My iSPIRT Experience, A Learning Of A Lifetime By Praveen Hari

In 2016, the company I co-founded, Thinkflow, went through a liquidity event. It was a great outcome for all and I was thinking of the next move. It was natural for me to think of starting again. I was wiser, had seed capital and only had to find a problem attractive enough. It looked like I was going down that path and would build another software product company for the global market.

Something interesting was happening in India at that same time. All the global giants were investing in or had invested in companies that were building for India. Venture funds like Softbank, DST Global, Naspers were making bold bets in the Indian consumer space. A lot of digitization was also happening in India. UPI was in the initial release phase (Flipkart had already committed to back PhonePe, when it was just Sameer and Rahul’s idea), the GST bill was tabled in Parliament, a system to track real-time movement of goods was being discussed. It was really a lot of action and if venture investments were any indication, it was the validation of the India story.

In a meeting with Sharad, for the first time, I understood the true potential of the digital stack (now called the IndiaStack) that was taking shape then. While the stack was not fully ready for all the use cases that we covered in the meeting, the vision to solve some of the hardest problems India was facing through technology was fascinating. That vision combined with the kind of commitment the Open API team (it is now called the IndiaStack team) put in is unparalleled in my experience

I left the meeting with a question from Sharad.  “Do you want to do a 2-year MBA that pays you a small stipend?”. I thought about it and said ‘yes’. Amongst all the challenges, unlocking credit for small businesses resonated with me. Having faced the consequences of not having access to timely credit during my Thinkflow days, I could identify with this problem and ended up doing work around data-driven and cash-flow lending. We make a number of decisions in a lifetime but a few handfuls of them are life-changing. And my decision to work with iSPIRT and to focus on Flow-based lending has been a life-changing one.

Over the last 30 months, I worked towards Improving efficiencies in the loan delivery and collections cycle so we could bring a lot more borrowers to the formal system. As an iSPIRTer, I had the privilege of working with CEOs of banks, NBFCs and Small Finance banks to design new loan products. We were working on new ways to use data to underwrite small loans for new-to-credit businesses. I was guiding them on how to use technology to deliver credit at lower costs and worked alongside them to devise new strategies to build new workflows around origination, disbursement, collections, et al.

The iSPIRT stint has been a rewarding one. iSPIRT is all about putting country first and solving country scale problems. Core values such as this and others like setting up fellow volunteers for success were totally unheard of to me in the modern day workplace. iSPIRT is a safe space for any volunteer who is passionate about changing India. The institution has been about investing in the success of its fellows –  I had the benefit of learning from the wisdom of people like Nandan Nilekani, Sharad Sharma, Pramod Varma, Sanjay Jain. My colleagues are A-players and I had the opportunity to learn from and work alongside Meghana Reddyreddy, Nikhil Kumar, Venkatesh Hariharan, Jai Shankar, Tanuj Bhojwani, Siddharth Shetty and Karthik

As I prepare to roll-off my responsibilities at iSPIRT, I want to express my gratitude and a special thanks to Sharad Sharma for giving me this opportunity. He is a great guide and has been a great mentor for me. Thank you for being there for me when I needed you. It has been a great experience working with you and the team and my learnings here are my core strength as I move on to solving for India through my next venture.

Announcing the CXO connect program

Reaching out and connecting with the CXOs at the enterprise level is still a problem many product companies tend to struggle with. While some well funded companies seem to have covered some ground there is more work to be done here. Most companies tend to lose out big when it comes to getting the mindshare of the CXO/decision making body in an enterprise sale scenario. They  often end up losing the deal to a competing product from a much bigger brand. This despite their product being a better, faster and cheaper one. A host of multiple reasons emerge but one of the most obvious ones is the company’s inability to connect at the decision making body level and get their mind share.

At iSpirt, we are making an attempt to solve this problem for the Indian product company. I am pleased to announce the CXO Connect Program that is designed to connect enterprise product companies with the CXOs at large enterprises. The objective of the program is to give the reach to the product companies and facilitate business conversations that will eventually lead to a win-win business relationship. Large enterprises get to benefit from the program by discovering innovative product start-ups that could help them address specific needs of their enterprise. As part of the program, we reach out to the CXOs and identify the kind of products they would like to buy/implement within their enterprise and make the connect from a highly-curated list of product companies in the iSpirt database.

