The purpose of this post is to share with my fellow entrepreneurs or aspiring entrepreneurs a great organization called “TiE,” along with a valuable opportunity to attend their global conference that takes place every year in the heart of Silicon Valley. Originally named “The Indus Entrepreneurs,” their name now stands for “The Inclusive Entrepreneurs,” and they hold meetings and events at regional chapters throughout the year.
I am always glad to visit Silicon Valley, headquarters for high-tech entrepreneurs and startups, where I attended the TiEinflect (formerly TiECon) conference for the second year in a row. Most of the 5000+ attendees being from the Indian sub-continent serves as a reminder of how the US remains a magnet for attracting talents to organize entrepreneurs’ efforts in the pursuit of passion and profit. All these participants and an abundance of speakers brought a lot of energy and excitement to the event. There were many words of wisdom to learn from back-to-back sessions, panel discussions, and keynotes that shed light on the power of learning from others. Two aspects were different for me this year:
- Executive and leadership meeting with global chapter leaders: TiE global has close to 60+ chapters from sunny California to energetic Tokyo. Here I found out that TiE Oregon has an intensive boot camp for people from minority communities called TiE XL. I was also introduced to TiE Angel, an increasingly popular program among a lot of TiE Chapters, which invests in promising companies and provides a platform to reach out to the deep-pocket VCs and fund managers in the valley.
- We had a booth in the exhibit hall along with our IT partner Sam IT solutions at TiEInflect, where we distributed educational materials and fielded questions about our products and the Healthcare IT industry landscape.
I will try to summarize my top 3 takeaways for my fellow entrepreneurs:
1. It is never too late
For those who think they are too old to start something on their own, you need to listen to Romesh Wadhwani, who is in his 70s yet had 37 successful exits and is working on a multi-billion dollar opportunity on AI. His group of companies called SymphonyAI, which is only a couple of years old, has already made 300 million dollars in sales last year and is shooting for 600 to 700 million this year. His advice to startups in the coming decade is to “AIfy” the product as much as possible and find opportunities in verticals to add value. His bottom line advice to entrepreneurs is to “Just do it.” Another speaker who impressed me a lot is Jyothi Bansal, who had sold his 8+ year old company AppDynamics to Cisco for $3.5B in 2016. Mr.Bansal’s advice to the audience is to build your company with a solid team and effectively use Linkedin to find the next customer.
2. A slew of healthcare products coming to the market
Our booth attracted a lot of healthcare software product vendors who are trying to solve the ever-growing healthcare market challenges with their innovative approach. Some of the key areas to keep an eye are telehealth, remote care, and patient engagement. Most of the startups we talked with have a simple cloud-based (AWS/Azure) setup, with a very small team of developers across the globe. We happened to speak to a few angel investors and VCs as well, and it looks like there is lot of money chasing good ideas with some good market traction. It is amazing how much you learn by talking to industry professionals and their pain points.
3. Importance of the California market
Every time when I go back to California I feel I missed an opportunity by moving out of the area in 2003. If you are positioning your product/services, you definitely need to strategize for the California market, which is home to 40+ million people and recently overtook UK as the 5th largest economy in the world. Your initial validation and traction in this market provides a blueprint on how to launch your product/services in the rest of the world. The wealth of talent and commoditized startup culture provides you the feedback much sooner than any other area.
There was plenty of passionate no-nonsense advice by the speakers/panelists to all budding entrepreneurs, much more than I can cover in this blog post. It was well worth the trip, and I am looking forward to connecting with the leads (already converted a couple into customers), speakers, and TiE global members to build our company and give back to the entrepreneurship community. In my humble opinion, TiE membership benefits and TiE global conference benefits are among the most understated products in the world. I came away thinking that if anyone wants to gain access to Silicon Valley and the growing worldwide markets, TiE is the gateway.
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