CERRITOS, Calif. – The TiE SoCal chapter brought its 2019 year of activity to an end with a well-attended meet at the Sheraton Hotel here Nov. 13 featuring keynote speaker Sushil Tyagi, founder of Berkeley Marine Robotics. The Indian American entrepreneur is married to his classmate, Amelia Warren, daughter of Senator Elizabeth Warren.
The event started with a brief highlight and celebration of accomplishments by the TiE SoCal Chapter under the two terms of the current president, Smita Bagla, which included the launch of TiE SoCal Angels that enabled investment of over $1 million in member startups. Partnerships with major investment groups were also launched during her tenure and an increase in the number of active TiE SoCal charter members from 20 to 62. On the occasion, Bagla introduced her successor, Anshuman Sinha, who will take over as TiE SoCal president for 2020.
In his talk, Tyagi engaged the crowd with his personal journey, which began from a village in India. He spoke of being the son of a hardworking policeman, who moved every year to wherever his father was posted, winning a scholarship to IIT Delhi and then moving to UC Berkeley to specialize in ocean engineering. After his MBA, he worked as a management consultant for PWC in their media and technology group in Los Angeles.
Tyagi further captured the attention of the audience with an informative and enlightening session on ocean exploration. He pointed out that 90% of the oceans and 95% of the seafloor are still unmapped. Also fascinating was that there are more than three million shipwrecks carrying history and mystery, and of those less than 1% have been explored. Since there is no GPS or Wifi underwater and radio signals attenuate rapidly, any ocean exploration is expensive, dangerous, and complicated, Tyagi said. His company and others are working towards resolving some of the hurdles of underwater navigation and communication through autonomous robotics.
The final session was a fireside chat by Navneet Chugh, founding member of TiE SoCal, with Tyagi. Chugh emphasized the important role of the 4.2 million people from India in today’s American economy. The discussion flowed on how Tyagi met Amelia and the warm, caring relationship between Senator Warren and her three grandchildren, Octavia, Lavinia, and Atticus. The chat continued with anecdotes about the Warren and Tyagi families watching Hindi movies, eating Indian food, and their family trips to India. One engaging anecdote revolved around the visits to Tyagi’s hometown of Dehradun for family ceremonies which were attended by Senator Warren and her husband, Prof. Bruce Mann, alongside relatives from nearby villages in north India.