If you are product start-up and you are selling/have sold to large enterprises, I would like to take a look at your offering and get you on the CXO Connect database. Please write to me on [email protected] and we can set up a time for a quick demo of your product and discuss some success stories of the product.

I am working out the finer details of the program at the moment and will share more details about the program in the weeks to follow through the Product Nation blog.

Announcing the second batch of 15 companies selected for @InTech50 2016

Last week, we announced the first batch of winners of InTech50 2016 amidst a lot of excitement and enthusiasm. The judges and panelists are having a great, yet tough time.

With much deliberation and discussion, we are very happy to announce the second batch of 15 companies that are selected for InTech50 2016:

  1. CanvasFlip Solutions Pvt Ltd: CanvasFlip is a User Research and prototyping tool for UX teams and product managers to record User Videos, Conversion Funnel and Interaction Heatmap.
  1. Entersoft Information Systems Pvt Ltd: EnProbe is a cloud based vulnerability assessment tool designed to help developers, website owners and administrators to identify security vulnerabilities in their website. EnProbe provides a “One-click, configuration free” scanner that helps in identifying the security health map of a website.
  1. FourthLion Technologies: The product is an offline retail behavioral analytics platform that offers a superior than e-commerce experience – (a) Personalization based on offline retail behavioral signals (e.g. with how many people you come, what time you walk in – and based on this give you timely offers, and give you a enhanced menu experience); (b) Using IoT to detect retail behavioral signals (capturing what table you prefer, how much do you walk around when in store); (c) Making IoT intelligent to aid the offline retail experience (e.g. vending machine suggesting what you should buy right now to stay in line with your diet)
  1. FRSLABS Research Systems Pvt. Ltd. Detects and prevents fraud at the point of application. Patent Pending technology that detects fraud faster with fewer false positives resulting in reduced operating costs (over 50%) and improved customer experience.
  1. Gradatim IT Ventures (India) Private Limited: The Gradatim MFInsure OnDemand Insurance System, is a flexible system for the core processes of life and non-life insurance companies and agents. It is a cloud based, analytics driven, web and mobile-enabled, policy and claims administration system for life and non-life insurance products.
  1. IgrenEnergi Inc: It has three hardware products supported by a common underlying IOT and cloud analytics platform: the Solar Optimizer, the OptiVerter and the OptiPVStore. The Optimizer boosts lifetime energy production by minimizing module mismatch losses. It connects 8 modules independently, operates each at its maximum power point and extracts the highest generated power at all times.
  1. Innovaccer Inc: This Integrated Enterprise Analytics Platform enables organizations to integrate disparate enterprise data sources / applications on a big data lake (Hadoop and Spark based) and democratizes access to enterprise wide data without having to write code.
  1. I-exceed technology solutions private limited: Appzillon Digital Banking Suite consists of pre-built banking solutions that help the bank go digital in a very short time frame. The solutions under the Appzillon Digital Banking Suite are Appzillon Consumer Banking, Appzillon Corporate Banking, Appzillon Branch Banking, Appzillon Relationship Management, and Appzillon Onboarding System. Appzillon Digital Banking Suite enables the bank to offer end-to-end digital experience for its consumers, corporates and internal users.
  1. Nextgen Project Management Systems: Platform for corporate social responsibility (CSR)
  1. Quicko Technosoft Labs Pvt Ltd: Whatfix is a SaaS solution which helps companies to accelerate user on-boarding, reduce support queries and remove training needs.
  1. Qustn Technologies: Capabiliti is a mobile first SaaS platform used by large enterprises to train and engage with their remote users (employees / clients / vendors). The platform allows a company to have a one view of their entire business – and ensure that harmonised communication / training / sales support is reaching the last mile.
  2. Vistara (VistaraIT India Pvt Ltd): Vistara is the software defined IT operations management (ITOM) platform. They offer the only SaaS based ITOM suite that delivers a policy based framework for visibility and control across hybrid IT infrastructure.
  1. Spoors Technology Solutions India Pvt Ltd: EFFORT is a one stop solution to all field challenges for all verticals. EFFORT a fludic mobile+Cloud based SaaS solution, helps companies quickly configure any field business process in just few mins, deploy and start using EFFORT to monitor and execute field operation with ease.
  1. Ttatva innovation labs pvt ltd: Offers a cost effective Tele care as a service platform to enable remote patient care transformation and reduce overall cost of care for patient. This platform will help patient receive care through moving patient clinical and diagnosis information and not moving people
  1. ZingHR: ZingHR is a new-age End-to-End HR platform that delivers Real Business Value with a combination of latest Cloud Technologies, Best Practices and Employee Centric Mobile Applications, rather than just HR process automation.

