TiE Chennai is one of the well run voluntary organisations in the city that’s aimed at promoting entrepreneurship and fostering networking amongst its members. Every year, it’s annual TiECON is a mega event featuring talks by industry leaders and panel discussions by experts and rising stars. This year too was no different.
In parallel to breakouts, there was “Pitchfest”, which was speed dating for investors and start-ups. Along with Kritik & Venkatesh, Directors of Anjana Software, I met with startups that were shortlisted by TiE Chennai. The energy and passion of the founders were certainly infectious. The companies we had met were:
- Buttalks – Underwear subscription service for men
- Turmswear – Performance wear fashion brand
- ThoughtBit – GST Compliance Platform
- FoodStreet – Micro Kitchens for Micro Markets
- CosGrid – Software-defined WAN
- FewClix – email productivity app for Outlook
- Focuz – AR Experience for Print Media. I had met them earlier during the prelim rounds
Ma Foi Mr K. Pandiarajan, Minister of Tamil Development – Government of Tamil Nadu talked about three things that are slowing the entrepreneurship growth in Tamil Nadu. In his views, these were the conservative nature of businesses here due to they getting fragmented after every succession; risk averse for seeking equity investments, instead prefer debt funding primarily from banks; Lack of fire in college campuses for becoming entrepreneurs. He mentioned few niche industries that are unique to the place like Rameswaram (Conch shell bangles consumed in West Bengal), Karur and Virudhunagar.
He talked of the rich heritage of the state, going back to 3000 years during Sangam period where a young king dies in the open seas after venturing out seeking new lands; quoting the poem written by the king “கடலுள் மாய்ந்த இளம் பெருவழுதி“:
உண்டால் அம்ம இவ் வுலகம் இந்திரர்
அமிழ்தம் இயைவது ஆயினும் இனிது எனத்
தமக்கு என முயலா நோன் தாள்
பிறர்க்கு என முயலுயர் உண்மை யானே.
இப்பாடலின் மையக் கருத்து: கிடைத்தது அமிழ்தம் என்றாலும் தனியாக உண்ணமாட்டார். எவரிடத்தும் வெறுப்பினைக் காட்டார். இலக்கை அடையுமுன் தூங்கமாட்டார். பழிக்கு அஞ்சுவார். புகழை மட்டுமே கருதுவார்; பொருளை ஒருபோதும் கருதார். சோம்பலை ஒழித்து,, கொண்ட கடமையில் கருத்தாக இருப்பார். தனக்கு என எதையும் செய்யாது பிறர் நலத்திற்காகவே எதையும் செய்வார். இப்படிப்பட்ட மாண்புடையார் சிலர் உலகில் வாழ்வதால்தான் வானம் பொழிகிறது பூமி விளைகிறது.
Mr R. G. Chandramogan – Chairman of Hatsun Agro Product Ltd, spoke about how Hatsun is running one of the largest and efficient logistics business internally to transport the milk they collect from their centres. Once E & Y had studied their operations, and, didn’t find any further scope for improvement – that’s when Mr Chandramohan had asked E & Y to pay him for their learnings from Hatsun. In his experience, he says it is easier to transform a “committed person to become a professional”, rather than vice-versa. And “Too much analysis will cause paralysis” added Mr Chandramohan.
Mr Sunny Verghese – Co-Founder & Group CEO of Olam, talked about their journey of how they got to become a leading agri-business operating from seed to shelf in 70 countries, supplying food and raw materials to over 23,000 customers worldwide, in many businesses including cocoa, coffee, cashew, rice and cotton.
This year, I spent most of the two days of TiECON 2017 mostly outside the main conference hall, in the hallways – loads of networking, chatting with old friends and meeting new people. It was informative & fun.