Indian startups meet global investors at Connect2Investors Conclave 2022



An Indian American, Ashok Shanmugam, is at the heart of an innovative initiative that connects startups and global investors. Shanmugam co-founded Connect2Investors which recently organized the Connect2Investors Conclave 2022 in Chennai to get those with startup dreams to meet investors from across the world on a common platform.

Connect2Investors and many leading Incubation Centers, including GIEC, MIT, MSSW, MCC- MRF Innovation, AIIRF-EDI, Sathyabama TBI, and Sri Sairam Innovations, hosted an in-person event in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India on August 24, 25 and 26 that saw the conglomeration of founders, investors, entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and academicians to discuss the booming startup ecosystem in India.

India is the third largest startup ecosystem in the world and is quickly climbing the unicorns ranking list with its 107 unicorns with a total valuation of $ 340.79 billion. Indian startups are attracting investments from global investors.

The event will see startup pitches – Connect2Investors Demo Days – starting from September 21 onwards which will act as a common platform connecting startups from all sectors across India and investors across the globe. The wannabe entrepreneurs can pitch their startup ideas to a panel of jury members which include investors, successful entrepreneurs, and executives from top corporates and startups.

The Connect2Investors Conclave began with the traditional lighting of the lamp by Prof. Neelavathy Pari, Dr. Selvakumar, Mohan Raju, and Nivesh. The welcome address was delivered by Ashok Shanmugam, Co-Founder & CEO of Connect2Investors, followed by the grand keynote address, keynotes, fireside keynotes, and panel discussions.

The conclave had more than 50 Indian speakers, 5 virtual speakers from the US, 1 virtual speaker from Australia, and chief guests from Mauritius. “We are part of the Indian startup ecosystem and provide support for funding, mentoring, and networking of Indian startups. Our Partners are TiE Silicon Valley, TiE Chennai. Our incubation partners include the ATCC, CTMA, and close to 15 other partners,” said the organizers of the Connect2Investors Conclave.

Chief guests at the conclave included Aroomogam Parasuraman, former education minister and former director of UNESCO in Mauritius; Mohan Raju, VP, Reliance Jio; Muthuramaman, Director, EDII; Nand Kishore Chaudhary, Chairman and Managing Director, Jaipur Rugs.

The Grand Keynote address on August 24 was delivered by AGK Karunakaran, TiE Silicon Valley President, and moderated by Preethy Padmanabhan, Advisor, Board Member, and Marketing Executive at Fresh Works, Silicon Valley.

The topic for the first-panel was ‘How does the Indian startup ecosystem help Indian startups’. The session was moderated by Sharmila Devi, co-director of Startup Grind, Madurai, and panelists were Mohan Raju, Vice President, and Vertical Head IOT, Reliance Jio; Dr. C.R. Rene Robin, Director of Innovation, Sai Ram Institutions; and Dr. Sampath Dorairajan.

The second-panel topic was “Investment opportunities for healthcare startups in India compared to the global ecosystem”. Dr. Mohamed Adil A.A, CEO of GIEC, Vinayaka Mission’s research foundation, Ecosystem enabler, and Investor, moderated the session in which the panelists included Dr. Thangarajan Rajkumar, Clinical oncologist, Cancer Institute, Dr. M.S. Narayanan, Principal scientist IIT Madras Bioincubator, Dr. Ashok Kumar P, Professor, and Oncology Scientist BSACIST, Dr. Janani CEO and Founder Geneaura, Koushik Sekhar, Enlighten VC.

The second-day event on August 25 started with the Grand Keynote being delivered by Chinnu Senthilkumar, Managing Director, Exfinity Ventures. The other notable keynote speakers were Subramaniam Iyer, Keiretsu Forum, Co-President, Chennai, and Singapore; Mahesh Ramachandran, an investor from Chennai; Prof Jonathan, SFSU, USA; Dr. Shantha Mohna, Mentor, CMU and Co-author, Demystifying AI for the Enterprise, Silicon Valley; Dr. Ezhil Vendan, Dean, Vinayaga Missions Medical College; Mr. Venkat Kumaresan, author, speaker, and executive from Chennai; and Vedanarayanan Vedantham, marketing executive, Microsoft.

Events of the third day began with the address of the Principal of MSSW, Raja Samuels, followed by the Head of the Department of Social Entrepreneurship, Mr. Anthony Stephen. The underlying theme of the keynote addresses that followed was the importance of social enterprises and the key to their sustainability.

The topic for the fourth panel was ‘Social enterprises – attractions, hurdles and requirements in society/market’. Prof. Jackson was the moderator of the session, and the panelists were Archana Stalin, founder of My Harvest, Vasant Tamilselvan, founder and CEO of Ariro, Wooden Toys; and Rishi, Founder, and CEO of Symbionic Chennai.

‘Entrepreneurship for profits’ was discussed in the fifth-panel discussion which was moderated by Prof. Pravin of the Social Entrepreneurship department of MSSW. The panelists were Ajith Mathai from mbyom, John Rajkumar from Maithree, and Karthick shiva from Thuvakkam. The key takeaway was that profit-making is also one of the ultimate aspects of creating social change through social entrepreneurship.

The three-day event concluded with the valediction, felicitation, and a vote of thanks delivered by Ashok Shanmugam, CEO, Connect2Investors, and Dr. Mohamed Adil, CEO of GIEC, VMRF.

About Connect2Investors Co-Founder

Shanmugam co-founded Connect2Investors and launched Connect2Investors Conclave 2022 in India to help startups and investors connect seamlessly. After the 3-day conclave held in August, the Demo Days of Sector Agnostic Startup Pitches began on September 19.

Shanmugam has been in Silicon Valley for the past 20 years and prior to Connect2Investors, he worked in many technology firms, including Oracle US, Kohls Inc, Barclays Investment Bank, Wells Fargo Bank NA, Panasonic US, ABB US, in US. He is part of a couple of Global Entrepreneurship nonprofit organizations that foster startup entrepreneurship initiatives. Ashok has been associated with TiE Silicon Valley for the past 12 years. Ashok holds an MBA in Marketing & Systems and an undergraduate degree in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Madras, India.



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