Announcing the 2nd batch of 10 companies @InTech50

InTech50 2015 (a flagship event of iSPIRT & Terenne Global) is happy to announce the second batch of 10 finalists. The Jury had a wonderful time in going through this process of selection – of curating the best product startups in India. They deep-dived into their business models, teams, future plans, etc. and were completely overwhelmed with the quality of their ‘products.’

Congratulations to all the following finalists…listed alphabetically. The first batch of 10 companies can be seen here

  • Analyttica – is a global analytical solutions and services provider. With our innovative TreasureHunt™ platform, we create a sustainable business impact across industries and functions. Analyttica TreasureHunt™ is an experience based knowledge immersion and collaborative workflow platform for advanced analytics, on the cloud. The platform is powered by a proprietary analytics engine, which integrates with multiple statistical packages, such as R and SAS, allowing point and click user operations instead of coding.
  • Anunta Technologies – Anunta Technology Management Services is an IT service company with a specialized focus on Application Delivery as a Service.Anunta has developed a unique offering called ‘Application Delivery as a Service’ (ADaaS) on its own proprietary platform. This solution has proven business and IT benefits that are working for a number of companies around the world.
  • Fix Stream – we make sense out of massive and disparate data through automated correlation to solve complex Datacenter and Cloud problems using a fraction of time and resources. We enable simplistic and elegant visualization of the vast and varied infrastructure with an application centric view – putting the applications and business services at the center! All this in a single pane of glass and in near real time!
  • Julia Computing -Julia is a high-level, high-performance dynamic programming language for technical computing, with syntax that is familiar to users of other technical computing environments. It provides a sophisticated compiler,distributed parallel execution, numerical accuracy, and an extensive mathematical function library.
  • Xploree is a unique Search & Discovery platform created by KeyPoint Technologies. It is the industry’s first user-initiated, hyper-contextual, platform with language intelligence that conveniently connects mobile device users with brands offers and services in the exact moment of need. Xploree predicts a user’s needs and delights them through their journey across applications as they discover most relevant content, apps, deals and services.
  • Reverie Inc – Reverie builds a language as a service platform that enables search and discovery of local language content, interaction in any language, and creation and publication of local language content and apps.Reverie’s  Language Platform is used in the consumer Internet space (online retail, E-Commerce marketplaces, travel, vehicles for hire and more), banks and financial services, e-governance, across millions of devices, and more. Swalekh, Reverie’s free multilingual keypad app, enables typing in 3 modes in 11 Indian languages.
  • Sirion Labs – Sirion helps businesses simplify the management of key suppliers and lower the cost of governance by delivering critical intelligence on demand and automating the full spectrum of contracts, performance, financial, risk and relationship management on a single, integrated platform. Organizations deploy our product to create a single system of record for strategic suppliers, standardize processes, consolidate legacy systems and drive meaningful comparisons in performance between diverse suppliers, functions, and regions
  • Teamchat is an enterprise-messaging app that enables clutter-free messaging for teams of unlimited size. It is an innovative product with patent-pending smart-forms that summarize responses enabling important message content to stand out. Teamchat is available on all mobile and web platforms and is used by 1000+ orgs worldwide, including some of the largest enterprises in the world.
  • What Fix – provides instructions right inside websites; no more verbose howtos and screencasts. It create flows (guides) in just a few clicks; you can see ‘see live’ help directly inside websites; embed flows as articles, slides, buttons.
  • Xurmo  – Xurmo is a Big Data analytics platform that determines the natural structure of raw data and stores it in a patented format. The platform then allows instant Search-guided Query so that complex analysis can be performed without any schema design and use-case specific data models.

We have had a good run so far, and we hope to continue to contribute towards showcasing the  best of Indian software products to an eminent group of global CIO’s. We are proud to have been able to build on our track record of 2014 and aspire to  make it bigger and better every year. Our commitment towards making India a ‘Product Nation’ feels revalidated.

Watch this space. We shall soon announce our next ten finalists.

Announcing the first batch of 10 companies shortlisted for @InTech50

InTech50 is a flagship event of iSPIRT & Terenne Global. It is a showcase of some of the most promising software products created by entrepreneurs from India.

The top 50 companies that will make it to InTech50 are selected by an eminent panel comprising of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) of marquee companies, VCs, and senior executives from Product companies.

These chosen 50 companies will receive advice, on-going mentoring, product marketing support, and funding to scale their offering to the global markets.

We received over 228 applications (As expected, we had a slew of applications that came in on the last day). Thanks to the efforts of our core team and jury members we have now closed the first leg of InTech50 2015 selection process.

Our eminent jury had a wonderful, but tough time in shortlisting from among the applicants the top 100 that will make it to the next round. According to a jury member – “We were thrilled with the quality of applications we saw. It was an exhilarating experience to see so many good ideas that are tryignt o shape the world for a smarter future.”

The criteria for the first phase of shortlisting were as follows:

  • Products that were already operating in the market were preferred to those at a concept / POC stage
  • Products that addressed horizontal opportunities were preferred over those that focused very deep on a vertical
  • Products that were easy to implement & use were preferred over products that needed deeper integration with enterprise systems (like ERP)
  • Solutions that could be an “add-on”/”bolt-on” to the existing eco-system

Here are the ten shortlist of our first batch(in alphabetical order)

