CERRITOS, Calif. — Southern California’s premier entrepreneurship conference, TiEcon 2019 Southwest, was held Sept. 29 at the Cerritos Sheraton hotel here and once again attracted hundreds of people, mostly in the 30-45 age group.
Appropriately enough, it also seemed to draw those who were primarily looking to build their own companies, largely from the Indian American community. Many pitched their businesses to investors and were seen in intense discussions. Meanwhile, investors and others, during the breaks, browsed the displays and tables set up by budding entrepreneurs. It was interesting to note that ideas ranged from software and ecofriendly dinnerware to spiritualism.
The full day event kicked off with introductions by Anshuman Sinha, the organization’s president-elect 2020; chapter president Smita Bagla, whose second tenure as president ends this year; and Ashish Saboo, membership director.
Featured speakers included Nitin Rai, managing director at Elevate Capital and an angel investor. Pradeep Khosla, Indian American Chancellor of UC San Diego, in his speech, told the audience that for success, a person needs to be a self-starter, have entrepreneurial thinking to avail of the opportunities provided, and needs to follow a simple vision, which he called “destination.” Vijay Talwar, CEO of Foot Locker, spoke of his experience in consumer products, driving productivity and capitalizing on growth opportunities.
The fireside chat with Ashok Amritraj, Hollywood producer and former professional tennis player who has represented India, with Sonia Bhalla caught everyone’s interest. Amritraj offered anecdotes of lessons learned at the family dinner table in Chennai, the journey thereon from tennis to movie making, and his fascinating experiences with many actors.
The address by Consul General of India Sanjay Pandya was informative and filled with praise for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
There were several panels hosted including “Strategic Partnerships” by Brian Frankel; “AI and ML” by Mangesh Mahajan, Neil Sahota, Sunil Hadap, Amit Rao and Vijay Ganti; “Ideas on how to redefine your pitch decks” by Bill Waldo and Harshel Mehta; while “Transforming health care and med-tech” featured Gunjan Bagla, Sangam Pant, Dr. Sanjay Shrivastava and Raj Nihalani.
The “Design thinking and innovative product design” workshop was conducted by Deepa Prahalad, Smita Bagla and Kalika Gupta. “Trends affecting digital transformation in corporations” was addressed by Pramod Kunju, Gary Ahwah, David Subar, Ankit Brahmkshatri, Vish Nath and Basker Krishnan; while Azad Virk spoke on “Raising capital – nuts and bolts of convertible debt and equity financing.”
There were also panels on “How to do business with government,” advice on data protection, and “Opportunities and challenges of doing business in India” with Gunjan Bagla, Amit Rajnekar, Anil Advani, Mark Masten and Pat Cassidy, which was an eye opener, conveying the message that profession guidance is needed when venturing into Indian markets. Other discussions included “Camera improv for business and entertainment professionals”; relaxation techniques were featured in the workshop on “Mental wellness”; and “Technology trends in connected entertainment.”
Insights were also offered from successful entrepreneurs Ram Gopal Rao, Venkat Tadanki, Prabodh Mathur and Nanxi Liu. Shalin Govil-Pai gave an inspiring keynote speech on “Technology empowering media and TV.” A humorous fireside chat was presented by Navneet Chugh and Seema Kumar on “Raising the profile of women.”
Costa Mesa Investor Summit
A day earlier, on Sept. 28, TiE SoCal hosted its inaugural Investor Summit in Costa Mesa at the Center Club. The programming included speeches by Shankar Ram, chair, TiE SoCal Angels; and Ravi Sharma, investor summit chair. The keynote was by Nitin Rai and featured an investor panel on the "Titan Mindset."
The TiE10 (Titan) SoCal Startup winners were selected from entries from all over the country, including WeVo, Safe-Rx., TotalSynch, BizQualify, weThink, Classic Stills, Summit Technology Laboratory, Vision, Event Hollow and Vyrill.