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:
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
- IT Security
- IT Services Development
Each 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!