  • Germin8′ Social Intelligence stakeholder insights and engagement platform that collects and analyses conversations in real time from public sources and private sources, and converts them into industry-specific actionable insights and leads.
  • Framebench is the easiest way to view, annotate, discuss and collaborate over any file online. Be it an presentation, a high res image or even a video.
  • Freshdesk is a full-fledged cloud based support software that lets businesses support their customers across email, phone, chat and social media.
  • Indix App and Indix API – They collect, organize, structure and analyze a huge amount of product and product related info so that businesses can use their apps and APIs to improve product search, optimize offers, better target product ads, enrich their catalog and do ad hoc analysis.
  • Qubole Data Service is a self-service platform for big data analytics that runs on the three major public clouds: Amazon AWS, Google Compute Engine and Microsoft Azure. QDS provides platorms like Hadoop, Hive. Spark and Presto as a service along with programming interfaces like SQL, Pig, Cascading, Scala and Python – all through an intuitive user interface that encourages collaboration.
  • Sapience is a patent pending software product that catalyzes a Mindful Enterprise. By combining self-quantification at work for individuals and enterprise effort analytics, Sapience enables data driven decision-making in empowering employees and management towards productivity and wellness.
  • Seclore FileSecure helps enterprise define, control and audit the use of information as it flows within and outside of the enterprise. It allows enterprises to embed security, privacy and compliance policies within information itself.
  • Talview Video Interview platform is reinventing the way screening and selection happens in the industry. They are the second largest player globally in video-mobile recruitment tools augmented with talent engagement and state of the art Hiring Analytic Technology.
  • ToneTag is a patent pending proximity tech that allows easy, frictionless and secure proximity payments using sound (Tone) or NFC (Tag). Depending upon user device and retail pos hardware, mobile application can toggle to initiate in-store purchases using sound or NFC. It works on any mobile device and no internet is required on user device at time of initiating payment.
  • Tydy – The documents we use today were built for the desktop world. Microsoft Office was launched in 1990 and not much has changed since then! PDF, PPT, XLS and others were not built for mobile consumption. Tydy is a new mobile document format. The Tydy doc harnesses the interactivity & sensors of mobile devices to create a completely new document consumption experience.”

According to Piyush Singh, co-host, InTech50, “The shortlisting process was an intellectually stimulating exercise. Am happy to see the escalation in not just the number of applications from last year, but also the quality. Jury members unanimously concurred that the software product eco-system seems to be evolving very well”

We are delighted that InTech50 has emerged as a platform that connects high-potential products to CIOs, investors, Executives from product companies and other stakeholders of the co-system from across the globe. That individuals and organizations from across the world consider InTech50 as the annual event that showcases a well curated and end-user driven platform for “Innovation for a Smarter Future” is encouraging. iSPIRT is committed to work with each of the selected companies to make a difference in their entrepreneurial journey, with support/advise/mentoring/guidance and giving their ventures a thrust as they scale up.

Do follow this space, as we will soon announce the next batch of 10 InTech50 companies. 

In conversation with the Founder of RippleHire – Sudarsan Ravi, participant – @Intech50 2014.

RippleHire is a SaaS-based employee referral product.

Tell us about RippleHire – your journey so far…

We help companies automate their talent sourcing by leveraging their employee pool.

We spent our first year working with the ecosystem getting feedback and crowdsourcing problems on hiring. Only then did we begin our sales process and that too with the top global brands, so that we get the right folks to get the product experience and results right.

The journey has been challenging and exhilarating – full of the regular highs and lows that every entrepreneurial journey has, along with the crazy experiences and insights that come with building a global company.

RippleHireWhat challenges did you face during the course? Any learnings from that? 

It was initially tough for us to go after brands like Adobe, McAfee, Capgemini. Convincing them to be among your initial customers was not easy. People love social proof and we will be eternally grateful to our first set of customers who have co-created this innovation with us and helped provide the social proof.

If I were to do one thing differently, I would focus directly on global customers.

Do you think that getting access to/finding investors is difficult in India? 

I don’t think getting access to investors in India is difficult at all. We have always believed that investment is a by-product of building a good scalable business. Our focus as a team has been about building a product that adds value to our customers (the real proof came through when they paid).

I always recommend startups to not focus on building a business for investors but for customers. Do take the inputs that the investors give you on the space and the approach. Factor that in. However, build the business to add value to customers.

Our approach has meant that we have always received inbound interest from investors. So, I think getting access to investors is definitely easy if you focus on building a good business.

Why did you consider participating in InTech50? 

We wanted to get validation from Indian and Global CIO’s on our concept. It was wonderful to have multiple CIO’s stop by our booth post our presentation and share their hiring challenges.

It was a great way for us to get feedback on RippleHire. Not only that, it helped us bag customers too.

How has getting shortlisted for InTech50 helped you? 

Being recognized as one of the top 50 innovative software companies coming out of India helped us a lot from our sales standpoint. People in India, and globally, take you seriously especially when the validation for the software comes from CIO’s.

We have also grown by 10X in the past year.

Who were the people you connected with as a result of InTech50, and can you give us a few specific examples of what those introductions translated into? 

We were able to get feedback from multiple CIO’s and introductions to prospects like Happiest minds and Ascendum through this platform. Ascendum signed up RippleHire as a customer as well.

What advice would you give to other emerging companies as they plan their scaling up?

Every startup is different and has different challenges when it comes to scaling up. I think it is important to get the following right when it comes to scaling up –

  • Your customer support and product experience should be consistent. Think of a Pizza Hut. As they scale customers, it is important that the Pizza quality stays the same.
  • Scaling well is about putting the processes in place that the experience stays the same. Getting this in place requires thinking of your engineering, sales and support teams in the form of units. Once you get one unit right in your support engine, scaling is about replicating that unit.

One recommendation I would give out to the InTech50 participants this year is that – research the sectors that are of interest for you. Hiring in our case is sector agnostic. It would have helped us if we had picked three sectors and focused on attendees from that space.

