i5 Summit, Central India’s largest entrepreneurship summit organised by IIM Indore and IIT Indore was held on August 19-20, 2017. The Summit began with a keynote address by Mr. Venktesh Shukla, ex-chairman of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), and currently General Partner at Monta Vista Capital and President of Foundation for Excellence. He talked about entrepreneurship as the way forward in India and discussed the opportunities available to entrepreneurs—such as government support and availability of capital, and stressed on finding the one thing that the company is best at, which people will pay for. He concluded his talk advising the entrepreneurs to ‘know your customer’ by interacting with them, understanding their problems, finding out their willingness to pay for its solution and then solving their problems through the products or services on offer.
The Summit began with Social Entrepreneur, the flagship event which witnessed social start-ups attempting to bring about a positive change in the society presenting their pitches to Mr. Anand Govindalluri, Founder of Govind Capital, and Professor Subin Sudhir, Faculty, IIM Indore. The event had various startups like Food Bank ATM (Any Time Meal), an innovative idea to bridge the gap between wastage and hunger; ‘Janta Choupal’, a ‘Smart App’ for a ‘Smart City’, essentially a political social media platform in order to create effective governance in the city of Indore; Team Udaan, an initiative to provide low-cost sanitary napkins and further create a self-sustaining business model for rural women in the Kharsod Village of Madhya Pradesh; and Scrap Buzz, which presented an alternative opportunity to recycle scrap automotives in order to create utility products. The final team to present was ‘Gaonmart’, a social venture based in the small district of Jhabura, aiming to create a profitable venture out of the organic produce and bamboo baskets that the residents had to offer.
Workshop on Effectiveness in Creativity
A workshop on Effectiveness in Creativity held by Mr. S Subramanyeswar, Chief Strategy Officer and Mr. Vikas Mehta, CMO, Mullenlowe Lintas Group helped the audience answer a question: How to build brands that engage many and reap long term dividends of having a powerful central idea for the brand. Citing examples of iconic brands such as Surf Excel, Bajaj Avenger, Airbnb and Tata Tea, they showed how you can go from ‘Proposition to Point of View, to Purpose,’ and move from an environment of ‘reactivism’ to ‘preactivism,’ i.e. using brands to create a positive social impact.
Speaker Series, Panel Discussion, Chai Pe Charcha
The speaker series featured Mr. Rajiv Srivatsa, Founder, Urban Ladder; Mr. Varun Raina, Marketing Head, Airbnb; Mr. Dheeraj Sinha, Chief Strategy Officer, Leo Burnett; Mr. Manish Advani, Head of Marketing & PR at Mahindra SSG; Mr. Arun Thukral, MD and CEO of Axis Securities Ltd. And Mr. Anubhav Modi, the Head of Strategy of Bira91—speaking on various topics such as ‘Employee to Entrepreneur: Hurdles and Mindsets Needed for the Shift’ and ‘How not to go wrong with an Indian Consumer.’
The first panel discussion, which featured Mr. Gautam Raj Anand, Founder and CEO, HubHopper, Mr. Tushar Chhabra, Founder, CRON Systems, Mr. Sandesh C, COO, Chai Point and Mr. Vaibhav Agarwal, Founder and CEO Inc42 addressed the question ‘What does the next decade hold for Indian startups?’ This was followed by an informal networking session Chai Pe Charcha, where students get to interact with industry stalwarts over tea and snacks.
The second panel discussion had Mr. Sunil Goyal, MD, YourNest; Mr. Abhijeet Kumar, Co-founder, ah! Ventures; Mr. Anurag Sharma, Co-founder, Mumbai Incubator; Mr. Siddharth Lulla, Investor and Mr. Anirudh Damani, Partner, Artha Ventures—who spoke on Expectations and Challenges for Early Stage Investors. They addressed issues such as mismatch between expectations of entrepreneurs and early stage investors, whether or not entrepreneurs are solving real problems, regulatory issues that compound complexity of launching new businesses and other challenges.
The second day of the i5 Summit opened to a packed audience listening keenly to Mr. Sharad Sharma, co-founder and governing council member of iSPIRT, who delivered the keynote address. He started off by reflecting upon his life as a student – how an electrical engineer ended up contributing significantly to the UNIX operating system, which he termed as ‘riding a wave’, something he deemed important for everyone to do in order to outperform others. He discussed about digital revolution taking place in India and the potential India Stack possesses and highlighted the progress being made towards a paperless, cashless society.
The flagship event of the i5 Summit, Get Funded saw around 15 start ups pitching for funds. Investors from various firms participated, like Matrix Partners, Ah! Ventures, Artha Ventures etc. Some great ideas were presented which was followed by an engaging Q&A session with the investors. Ideas ranging from second hand book selling to 3D maps, across various domains impressed the audience and investors alike.
Startup Expo hosted over 30 startups from all across India, with highly innovative solutions to critical problems or value propositions to cater to changing aspirations. Some of the interesting startups were Jawab Do, DronaMaps, Saralkar, Bookshelf.space and Krishi Help, which focused on providing a plethora of services, ranging from providing solutions to legal and regulatory compliance for businesses to selling refurbished books at discounted prices to providing farmers with technological solutions and expert advice.
The Closing Keynote was delivered by Mr. Aaron Friedland, Founder and Executive Director of The Walking School Bus, an organisation working towards empowering children with access to education, nutrition, and curriculum across the world using highly innovative concepts such as solar-powered classrooms and reading applications. He spoke about empowering access to education through a holistic model that leverages innovative technologies. His anecdotes and experiences of implementing development programmes in Uganda were enlightening, entertaining and heartening. Much to the delight of students, he announced the launch of a competition- Searching for Jugaad. The winner will be awarded with $1000 to help implement their innovation for The Walking School Bus.
The Summit concluded on a high note with all the participants having a new vision towards their startups. The guests appreciated the i5 Summit Team for all their efforts in organizing the event in a smooth manner.