Monday, July 23, 2007

The second edition of was held on 21st and 22nd of July at IIT, Madras. was an event that brought together tech startup companies, angel investors, VCs and entrepreneurs under a single roof.

What is, anyway?
In simple terms, the selected tech startups are given exactly 6 minutes of stage time to demo their prototype (or completed product!) to a select gathering consisting of investors, other entrepreneurs and the press. In this second edition, 22 companies presented their work. More than 2o VC firms were present over the two days. About 300 participants witnessed the event.

It's an ideal platform for tech startups to showcase their product, get feedback, get approached by VCs and other investors, get covered by the press, make a marketing pitch - simply, get noticed!

What did I gain?
I was rather lucky that I registered myself on time, otherwise I wouldn't have got a seat! Before attending the event my expectation was to meet a few established entrepreneurs, get a few essential info on startups and to give some sort of shape to the now vague dreams I have about starting and successfully running a company. I wasn't disappointed!

The first day was full of lectures by established entrepreneurs on various topics of interest to the entrepreneurial community. In the business track, I especially liked the sessions from Sekar Vembu on 'BootStrapping' and from Ashish Gupta on 'Build to flip or last'. Under the tech track, Sanjay swamy, CEO of mCheck, gave a good insight into the opportunities in the mobile space in India. He pointed out that even if a mobile service can capture 1% of the user base market, they have a big market to cater to (1% of 200 million users turns out to be 2 million!). He didn't fail to pin point some of the challenges prevailing in the space.

More than the sessions, I enjoyed the opportunity to network with lot of entrepreneurs. This is the first time I could see so many CEOs, MDs, Directors .. at the same place.

The second day featured the main event - presentation by the selected companies. There was good representation from the Internet and web 2.0 section, closely followed by the mobile sector. Every company presented their work uniquely - some companies resorted to just PowerPoint, some demoed their product and some even choreographed a real life incident where their product would help. The company Thinxworks, an animation company, played a movie depicting their work.

The organising committee led by Vijay did a wonderful job! All the events started and ended at the scheduled time.

Looking forward to the next edition of Proto...

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