InTech50 – helping software product companies connect with influential CIOs from across the world

In a recent article in ET, Mohandas Pai and I suggested that if India does not produce enough product companies, our economy will not be sustainable in the future. The data is compelling. To quote from that article, “Boeing and Airbus alone generate almost as much profit as all global airlines put together. Pfizer’s profits are more than those of the top 100 hospitals in the US. Cisco’s profits are more than those of all European mobile operators. Microsoft generates more profit than those of top 20 pureplay global IT services firms.While Indigo is a very well run airline, being a Boeing creates far larger value.”

Indian entrepreneurs and businesses can be world-scale and world-class. We have demonstrated that convincingly in services. Airtel, Jet, Indigo, Apollo Hospitals, Fortis Healthcare, TCS & Infosys, etc. are fine examples of companies that are respected across the globe. There is no reason why we cannot create world-scale and world-class product companies in India. The environment is conducive for entrepreneurs to now think ‘products.’

We created iSPIRT as a non-profit think tank with the aim of accelerating the software product eco-system in India. Since our inception in 2013, iSPIRT has focused on solving tough problems that will foster software product companies in India. Making M&A happen is one such problem. iSPIRT’s M&A Connect Program has made a big difference there. The last one-year has changed that perception of India as just a software services destination, and we have now generated early but enthusiastic interest in the international markets for our software products.

Some of that change in outlook started becoming apparent when, in January 2014, Facebook acquired Little Eye Labs, a Bangalore based startup that develops performance analysis and monitoring tools for mobile app. This was followed by Yahoo’s acquisition of Bookpad, whose document-viewing product is similar to Google Docs. The latest in the series of acquisitions is that of ZipDial (a mobile and analytics company) by Twitter. Some of these acquisitions, which got significant media attention in the startup eco-system, will hopefully encourage more entrepreneurs to think products.

Another hard problem

Another problem, which is equally hard, is to do with getting quality access to big-name CIOs in US. InTech50 address this issue. It is a one-of-a-kind forum where shortlisted software product companies get an opportunity to showcase and interact with some of the most influential CIOs from India and other parts of the world. This unique platform is a springboard that provides software product companies a connect with potential customers, investors, partners and influencers – that they would otherwise find it difficult to access, and certainly impossible to access over a 2-day period. InTech50 – a collaboration between iSPIRT and Terrene Global Leadership Network – serves as a platform for recognizing the most promising software products by entrepreneurs in India. After a thorough screening of applications, 50 innovative technology startups from the software product space are shortlisted to interact face-to-face with a panel of renowned CIOs and investors from across the globe. Through their close interaction with them, these startups gain valuable insights, which can facilitate them in scaling up globally.

The event, scheduled for April 15-16th 2015, is our 2nd edition. In our inaugural InTech50 event last year, we curated some high-potential companies. The audience of CIOs and other stakeholders took note. They now recognize that India is on the cusp of becoming a product nation.

InTech50 is the only forum of its kind where startups can get unparalled access to top global CIOs and investors, closely interact with them and showcase their products extensively with the end goal of closing deals. The best part is that CIOs from across the globe will assemble right here in India with the sole objective of finding interesting software product companies that they can engage with.

Though the applications for InTech50 are closed, if you are convinced about your product and feel that it deserves every chance to be showcased at the event, you have ONE LAST CHANCE TO APPLY by getting one of the Fellows, Founder or Product Circle Donor at iSPIRT to recommend you. (You can view the list of iSPIRT Fellows).

13897639212_c86c8c02ed_cIf you are shortlisted, do work with Mentor Panels and Business Catalysts, to prepare your pitch, and interact with our team and past participants to understand how to best leverage this unique opportunity. Take a look at our illustrious panel of Business Catalysts here.

NRK Raman, Co-Founder of iFlex (instrumental in its acquisition by Oracle for a whopping USD 909 million in 2005), is driving our effrots to help product companies sharpen their pitch and presentation.

With InTech50, you have everything you need to GO BIG, right here, on a platter – the right connections, the requisite support and everything else that you’ll need in the process.

Watch this space. India is on its way to becoming a Product Nation.

‘Finding’ Innovation

In a highly competitive market, and one where market dynamics are changing faster than ever, innovation is the key to long-term sustainability and success. History has proven that companies that have a culture that encourages innovation stand a far better chance at sustaining their leadership position or emerging as market leaders.

1Harvey Firestone, an American businessman, and the founder of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company once said, “Capital isn’t so important in business. Experience isn’t so important. You can get both these things. What is important is ideas. If you have ideas, you have the main asset you need, and there isn’t any limit to what you can do with your business and your life.”

Businesses recognize that. Most progressive businesses have put in place people, processes, resources, and investments and encourage a culture that fosters innovation.

Considering the fact that companies need to innovate faster than ever before, many companies now are also looking for absorbing innovation that is independently created outside their company. Smart companies recognize that they cannot hire all the smart people, and that smart and relevant innovation is also happening outside of their organization. Their efforts are therefore directed not just in innovating within the organization, but on engaging with innovations from outside as well.

By ‘outsourcing’ innovation, many leading companies have managed to minimize innovation costs and associated risks by as much as 60% to 90% while simultaneously reducing cycle times. In addition, they leverage tens to hundreds of times by internally investing the resultant savings. By engaging with innovators outside the organization, larger companies are able to look at a significantly larger pool of concepts and products, and thus are able to significantly reduce the cost of deploying innovative solutions and products for their businesses.

To enjoy the benefits of outsourcing innovation, the executives and the front-line should be on the lookout for the latest and most innovative technologies emerging across the globe and then figure out which ones they can leverage to derive the maximum synergy.

What is important is that you catch innovative companies’ young, i.e., when they are still in the startup or early-growth stage. Identifying and engaging with companies at an early stage has significant benefits for a large company, not just in monetary benefits, but also in being able to guide the product / concept design to best suit their own use case.