Congratulations to all the above winners !!

Watch this space for the announcement of the third batch of 15 winners.

Brace up all Product Entrepreneurs; InTech50 is back…

InTech50, iSPIRT ’s flagship event is back. The first two editions have been very successful and InTech50 has become the ‘must-go-to’ platform for enterprise CXO’s and product entrepreneurs. Over the past two years, we have hosted CXO’s and business leaders from global companies like AllState, Citibank, HCC Insurance, Standard Chartered, Colgate Palmolive, Time, AirTel, Yes Bank, Exide Life, Mother Diary and the likes. Here are some quick high points from the last two years of InTech50:

  • 18 enterprise deals that got originated and closed from conversations at InTech50
  • 42 enterprise PoC’s offered to InTech50 companies
  • 120+ innovation leaders (read: buyers & influencers) exposed to Indian product entrepreneurs

We have already managed to showcase over a 100 companies, and we have made 50 global investors and CIO’s travel to India to interact and associate with these companies, and happily so.

Here are a few portfolio companies from our past events – Capillary, Uniken, Seclore, Freshdesk, Reverie, Sapience, NowFloats, ToneTag to name a few.

Just to share the impact that we have created, and how these 50 companies have benefitted from this initiative, hear hear what some of them had to say –

“Intech50 is a phenomenal event. It is probably the highest RoI initiative we have ever participated in. With 50+ Global CIOs turning up, it is a great platform to validate your product. Met some of the largest enterprises, found use cases we weren’t aware of and closed marquee deals. Highly recommended!” Yamini Bhat,

“Intech50 was extremely useful in 3 ways. First, making a presentation of just 5 minutes to an extremely discerning audience helped us make our value proposition very crisp. Second, demoing our product to several heads of technology helped validate our product and use cases, and resulted in actual business deals getting signed. And most importantly, we were able to bag a large client with whom we’ve been able to co-create 2 completely new products. I wholeheartedly and highly recommend Intech50 to all B2B startups who have demonstrable products that are ready for large enterprises” – Ranjit Nair, Germin8

“Being a part of InTech50 2015 was a great opportunity for ToneTag. It was exhilarating when ToneTag was selected in the first batch as one of the top 10 products. The event gave us the exposure, guidance and support we needed. InTech50 enabled us to pitch our product to a global panel of curators and the media coverage we received was also been beneficiary to the company. Since winning InTech50, ToneTag has been expanding rapidly. We acquired many leads through the event that led us to PoC’s and commercial deals in the making. The resources we received through InTech50 have been invaluable as it has helped us build exciting partnerships with many in India and around the world” – Kumar Abhishek, ToneTag

If you are a product entrepreneur and your product is solving a problem for the enterprise CXO, InTech50 is your chance to showcase your product to the who’s who in the enterprise buyer community.

Apply before Feb 22nd 2016 and experience a bigger and better InTech50 in 2016.

To know more, click here.

One more list to go. The last #PNgrowth companies are here!

We are at the end of the announcements of shortlisted companies for #PNgrowth 2015. There’s only more to go after this, and we want to thank all those who applied. We put this event together for you, and you have responded. We are working hard on the programs so you get maximum benefits from Mysore and the subsequent interactions.

So here you go, the second-last list of #PNgrowth companies. Congratulations to the finalists, and there’s only one more to go.

25-founders-collage-7th batch

Sharan Madawal of Inzaxis
Suneil Chawla of Influencer
Alan DSouza of Vavia
Paul Mathews of Nethram
Sidharth Wadehra of Terrabees
Rashmi Padhy of Koove
Rahul Reddy of Nutrifi
Nishant Pandey of Getgreaser
Ankit Dudhwewala of Softwaresuggest
Anil Gupta of Smart Buildings
Abinash Saikia of Enclouden
Vaibhav Lodha of FTcash
Abishek Ballabh of Extraaedge
Abishek Humbad of Nextgenpms
Abhijit Choudhury of AzureAiken
Ashutish Verma of Paymateexpress
LN Mishra of Adaptive processes
Navin Chandra of Mavsocial
Barbara Main of Minsh
Suvodhoy Sinha of Adnabu
Abhijit Mhetre of Canvazify
Krupesh Bhatt of Legaldesk
Rani Paruchuri of Dreamtekis
Akshay Gautam of Heymojo
Manik Mehta of Linkmysport

Congrats to the chosen ones!

The next 25 #PNgrowth companies – the second shortlist is here!

We now have the list of the second batch of #PNgrowth companies and this time, we have en even more eclectic mix of domains and products. And since we have also just announced the final agenda for the three day residential workshop that will launch #PNgrowth, the buzz we feel has only intensified. The program is now being over-subscribed many times over, and we request you to apply early if you don’t want to be disappointed.

25-founders-collage-2nd batchIf you still don’t know what this is about, jeez! Anyway, you go here, and if you want to apply, here, better late than never.
So here we go, the net 25 companies, making a grand total of 50!
  • Anil Mantoo of content marketplace Contentmart
  • Ankur Kumar of Employee Recognition engine Rewardtrunk
  • Anup Sahoo of Technology Search Engine Ideapoke
  • Nitin Purohit of Big Data Analytics firm Aureus Analytics
  • Chennapanaidu Darapaneni of events site Meraevents
  • Gautam Garg of QR code company Scanove
  • George John Vettath of HR and Payroll software Kserve
  • Kartik Poddar of Movie site Fropcorn
  • Khadim Batti of interactive flow builder Whatfix
  • Kiran Menon of enployee engagement app Tydy
  • Mahesh Subramaniam of video delivery company Strmesy
  • Milind Katti of account management software Demandfarm
  • Nikhil Soman of gaming company Playblazer
  • Prateek Pands of mobile safety company Appknox
  • Pratik Munot of talent management firm Jombay
  • Rajiv Nag of translations manager Readmylanguage
  • Sandip Panda of cloud security company Instasafe
  • Seshu Karthik of deals app Thankbunny
  • Siddharth Deshmukh of website builder CMSbudo
  • Sudarsan Ravi of HR referral engine Ripplehire
  • Sumanth Raghavendra of presentation builder Deck
  • Sunil Bodke of employee dashboard Cadashboard
  • Tushar Bhatia of talent management Empxtrack
  • Abhishek Kumar of school management software Schoolmitra
  • Pavan Thatha of web safety company Shieldsquare
Congratulations to the startups who’ve made it. We’ll have the next list up soon! 🙂


Have a product idea for the enterprise? Validate it with @InTech50 Validation Tank

The first 2 editions of Validation Tank have yielded better than expected results. True to the name, it has served as the platform for idea and proto-type stage entrepreneurs to validate their product idea. The entrepreneurs got an opportunity to present their idea to a CIO panel comprising of Darshan Appayanna (Happiest Minds), Sudhir Reddy (Aricent), Yatendra Kumar (Gokaldas Exports), Vijay Ramachandra (Editor-in-chief, CIO Magazine), Satish Das (Cognizant) and Murali Krishna (Ex- SVP, Infosys). The CIO’s judged the idea on a range of parameters and provided actionable insights on the idea and what can be improved when it comes to pitching to the enterprise buyer.


So, what is InTech50 Validation Tank and who is it for?

InTech50 Validation Tank is for idea and proto-type stage product entrepreneurs. It is an opportunity for founders to pitch their idea to the ultimate enterprise buyer (CIO) and understand

a)      If the problem they are trying to address through the idea is major concern for the CIO

b)      If it is a market that is well served

c)       If the CIOs can make a business case for a product or allocate buying budgets

d)      If adding a feature or a functionality will make it a great product 

The CIOs will also provide actionable insights in to the opportunity size, technical viability, business model and importantly the buyer’s perspective. All this at a concept/idea stage and even before you start developing the prototype. It is a great opportunity to get an honest feedback about your product idea. It is a platform to engage with IT leaders, product champions, mentors and early adopters for your product.

Who can apply for Validation Tank?

