Monday, January 21, 2008

Proto.in and Headstart.in

I was at Proto.in (in Chennai) on Friday. Vijay Anand asked me to speak on the topic “Startups: The Worst Case Scenario”. He wanted me to tell the entrepreneurs how ‘unromantic’ a journey of a startup can be. I had to address some of those myths and induce some dose of reality to wanna-be entrepreneurs. I realized that there were many entrepreneurs in the audience who had gone through the same journey and have the same experiences and observations about entrepreneurship as I did. I guess, what I am being asked to do is – ‘be the bad guy, spill the guts!’

I had to rush back to Bangalore that night because we showcased our product next day at HeadStart.in (Bangalore). Being a strong proponent of developing the ecosystem here in Bangalore, I couldn’t miss this event.

Vijay Anand and his Proto.in has already attracted lot of attention in entrepreneurial world with a strong focus on India. Proto.in intends to become one of the catalysts in promoting the much-missed ecosystem in India and Vijay is doing a tremendous job.

While the first three events were held in Chennai, Vijay wants to move this event around to other cities in India and even explore the neighboring countries around India. Bangalore, which according to me, is one of the best places for a technology startup with well-developed ecosystem (only in comparison to other cities of India) just could not sit idle. It had to spring its own event. And I believe the more the merrier. We have a long way to go before we can say ‘We have too many such events’.

HeadStart.in, which is organized by volunteers of Bangalore (which is the hallmark of Bangalore), spearheaded by Kallol, Aditya, Keshav, Arpit, et al has held its first session (along with an ACM event) at IISc, Bangalore.

There are some finer differences between the two events, and I am quite sure they serve their purposes.

The things I liked about Proto.in. The demos have become a serious affair drawing great attention. Also, the fact that nobody knows who got selected to demo makes it an interesting exercise. I like the short presentations they have. Vijay keeps the ecosystem together. He does not forget the old participants and he engages them and contributes to keep building the ecosystem.

The best thing about HeadStart.in is that it was held in Bangalore. It was high time. With such a great ecosystem, it had to happen sometime. I don’t think any city in India can beat Bangalore in terms of quality of its participants, panelists, etc. Though this event coincided with other major events, Headstart.in still drew the bigwigs of the industry. The panelists were experienced and are veterans of the industry. The atmosphere was electric as ever. The VC networking session in the evening was excellent. That’s what entrepreneurs want. Organizers ensured the media met those who demonstrated their products.

It was unfortunate that both events took place on the same dates. I wish it had happened differently. But I realize that the organizers of both events had their constraints, on when they can organize, and they could not change their dates. I look forward to next set of events where they do not coincide and where we will have much closer interactions and sharing of notes between the organizers.

1 comment:

Sangfroid said...

Nice coverage and analysis!