Larger companies who may not have the ability and bandwidth to scout for innovation independently can easily collaborate or partner with enablers in the entrepreneurial eco-system like accelerators, incubators, early-stage funds, and also the emerging online platforms that showcase startups and early-stage companies. Domain specific ‘hackathons’, mentoring clinics, and boot camps are some other ways in which larger companies can connect with relevant innovators.

Once the organization has identified which of these innovations fits into their scheme of things, there are 3 options before them:

  1. Acquire the company – in some situations for competitive reasons and to get a longer lead-time compared to competition it might make sense to acquire the company.
  2. Use the product – – sometimes it is worthwhile to simply use the product as an add-on or bolt on to the existing eco-system to provide a unique offering or enrichment to the existing solution.
  3. Partner with the company – This option involves jointly developing the product or innovation further, keeping in mind your specific requirement. This way, the innovation can be customized to suit your needs.

These are interesting times, particularly for software products. The pace and quality of innovation in India has gone up significantly. At iSPIRT, we have seen the quality of entrepreneurial talent, ideas and products, improve rapidly. We have quite a few global standard companies as witnessed by the global scale acquisitions, and the pace at which newer ideas are being introduced is very encouraging. It is also encouraging to note that a number of larger companies have already connected with us to get an early glimpse into innovations. The InTech50 event is a great initiative to showcase innovation to CIOs, product leaders and VC’s that provide the platform for the innovators to springboard.

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)

Announcing the Business Catalyst program at InTech50

We are pleased to announce that this year Intech50 will connect Indian startups with experienced business catalysts and consultants visiting specially from USA.

Why Are We Launching Business Catalyst

In his famous blog, Ben Horowitz discusses why we need sales people in the cloud world.

Last year we saw many of our startups getting the POC from large US customers, but some of them struggled to close the deal. We felt the companies need for experienced local sales presence to help maneuver the enterprise sales process.

Partly quoting from Ben’s article, the purpose of the enterprise sales team is not just about relationship and introductions. They also have to talk about value for the specific customer, dethrone alternative options, and navigate through the complex enterprise procurement process. In addition, when selling a startup product, they have to mitigate the risk of buying from a startup.

Our goal for the Business Catalyst program is to help startups understand this process of selling in USA with their interactions with senior sales leaders and consultants.

And Yes, the business catalysts can also provide introductions to their customers and manage the sales process for you.  

Some of the confirmed list of business catalysts are:

Is there a cost to participate in the Business Catalyst Program at the conference?

There is no additional financial cost that InTech50 will charge to participate in the program. The business catalysts will be choosy about who they take to their customers. They will be looking for companies that are ready for launch in USA market. The criteria generally include product readiness, some references; understanding of US based customers to target, competition and ability to fund sales expenses in USA. To this end, there will be a small questionnaire we will ask you to fill.

Most business catalysts will expect to enter into some financial arrangement if they decide to work with you after the conference. Our goal is to educate you on what they are looking for, and ensure a warm handshake.  

Which Industries, verticals domains and geographies are the Sales Consultants from? Typical Profile?

While this is an evolving list, our focus is sales consultants from North America. We expect 4-6 sales consultants. Each consultant typically has 15+ years of sales experience in large MNC and now helping other companies on full time basis. 

Do I have to work with sales consultants that Intech50 recommends?

No, there is no obligation to work with sales consultants after the conference.



If you have a B2B Product, here are 5 reasons why you should apply for #InTech50

If you have built an B2B Product and have aspirations to take it to a global scale, here are the 5 reasons why you should apply for #InTech50.


  1. An opportunity to showcase, get validation of the concept and product direction, better understanding of business value in the enterprise from Global CIOs.
  2. High probability of being selected by Global CIO’s for pilot or early adoption.
  3. Possibility of being selected by large product companies for add-on/bolt-on value add/partnerships to their large scale product solution sets.
  4. Potential possibility of getting investors attention due to interest/validation from Global CIO’s/large product companies.
  5. Getting selected in the elite #InTech50 list and subsequently getting a high degree of visibility from different stakeholders especially media coverage.

The possibility of all this happening without the need to travel out of country is real! This is the 1st and only platform for Enterprise products to showcase their products to Global CIOs.

Only the 50 shortlisted companies will get to attend the event. So what are you waiting for, go ahead and apply, the last date is 18th Feb 2014.

Read more details here – Announcing InTech50 for 2015

Announcing InTech50 for 2015

Welcome to the second edition of InTech50. We’re happy to report that we achieved some spectacular results from our first edition last year and are all geared up to announce the dates for the next version of the program.

What did we achieve?

    • 39 companies had active deals in progress
    • In September alone, a 100 days after the last edition, 5 companies had closed deals
    • 19 had active deals in the pipeline

Spurred on by this success, we believe we are ready for edition two.


So, what is InTech50?

For the uninitiated, InTech50 is a forum where 50 carefully chosen software product companies have an opportunity to interact face to face with a panel of CIOs, product leadership and venture capitalists. On conclusion of the event, these companies will receive ongoing mentoring, product marketing support and even funding to scale their operations to global markets.

Is InTech50 for me?

Yes it is, if you are a software product company that has aspirations to go global. Most importantly, you don’t need to travel abroad to seek your fortunes but rather the panel of experts comes to you in Bangalore, in India.

We want you to succeed and to that end, this program is designed to offer you all the encouragement and support possible from product strategy, UI assistance, product marketing help and so on that will enable your product to become the best in class.

The program combines prospective buyers (CIOs) who will constructively critique your offering, funders(VCs and other investors) who will tell you why they will fund your product and mentors who will offer you that timely bit of advice that will give you the extra edge.

When and where will it be held?

Intech50 will be held on April 15 and 16 @ Bangalore, India.

