ATEA North East conference boost for entrepreneurs


The North East chapter of the American Tamil Entrepreneur’s Association (ATEA) hosted a virtual conference with a variety of speakers and entertainers Saturday, September 26.

Arun Bhikshesvaran, CEO of Hillsboro, Oregon-based Radisys, delivered the opening keynote and spoke about his life journey.

He came to the United States in the ’90s, to the University of Texas at Arlington, with just enough money to last him a month. He had to work double shifts to make ends meet.

He found several mentors along the way, which he likened to water for the soil that helped him grow from his first job at Ericsson — where he rose to be the Head of Strategy and shuttled from Sweden to Gurgaon to Plano, Texas — to be the CMO at MediaKind to the CEO of Radisys.

This was followed by an informative session on real estate investments, moderated by realtor Velankanni Raj.

The panelists were Ashish Sanan of Wealthy Minds and Karthik Sundaram of Purple Patch. Both underlined the stability of real estate investments.

Next was a panel of women speakers who spoke about “Unleashing your Potential.”

The panel was moderated by Karen Roth, RD and a wellness dietitian. The panelists included Rashim Mogha, Founder of eWOW; Sonali Sambhus, VP, GM at Square; Anu Shultes, CEO of Lendup Global; and Preethy Padman, Head of Product Marketing at Freshworks.

Karen did an excellent job of getting the panelists to open up and share their personal journeys on how they were successful in unleashing their potential. Some of the sage advise included taking care of oneself — through exercise and meditation and surrounding yourself by people that believe in you.

After a short break, Ranghan Venkatraman, founder of Rezilyens, gave a talk on “Product Market Fit.”

In some sense, this is the holy grail of being an entrepreneur. Magic happens when a great idea or product meets a great market.

Venkatraman provided examples of the missteps in market fit done by companies like Segway — despite getting the backing from stalwarts like Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos and John Doerr.

We have to kiss a lot of frogs before we find a prince,” Venkat said.

His keynote was followed by a 30-minute entertainment break by stand-up comedians Anant, GK and Nidarchana.

Next there was a panel on “Reel Deal” — on media and entertainment investments.

Moderated by newly minted film producer Venky Sadagopan, the panelists included Pooja Kumar, former Miss India USA; Oscar-winning computer graphics wizard Cottalango Leon; and Kunal Rajan, sound designer and film producer.

The conversation focused on the criteria people should use to determine on media investments.

The startup showcase that followed featured eight startups. Five of them were Silicon Valley companies and three were sponsors for the event.

The three-event sponsors that presented were: Ganesh Radhakrishnan, Flipserve; Venky Sadagopan, Universe Ccreations (producing a children’s movie) and Ask Era.

The five Silicon Valley startups were: Sri Ramaswamy, Infinilytics; Ezhilarasan Natarajan, CoreStack; Adithya Murali, Swirepay; Anitha Beberg, SevaExchange; G Venkat, bitWise Academy.

The event concluded with a keynote address by Krish Ramakrishnan and Alagu Periyannan, founders of BlueJeans. The viewers got to see them earlier as observers / mentors during the startup showcase.

Krish and Alagu conducted the keynote in the format of a fireside chat among themselves. The core values they instilled in the company from the beginning, they said, were trust and honesty, transparency and people first. They established a goal back in 2009 to make video conferencing as easy to use as the telephone – inexpensive and at scale.

It was an inspiring keynote and the viewers gleaned valuable insights on growing and scaling a company.

Overall, the ATEA Regional Conference offered a wide variety of topics for budding entrepreneurs and professionals.

The event was ably emceed by Ponnarasi Raj, and the ATEA executive team of Ram Nagappan, CIO BNY Mellon, Pershing; Lena Kannappan, Leader of Business Operations for HealthCare Triangle; Siva Moopanar, President of Edify Technologies and Prabakaran Murugaiah, CEO of TechFetch kicked the event off by providing a glimpse of the upcoming programs and events from ATEA.

The entire event can be viewed on the ATEA YouTube channel: