The sight of hundreds of enthusiastic entrepreneurs, investors, venture capitalists, lawyers and other professionals from all over the world at the annual two-day networking event titled Entrepreneurship Unbounded-Inspiration from Frontlines from May 16 and 17 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California seemed to defy the milieu of an economic slowdown in the US. The Indus Entrepreneurs (TIE) - the best of its kind global networking organization, organises the annual convention.
In the words of Vish Mishra- venture director at Clearstone Venture Partners at the panel titled- What VCs Look For, "There are a lot of problems in the world that need entrepreneurial energy and passion to be solved and there is enough venture capital to be invested in stellar ideas."
Echoing similar sentiments, other venture capitalists also suggested the potential entrepreneurs to be sensitive in responding to the pain points of companies and customers.
Deepak Kamra, general partner at Canaan Partners, opined: "Entrepreneurs involved in solving real issues of customers either via business model innovation or technological innovation in enterprise, customer or service sectors attract me."
He gave the example of Success Factors--a company involved in automating, streamlining and innovating the performance review process for companies as a successful model to be imbibed as an example of going after a new niche area.
All the panelists were lucid about entrepreneurs bringing a value proposition for investment.
Sanjay Subhedar of Storm Ventures said, "For a first time entrepreneur, we look for strength of the idea, passion for the purpose they are after and domain knowledge. For serial entrepreneurs, a name behind a plan and reputation of an entrepreneur is sometimes enough to seal the deal. He further added; "Competition is one of the most corrosive things that can happen to a start up and first of its kind ideas are a great magnet."
The investors also elucidated the need by entrepreneurs to have a clear communication methodology that can live to the adage-brevity is the soul of a conversation for their business ideas before approaching an investor for funding.
However, though most of the venture capital business is still a local business, the investors talked enthusiastically about ground presence in other geographic locations like India, Israel, China and other countries to invest in the growing entrepreneurial spirit in these emerging economies.
While Silicon Valley attracts a daily venture investment of around $30 million, the venture capitalists lucidly pointed emergence of great business ideas from other places. The gurus also encouraged the entrepreneurs to do their due diligently on their investors and not to ignore the soft factors like getting along and sharing a compatible chemistry for a successful long-term relationship.
The most vital value add of the annual Tie conference was the interaction and networking where business cards were exchanged and hands were shook to initiate and seal business relationships. An entire ecosystem from advisors and investors to lawyers and public relations executives come together to provide end-to-end services for companies of various sizes.
Besides networking amongst old and new business associates and partners, the convention also features top of the line business leaders to provide inspirational ideas and methodologies.
This year one of the keynote speakers was Bill Campbell-Chairman of the Intuit Board. He said, "Being a CEO of a company is all about working with people, including building trust, retaining the best talent and helping people achieve their dreams.
He added, "I tell young people, integrity and honesty will be with you always. Build your professional character by directness and truthfulness to all. I spend 40% of my time mentoring CEOs of new companies via one on one interaction. The most difficult part of being a CEO is not to be imperial and act as the smartest guy in the room."