How much does it cost?

There is no application fee. 50 companies will be shortlisted by the Advisory Board comprising global and Indian CIO’s, product company heads, venture capitalists, and analysts. The selected companies will need to pay a fee of Rs. 25,000 to cover the expenses for two attendees. Only the 50 shortlisted companies will get to attend the event.

So what are you waiting for, go ahead and apply, the last date is 18th Feb 2015.

Innovation and User experience are two areas where CIOs are willing to look at new things: Highlights of #InTech50 2014: Day 2

This post covers the highlights of day 2 of InTech50 2014.  The highlights of day 1 are here.

Before getting into the highlights of the pitches of the 50 companies, here are some important points from the expert talks and panel discussions.

View from the VCs:

Rob Heiman, Alok Goyal, Sandeep Singhal and Tim Goddard gave practical tips to the entrepreneurs.  Some highlights:IMG_3032

Quality of the team trumps everything else. Everything else – product, technology etc. are not as important as the team. In a startup journey, the product will change, technologies will change and pivots will happen. Hence the quality of the team is paramount to make corrections along the course.

The team has to be focused on one thing and believe in what they are doing.

VCs get tons of unsolicited mail. While they try not to miss any of them – it is better to go through a warm introduction through some common person. Otherwise, getting together will be difficult.

View from the CIOs

Chris Hjelm, Dawn Page, Jay Jayaraman, Damn Frost discussed their view of startups and what startups should consider when engaging with large enterprises.

  • Startups need to understand the business needs of the enterprises.
  • The startup’s product should solve their business problem.
  • Be relevant to their needs. For example, Mobile Security is a big pain point – and they will be very willing to anyone who has a good solution for them.
  • Don’t talk jargon to CIOs – cloud, unstructured data etc. do not excite them. That is not relevant to them. Talk to them on how you can solve their problems.
  • CIOs get tons of emails – identifying a good startup is like finding a needle in a haystack. Word of mouth is a very good medium as CIOs are very well connected with each other.
  • Be realistic about what you can and cannot do.  If a small startup promises to solve world hunger, credibility will be at risk and it can adversely affect the next steps.
  • Do your research on the CIO’s company, their technology choices and current technology investments. Most of the time, this information is freely available. Try to experience the business the CIO’s company is in and then explain to them how your solution fits into their scenario.
  • CIO’s are also looking at the business model of the startups to see if they are going to be long term players.
  • Innovation and User experience are two areas where CIOs are willing to look at new things.
  • One of the big challenges for large companies to work with small companies is scale. Usually, smaller companies do not have the resources to handle requests from a large company.
  • A good and respectable CIO has a lot of say in the company. So it is good to go through the CIO. At the same time, the business group should be excited about your solution so they can back the CIO’s decision.
  • For large companies – data is their most valuable asset. Non-essential data can be put on cloud, but the essential data has to remain on premise e.g. customer data, financial data, as that is very sensitive information.


Rapid Fire Pitches

The 50 InTech companies chosen to present in the rapid-fire pitch were selected out of the 200 applications.  Each jury member independently scored all the applicants, and the top 50 were chosen.

The InTech50 companies are of different sizes and operate in varied domains. While some of them are leaders in their space and mentioned in Gartner’s magic quadrants, some are pre-funded startups with just a handful of customers.

Most of the companies have a global customer base.  Some of the companies have customers from more than 100 countries.

The 50 companies were categorized broadly into:

  • Experience and Engagement Management
  • HR – Recruitment, Survey, Talent Management
  • BI/Analytics/Social Analytics
  • E-Commerce
  • IT Security
  • IT Services Development

IMG_3063Each company got exactly five minutes to present their product in a rapid fire pitch. Thanks to the excellent planning and execution by Manjunath Gowda of I7 Networks, it was all smoothly executed and on-schedule.

You can learn more about these 50 companies in the InTech50 Booklet.


Five awards were given at the end of the day under the following categories.

  • Most Scalable Idea – Zipdial
  • Most Original Idea – Uniken
  • Best Value Proposition – Linguanext
  • Best Pitch – Unmetric
  • Most Popular Company – Sapience/TouchMagix


Benefits to InTech50 Companies

In addition to the great learning from the expert talks and panel discussions, several companies got very good feedback from the CIOs on their product and many got good leads to pursue.   Overall, all the participants found InTech50 very valuable and were extremely grateful to iSPIRT for providing this platform.

Vasanth Kumar, Co-founder and COO of Sheild Square, said that  they got two “proof of concept” (POC) engagements at the conference.

Manjunath Gowda, CEO of I7 Networks also got two POCs and quite a few leads.

Satya Padmanabham from Zapstitch said he got to learn a lot from other companies as well about the different business models and it was a great exposure overall.

Varun Sharma from iViz security said they got good response from CIOs as well as other InTech50 award winning companies.   And it was a great platform to network.

Next InTech 50 is on April 15th and 16th 2015 at Bangalore.  Mark your calendars and be there!

India is poised for success because of the 3 D’s: Highlights of #InTech50 2014: Day 1

InTech50 is a joint initiative by iSPIRT and Terrene Global Leadership Network.  InTech50 is a showcase of some of the most promising software products created by entrepreneurs from India.  This is the 1st InTech50 and is going to be an yearly event.


The inaugural edition of InTech50 saw great participation: 50 Top Indian product companies showcased their products to 25 Global CIOs, 25 CIOs from top Indian companies, 25 top investors, angels and accelerators from US and India and several visionaries and media across India and US.

Piyush Singh and Sharad Sharma co-chaired InTech50 2014 and put together an excellent program for 2-days.  Day 1 was all about content-rich talks and panel discussions from visionaries and experts to inspire and guide the product companies. Day 2 was dedicated to the 50 InTech50 companies to pitch their products and was also interspersed with highly relevant talks and panel discussions.  This post covers Day 1, Day 2 is covered here.