If you are company founded/incorporated after 2014 and working on a product idea for enterprises or in the process of building a prototype, you are the ideal company for Validation Tank. You need not have a working prototype but if you are a little ahead and already started product development, we can still consider you. 

When is the next Validation Tank happening?

The next edition of the Validation Tank is happening on 25th of June 2015 in Bangalore. We are soon going to announce the dates for Validation Tank in Chennai and Pune too.

How do I apply?

APPLY NOW ! 19th June, 2015 is the last day for rushing in your entries.


Validation Tank @ InTech50

This year’s InTech50 saw a new addition to the format. While InTech5 was designed to give global exposure to companies that have got paying customers and product-market fit, this year we have introduced Validation Tank to help companies in idea and proto-type stage companies to validate the potential for their idea. The format is designed to help the founder get a feedback on their product idea. Read more about Validation Tank here.

After a couple of pilots, we have chosen 5 companies to pitch their product idea to the CIO’s and they got first hand feedback from the ultimate technology buyer in the enterprise. Validation Tank was moderated by Ranga Raj and to judge the idea we got Harmeen Mehta – CIO Airtel, Akshaya Gaur – CIO Mashreq Bank, Jon Walters – CIO Direct General Insurance and Ravi Narayan – Head Microsoft Ventures. Each company got 10 mins to slot and they pitched their idea for 3 mins and the 7 mins slot was used for Q&A and feedback from the CIO’s. The jury was honest with the feedback and more importantly the companies got actionable feedback making it very attractive for someone who is at an idea/proto-type stage get first hand feedback of what the enterprise buyer thinks. Here are the five companies that pitched at InTech50 Validation Tank 2015.

Contentivo – It is a tool for helping enterprises increase its social media reach exponentially through employee networks

ConvFlow – A product that helps enterprises collaborate on problems and ideas in real-time on mobile and web

FixNix – Cloud based Governance, Risk and Compliance solution for the enterprise

Nous – Product that helps match people and skills in the enterprise

PlayLyfe – Gamification platform for the enterprise. Helps companies gamify internal applications with a few clicks

If you are a product entrepreneur, working on a product idea for the enterprise and would like to get the idea validated, please apply here for the next edition of Validation Tank.

Validation Tank is curated by Praveen Hari(Thinkflow) & Ranga Raj(Thinxtream)

Announcing Validation Tank @InTech50

The second edition of InTech50 is round the corner.  InTech50 (flagship event of iSpirt) brings together 50 promising enterprise software start-ups, 50 CIO’s from some of the biggest companies (read Citibank, Kroger, Procter & Gamble, Great American Insurance Company,  AllStage, Accretive Health, Nationwide Mutual Insurance, Crate & Barrel and the likes) and who’s who from the venture capital community. To be held at the The Leela, Bangalore on April 15th & 16th, iSPIRT is bringing Validation Tank to this this year’s InTech50.

What is Validation Tank?

Validation Tank is a platform designed to help companies in idea stage validate their product ideas. When you are building a product, there are a lot of unknowns like the market, market size and competition etc. As entrepreneurs, we make some intelligent guesses and believe in our gut and set out to build the product. We often ignore the buyer in the product development process and reach the buyer only when the product is ready. The whole concept of validating the idea before building the product is missing from the picture. At InTech50 this year, we are going to change this.

Through Validation Tank, we are going to give companies in the ideation stage an opportunity to pitch their ideas to CIO’s. The CIO’s will listen to your product idea and help you validate it by providing actionable insights in to the opportunity size, technical viability, business model and importantly the buyer’s perspective. All this even before you start developing the prototype. It is a great opportunity to get an honest feedback about your product idea. It is a platform to engage with IT leaders, product champions, mentors and early adopters for your product.

Who can apply for Validation Tank?

If you are company founded/incorporated after 2014 and working on a product idea for businesses or in the process of building a prototype, you are the ideal company for Validation Tank. You need not have a working prototype or early adopters but a presentation on your product, technology target market, competition (if any) is good to get your idea validated. If you are already building your product you can still apply for Validation Tank and get your idea validated.

How do I apply?

APPLY NOW ! 27th Feb is the last day for rushing in your entries… Your timely response could open up a whole new world for you to explore (literally!) and put you in the BIG LEAGUE much sooner than you expected it!

Validation Tank is curated by Praveen Hari(Thinkflow) & Ranga Raj(Thinxtream)