New president plans to build on TiE SoCal’s strengths

Consolidation, representation, expansion

Ashish Saboo, the new president of TiE SoCal says an energized team could do the group power of good.


Ritu Jha-


Ashish Saboo, whose two-year term as president of TiE SoCal started Jan. 1, says his objective is to retain members his predecessor brought in, bring in more women members, and focus on youth ambassadors in college.

Saboo, an angel investor and a co-founder of Startup Steroid, joined TiE SoCal in 2010, told indica about his plans as president.

Founded in 1997, TiE SoCal was the first TiE chapter outside Silicon Valley and made its mission inspiring, fostering and supporting entrepreneurship.

“Anshuman and I have been working since the past year…and we have to do more,” Saboo said, referring to how Anshuman Sinha, the immediate past president, helped increase charter members from 47 to 167.

“This whole concept of a TiE president-elect really helps, because then you are working closely with the current president, kind of shadowing him in most of the things. So, you hit the ground running when you step in.”

Saboo expressed pleasure that most of the people he will be working with are go-getters and have been working with the team for long.

“There is a lot of continuity from the old team, which I have worked with for several years,” he said.

Saboo said he plans to focus not only on adding more charter members but also on creating more programs and initiatives to engage the current members.

“The last one-and-a-half years it was really about numbers,” he said, explaining that the pandemic had halted many events that allowed for physical presence.

“Now they have come, the focus should be on how to retain them, create value for them and get some value from them back to TiE and the whole community,” he said. “That is what we are trying to do here.”

But there was one area Saboo hopes to increase membership.

“If you look at the charter members, out of 167 people, we have only 10 women charter members, which is a very [small number]. That is want we want to increase,” he said.

But, already, he said, for the first time Tie SoCal will have women as the social chair, philanthropic chair, and outreach chair. This, he said, would ensure more woman representation are at the top.

“We are planning to reach out to various women’s organizations to join the events,” he said, adding that one way to drive the effort was to have “couple memberships,” in which a spouse could get a 50 percent discount of the charter member fee of $1,500.

“We are launching this because we have had discussions with a few women, and our women chair Monisha Coelho was confident about this idea,” Saboo said, adding that some women had told Coelho of plans to join as independent members.
Saboo also described plans for youth-focused activities, involving engaging with high school and college students.

“We are going to offer free memberships. They don’t have to worry about the annual fee. They can learn to pitch their ideas and find their mentors,” Saboo said. He paused, then added, “If you look at the TiE SoCal demographic it’s 40 plus. So, the new initiative will hopefully bring youth into the program. We have already identified youths in local universities: the University of Southern California, Cal State University Long Beach, and UCLA.”

He said the group plans to designate TiE ambassadors to reach out to students at universities, asking them to come over to network and find some jobs internships, perhaps even pitch their
ideas to the group.

Saboo said the work would be different from that done at other TiE chapters, such as TYE(TiE for Entrepreneurs).

“We don’t want to repeat that,” Saboo said. “I want to have a long-term engagement with these universities and schools.”

A third plan is to launch TiE 35, a 50 percent membership discount for those who are not college students but are between 21 and 35.

“We hope this would bring more young entrepreneurs, mainly those who don’t know how to put everything together, so they use TiE resources and take their ideas and business to the next level,” Saboo said.

“We have a very vast variety of people here from all walks of life, not only tech entrepreneurs. That is why we want to make sure people understand that TiE does not mean only IT,” he said. “We are also trying to be inclusive entrepreneurs.”