Opening Session

Sharad Sharma shared some very interesting statistics in his welcome address:

  • 40% of Indian startups are in Bangalore
  • 40% of Asian statrups are in India
  • By next year, India will be the 2nd largest hub by number of startups.
  • 82% of Indian startups focus on a global market.

Read more statistics in the InTech50’s booklet.

Sharad mentioned that there are three broad areas where he sees growth in the Indian Software Product companies.

1. Software Infrastructure: This includes things such as security, BYOD, cloud, app management.

2. Decision Infrastructure: Analytics, Big Data

3. Innovative Applications.

One of the initiatives of iSPIRT is to educate small Indian businesses about SAAS potential and products. Today, this knowledge is lacking and these businesses are not informed buyers. So far, 60,000 small businesses have been trained by iSPIRT on SAAS.

Another iSPIRT initiative is working with the corporate development teams in large enterprises to foster M&A of startups.

Welcome Address

Dr. Srivatsa Krishna (IAS, Secretary for IT, BT and S&T, Government of Karnataka) enthralled the audience with his presentation on “Why India Rocks”.

Dr. Srivatsa shared interesting facts that to establish his premise of Why India Rocks.

  • Indian IT Industry contributes to 8% of GDP and 25% of exports.
  • 80 of 117 CMM Level 5 companies are Indian.
  • IT revenues grew from USD 100 million revenue in 1992 to USD 100 billion in 2013.
  • 100 Indian companies have more than $1 billion market cap.
  • 150 of Fortune 500 companies have R&D centers in India.
  • 400+ of Fortune 500 companies outsource work to India.
  • Literacy in India has crossed 80%
  • By 2020, there will be 20 lakh IT professionals in Bangalore.
  • Along with IT, Gaming and Movies is also growing big time in India. Labs in Bangalore created substantial portions of movies such as Skyfall and Life of Pi.
  • A huge Media City is being planned in Bangalore where most of the post-production work of movies is envisioned to happen. The Media City will do to the digital movie and entertainment industry what Electronic City did to the Indian IT Services Industry.
  • What started as labor arbitrage in the initial days of IT industry has now grown up in the value chain. Mu-Sigma is an example of a world-class product company from Bangalore that has now more than 4000 employees and is the 2nd largest big data analytics company in the world.

Bangalore is already the IT capital of the world. The next step is to make it the Innovation and Startup capital of the world.

Dr. Srivatsa mentioned that the government is being a catalyst and enabler. Along with the big cities, Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities such as Mysore are also being developed.

One of the initiatives is to offer land for free if the company creates jobs. For every 1000 jobs created, the Govt. of Karnataka will give 1 acre of land free on a long-term lease.  There are also exemptions from outdated labor laws and special tax breaks are available to encourage the Software industry.

On the flip side, he also mentioned that there are challenges such as being ranked 132nd in the world to do business, long time taken in courts to enforce contracts etc. The good news is that that government is working harder and faster towards making it better.

Opening Keynote

Kiran Karnik, Member, National Innovation Council, Government of India, visionary ex-President of NASSCOM, and the prestigious Padmashree award winner, delivered the keynote.IMG_3011

Mr. Karnik said that Innovation and Software Products are the two main areas that will drive growth for India.

According to him, India is poised for success because of the 3 D’s:

1. Democracy: Though there are some bottlenecks with respect to government speed and enforcements, it is trying its best to promote the industry and is improving day by day.

2. Diversity: Most of the innovations happen when there is good diversity – e.g. bay area and east coast of USA.  India also has a varied diversity and the cross-pollination fosters creativity.

3. Demographics: The largest chunk of the population of India is young and this human capital is a great asset.

India has the unique combination of cheaper, better and quicker.  Some other countries have one or two of these attributes, but India has the unique advantage of possessing all three attributes. The Indian work ethic is now famous in the world.  While this is giving an edge to India currently, our future depends on how we innovate and differentiate.

The Indian IT Services industry has done tremendous service to the country and has created a very good foundation of talent and branding. The product companies should now leverage this and take us to the next orbit. The future of India is in Software Products.

DNA of product companies is different from services companies. Not just in India, but world over, due to the different goals and business models. It is difficult for service companies to become product companies.  Startups are ones that will make disruptive products. Startups should target global markets, but they should also leverage the local markets for validation, testing and getting the product right.

Highlights And Takeaways from other sessions

Product successes are happening from India and we will see many more in the coming years.

During the early stages, startups must incentivize early adopters by giving them special deals such as co-development, deeply discounted prices, royalties etc.  From the early days on, it is best to build the product along with a live customer.

Companies should keep an eye for serendipitous events and leverage them.

Shoaib Ahmed of Tally said that they resisted the urge to take to services. They remained focused on being a product company. According to Shoaib, the key reasons for Tally’s success are the mantras of “Customer First”, “Partner Growth” and “Building a Reputation”.  They also leveraged inflection points in their industry – for example, when VAT was introduced in India.



Product Design and User Experience

Karthik Sundaram, from Purple Patch, shared his insights on product design and user experience, emphasizing that products should pay close attention to the 4Cs of great design:

1. Clarity.

2. Context (of the user).

3. Confidence (make the useful feel confident to use the tool easily)

4. Cheer (make it an enjoyable experience.

The current trends are predictive design, self-service design and ubiquitous design (across all devices).

The mindset should change from ‘What can the product do?” to “What can it do for the customer?”.  If focus is lost from the customers’ needs, the product will become irrelevant. For example, Netflix and Amazon were disruptive to Blockbuster and Barnes and Noble because they made it that much easier for the customer.

