachIvy were the higher education partners at IIT’s 2016 E-summit for the third time running and the conference seems to get bigger and bigger with each passing year! There was a palpable energy on campus as engineering textbooks and traditional classrooms were left to gather dust as students, entrepreneurs and investors attended IIT’s e-summit in droves with the promise of exchanging the most fresh and innovative ideas. The event truly was the ‘global mélange’ it professed to be, with an eclectic mix of startup booths, speaker events and workshops. One of the most popular events was the ‘10-minute million’, which saw several IIT and non-IIT entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a group of investors who critiqued the company and subsequently decided whether to invest in the company or not. In a difficult environment, similar to that of abc’s ‘Shark Tank’, 4 out of 8 participants prevailed, with the most compelling and successful company, a sound solutions startup raising 70 lakhs. The speaker sessions and workshops were run by esteemed entrepreneurs such as Harsh Mariwala of Marico, Ashish Hemrajani of Bookmyshow.com and Jim Beach of Startup School, who in particular commanded the attention of the crowd. The keynote speeches were also very popular with people both standing and sitting shoulder-to-shoulder to listen to the musings of Sachin Bansal of Flipkart and Rahul Yadav, previously of Housing.com.
When either Sachin or Rahul spoke, the crowd would cheer with wild abandon. The overall theme of their discussion was entrepreneurship, with both Rahul and Sachin going back and forth between general musings, their mottos for success, the companies they have been involved in and how to make the most of the nascent opportunities in India. Regarding the latter, Sachin himself expressed the importance of looking for India’s ‘biggest problem areas’ and optimally harnessing existing technology to solve problems. In his own words, “the entrepreneur must go after solving big challenges of our time with a very high-quality understanding of their space”. Rahul took this one step further, discussing the importance of market research, his constantly evolving business plan for Housing.com and his new data analytics startup, confirming that in the startup world, ‘change is the only constant’
In an uncertain world, where change is the only constant, flexibility, knowledge and a thorough understanding of the risks, costs and benefits our actions is of critical importance, particularly in India where decisions both small and large can have the largest impact. The aforementioned skills are not easy to attain and while they can be attained by failure or success (only one out of 10 startups succeed), students and entrepreneurs are willing to go to lengths to understand this early, weighing the costs and benefits of studying further and starting up later versus starting up immediately after college. It is for this reason that Vibha Kagzi’s (Founder, ReachIvy) MBA event was a packed house, with students from IIT and other colleges such as Jai Hind and H.R. attending. The key theme of discussion was does “MBA=Entreprenuer?”, with students searching for clear answers. While this author agrees that there are none, as with other presentations, this discussion provided food for thought and sparked the interest of many minds.
The wide range of companies, people, personalities, products, ideas and investors on offer were enough to excite this author to return next year. IIT Bombay’s e-summit is highly recommended for budding entrepreneurs, students and corporates with a seeking mindset, as the vast quantities of knowledge on offer are simply unparalleled!
This post is written by Manas Bajaj, Chief Strategy Officer, ReachIvy .
Having studied in the USA and worked as an Investment Banking Analyst in Hong Kong, Manas brings his global perspective, hunger, strategy and business expertise to ReachIvy and is eager to help the company grow and scale new heights.
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