Rishi Krishnan, from IIM Indore, gave his insights on how to make product innovation work.  According to Rishi, if the following three attributes are satisfied, the chances of success increase by a large amount.

1. Painpoint. It has to solve a real painpoint for the customer.

2. Wave. The currently talked about area, which is doing the buzz.

3. Waste. Areas where there is lot of wastage are prime candidates for companies to optimize.

One example he gave was of Vigyan labs in Mysore. Vignan labs are working on controlling power consumption in data centers.  They are satisfying all the above three attributes and hence he sees a very good future according to him.

Rishikesha gave another example where he contrasted Ace Commercial Vehicle (4 wheeler for last mile transport of goods) and Nano car, both products from Tata Motors. Ace has been a tremendous success, while Nano is not. And the primary reason is that customers drove the requirements for Ace, and customers were involved at each stage from conception to delivery. Market input is key. Product managers should know how people use their product and in what context. Concepts such as lean startup are very relevant for startups.  You need to do rapid experiments to validate your assumptions. Experiment with business models too, not just technology. For example, Google does around 20,000 experiments every year – only 500 of them go live.

Mukund Mohan, from Microsoft Ventures, educated the audience about the cultural differences between Indians and Westerners using vey effective role plays. For example, how Indians expect the product to speak for itself, and focus more on the product features rather than customer needs. One of the key takeaways is to understand the customer in their context, understand their pain points and establish a personal connection.  First ensure that the counterpart is interested in doing business with you – that is the first step before looking into the merits of your offering.


Rob discussed several technical terms and valuation methodologies, making the audience realize that it is a non-trivial and complex subject. The key takeaway is that the VC financing terms are more important than pricing. Make sure you consult a professional and understand the financing terms before you sign up with investors.

Try to create a competitive process for the VCs. Having multiple VCs interested leads to a bidding process and gets the best deal for the entrepreneur.

Investment is a relationship game.  Find a VC with whom you can gel well. This is going to be a long-term relationship and it is very important that you like each other. This is the most important consideration and the not the amount of money being invested or the amount of dilution.  If possible, find an investor who has got reserves for follow-on investments. This will be useful if you need more money as the investors also want to protect their prior investments in you and will be more open to invest if they can.

Another key takeaway is to not raise money when you are desperate. Better to raise money before you get to that state. And maintain your momentum during the fund raising process to show continuous results. Find VCs whose strategy and success fits your business. Understand what is important to your prospective investors.

Manjunath Gowda sold S7 Software for US $8.5 million in 2010. S7 Software was in the space of Software Migration and built tools and provided Software Migration services. While pitching to BlueCoat – a US based company, BlueCoat expressed interest in acquiring S7 Software to become their India R&D center. The valuation was very tricky and Manjunath was recommended different models by different gurus – such as discounted cash flow analysis, multiple of annual revenue etc. Manjunath quickly realized that these models were not relevant in his situtation. Manjunath found out the real reason why BlueCoat was interested and what BlueCoat would have gained from the acquisition – in this case the engineering talent of S7 Software. Once that was clear, the valuation focused on benefit to BlueCoat and not on the standard textbook models.  To paraphrase Manju – ‘Similar to how beauty is in the eyes of beholder, valuation is in the eyes of the buyer”.

Kumar Rangarajan from Little Eye Labs, the current rock star of the Indian Software Product ecosystem (first Indian acquisition by Facebook), gave an inspiring speech about their entrepreneurial journey and how they were focused on their vision and were flexible to adapt and planned for acquisition as their exit strategy.

Please continue reading the highlights of day 2 here.



#InTech50 – The Secret Sauce

InTech50 is a big success.  The visiting CIOs went back happy. The InTech50 startups are pleased with their POCs and leads. Press has celebrated the new platform and has heralded its importance to the Indian IT industry.

Bk2T11PIIAAvVkGThey say that the biggest enemy of success is fear of failure. No, that’s not true. The greatest enemy of success is hubris. This happens when one forgets the core driver behind the success. In our case, this core reason for success is our volunteer model. And, at this moment of success, I want to take a few minutes to talk about the volunteer heroism that went into InTech50.

Nobody illustrates this volunteer heroism better than Manju Gowda (i7 Networks). In spite of his startup being a critical phase in its buildout he made magic happen. He looked up 350, yes 350 product startups, and wrote to them about InTech50 explaining why they should file an application. He also anonymously wrote all the InTech50 blogposts! He reached out to the Indian CIOs as well. And he is the one who came up with the idea of using tables instead of booths (which worked well and saved Rs 5L). He ran the 50 pitches like clockwork using his grace and humor. This ate into his own presentation preparation but he never complained. If you ever need an example of a selfless, passionate and heroic volunteer, please think of him.

Besides Manju, Praveen Hari (ThinkFlow), Sumeet Anand (Kreeo), Aditya Bhelande (Yukta) and Nakul Saxena (iSPIRT) were other active volunteers. There are two other people who were instrumental to InTech50.

Arvind Kochar is one of them. This was his first time at this and he stayed on top of everything on his plate. He displayed stamina and speed over the six months of planning.

Avinash Raghava – well, what does one way about him other than that he was his usual self: a superman saint. He let nothing fall through the cracks. He kept innumerable balls in the air. In his inimitable way he brought out the best in everybody that he touched. It’s an open secret that everything that iSPIRT does has “Avinash-inside”.

The most important person behind InTech50 is Piyush Singh (Co-Chair). He is the one who turned a hazy dream about creating a new platform into reality. He had the gumption to go to his fellow CIOs and tell them that India will be a Product Nation and they must come and leverage this opportunity today. It was a tough sell. They viewed India as a land of services, not products. And needed to carve out a whole week on their calendar to be at InTech50 for two days. Piyush pulled it off and we had 25 Global CIOs here. This is a testament to his missionary zeal and deep-seated confidence in the Indian software product companies. Like other Founder Circle members of iSPIRT, he truly believes in the larger “Product Nation” cause. But what’s most striking about him is that he has no airs and is a doer par excellence. He worked alongside everybody else as another volunteer. How many Fortune 500 CIOs you know who will do that?

We have learnt over the years that no path breaking effort is a straight line. What makes magic happen is the heroism of iSPIRT volunteers. These thoughtful practitioners are at the core of what we do.  They are ones who make the ecosystem better and lift all boats.  We salute them as we celebrate the success of the first InTech50.

Innovation Leaders coming from India #InTech50

We are only 9 days away from the inaugural showcase event.   We are  looking forward for the CIOs to dawn upon Bangalore to see the InTech50 – 2014 companies.  These are the 50 best Enterprise Indian Startups as selected by the Advisory Board.

Providing the startups exposure to Innovation leaders is a huge step in their validation and evolution to next stage.

Let me take the opportunity to welcome the CIOs from India who are going to be at the event. Their presence will bolster the startup activity in India and we are hopeful that it will give it the necessary fillip for these innovative companies to positively impact the Indian corporate enterprises.

Below is a list of luminaries from India who are going to be present for the occasion. Let’s all welcome them to the occasion:

  • Anil Khatri, Head IT, South Asia, SAP
  • Annie Mathew, CIO, Mother Diary
  • Atul Jayawant, Group CIO, Aditya Birla Group
  • Avinash Velhal, Group CIO, Atos India Pvt Ltd
  • Darshan Appayanna, CIO, Happiest Minds
  • Harish Lade, General Manager IT, Asian paints
  • Harmeen Mehta, CIO, Bharti Airtel
  • Meheriar Patel, CIO, USV Ltd.
  • Nandkishor Dhomne, VP-IT & CIO, Manipal Enterprises Pvt, Ltd
  • Raghuram M, Group CIO, Mphasis
  • Sameer Ratolikar, CISO, Axis Bank
  • Srinivas KRD, CIO, Cairn India Limited
  • Subrahmanya Gupta, Boda Group, CSIO, GMR infrastructure ltd.
  • Sudip Banerjee, CIO, Reliance Capital
  • Sumit Chowdhury, President & CIO, Reliance Jio Infocom
  • Suneel Aradhye, Group CIO, RPG Enterprises
  • Viral Gandhi, CIO, Cox and Kings
  • VVR Mohan Babu, CIO, ITC

We will soon be sharing another list of Innovators who will be participating at InTech50

Last 10 Finalists: #InTech50 Most Innovative Products from India

The countdown to InTech50 has begun – as we are nearing the event that takes place on April 9-10, 2014 in Bangalore, to witness the 50 Most Innovative Products from India.

We now present the last 10 finalists for InTech50 2014 Most Innovative Products after announcing 40 finalists in our previous rounds. (See the complete list here)

  • AppExe from Mobilous is a zero programming product building tool that requires no development expertise. Apps built by AppExe are fully cross-platform –iOS, Android, Windows … including HTML5 capable. It offers easy integration plug-in framework to connect with backend databases – SAP, Oracle etc.
  • CereBrate is a digital platform for hospitals to manage customer experience and engagement. The product’s intuitive and powerful analytics enables the hospital management to identify areas of concerns and take action. Seamless integration with Hospital Information System using HL7 allows hospitals to ensure enhanced customer experience.
  • Continuity Patrol™ from PerpetuuitiTechnosoft, based on BS25999 standard provides full automation of the workflow activities that enables a single-click Disaster Recovery solution to enterprises. Its real-time dashboard provides ‘C’ level executives with complete visibility into health of the DR environment and services. Its cloud based business model helps customers maximize cost savings in a virtualized environment.
  • Heckyl – FIND provides real time news and data analytic platform for retail traders and brokerages. The app gets integrated with trading terminals to provide quality Information, Visuals, Heat Maps of Sentiments and Market Data to help traders find trading opportunities in this dynamic market.
  • Interview Master is based on the concept of automated video interviews, which comes with provision for recruiters to pre-design questions, setup interviews, and invite any number of candidates quickly and efficiently. This is followed by an automated process that also helps candidates with limited technical knowledge to attend interviews that are available in a structured inbuilt evaluation tool to the line manager at his convenience.
  • InstaClique is an engagement and conversion solution for E-commerce stores that converts casual online viewers to real customers by re-creating the social offline buying experience. This enables virtual shoppers get a personalized experience based on their shopping activities and preferences.
  • ILANTUS Unified Express  provides one-time sign on for all browser based application with self-service password and synchronization. Users can seamlessly access any browser based, web or cloud applications on their workstation without retyping their username/password. This helps enterprises adopt cloud applications in a secured way by providing industry standard protocol based on single sign on.
  • Linguify from LinguaNext is a zero-code change application solution that helps transform the way global corporations, software application vendors, and system integrators address the multi-language requirements for their applications. Linguify translates screens, reports and files to any language without requiring access to the application source code or database.
  • Notiphi is a leader in location analytics. By directly measuring locations through smart phones and leveraging big data technologies, Notiphi is able to understand the real-world paths and consumer behavior patterns, which empowers brands to send relevant rich media content to focused audiences.
  • ZapStitch is a Cloud data integration platform. It lets you seamlessly sync and integrate data between various Cloud/SaaS business apps without any custom programming or engaging API developers. The product meets the requirements of business managers who want to flawlessly integrate and sync data between these apps.

We congratulate all the 50 companies who have made it to InTech50. We also take this opportunity to thank each one of you for your participation and interest in InTech50 nominations.

Let’s keep the spirits high!