The countdown for TiEcon 2023 has begun. Here’s the complete lowdown

Ritu Jha-

The annual conference of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiECon) is a much-awaited confluence of entrepreneurs, technologists, venture capitalists and industry observers, and this year (May 3-5) it won’t be any different.

Two important developments will make this year’s TiEcon a landmark event: one, it is the first time that a woman – Anita Manwani (Left in pic above with TiE Silicon Valley director Anand Akela on the right) – will helm affairs at TiE Silicon Valley (TiE SV) as president; and two, this will be the first in-person conference after three years of pandemic-forced virtual events. The event will be held at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California.

ALSO READ: An exclusive interview with Anita Manwani after she was elected the first woman president of TiE Silicon Valley

“There is an added responsibility to provide a worthwhile experience to participants and deliver a successful TiEcon,” Manwani told indica over the phone. “I am confident that, along with the conveners, the army of volunteers, Neha (Mishra; executive director of TiE SV) and Team TiE and the TiE SV board, we will deliver one of the best TiEcons.”

Manwani feels her experience as a board member for four years and being actively involved in co-chairing the sponsorship committee will help her in executing this year’s conference successfully. Over the last three years, Manwani managed to raise significant funds from
multinationals and rising unicorns.

Manwani said, “I have been an advocate of introducing new tracks such as featuring life sciences companies and healthcare providers during the pandemic. I also championed a separate cybersecurity track and introduced the supply chain track for conversations and solutions on disruption in the supply chain. Last year we also featured thought leaders on their perspective on 5G. This year we are bringing conversations around getting ready for manufacturing in America and disruption in the supply chain given the CHIPS Act.”

TiEcon 2023 will revolve around the theme of ‘Dream, Believe and Achieve’. Manwani said it is a mantra that every successful person –entrepreneurs, decision makers, investors and academics – adopt to meet their goals. “Our insightful conversations around challenges faced by industries, businesses and adoption of technology help spark innovation and solutions,” she said. “Once you dream about possibilities then you start believing in the capabilities of innovation and technology, and unless one believes in one cannot achieve the mission.”

She said the in-person TiEcon 23 has been designed to enable networking and provide learning experiences through its programs, new technology discussions around AI/ML, the transitions to Edge, the challenges for cybersecurity and responding to the disruptions in healthcare, manufacturing and supply chains.

Despite the IT industry facing a slowdown, the organizers expect a few thousand participants at TiEcon23. “We expect participants from all parts of the ecosystem. The entrepreneurial ecosystem consists of at least three pillars if not four – business leaders who share challenges, spark innovation and become pilots testing grounds for innovation; entrepreneurs who innovate and are looking to showcase their solutions, learn more and share their experiences; and investors who fuel the entrepreneurs with financial and many times mentoring capital to nurture their success. Academics are always welcome to share their research and learnings,” Manwani said.

Interestingly, TiEcon 23 will begin on a Wednesday and end on Friday by 4 pm, a departure from previous years when the conference would be held over the weekend. This has been done to allow participants, especially those with young families, to get back home for the weekend.

“The change in schedule is in response to the feedback I got from TiE members last year and it is a commitment to embrace younger members into the TiE network,” Manwani said. “The second change is that TiEcon 23 will focus on the participant experience by offering fewer tracks so they do not have to hop around different tracks. A third change is that the intervals between tracks, the evening events and expo are all designed to offer maximum networking opportunities.”

The man at the helm of affairs as convener chair of TiEcon 2023, Anand Akela, spoke to indica about the preparations that have got underway for the flagship conference.

For Akela though, this responsibility is not new. He was the convener for TiEcon 2021 as well. This is his fourth and final year as the elected board member of TiE Silicon Valley and he has been in the TiEcon leadership role for the last four years.

The long-time TiE SV associate took a walk down memory lane as he spoke about how the post-pandemic TiEcon will be different. “I have been associated with TiE for at least 20 years. Initially, I came here as a wannabe entrepreneur while working in the corporate world as an engineering leader. Then I had my startup and I participated in the TiE SV entrepreneurial ecosystem to get mentors, customers, partners, and investors. My startup didn’t succeed and I went back to the corporate world, but I stayed connected with the TiE ecosystem by volunteering to help organize TiEcon and other TiE events.”

Akela later served as marketing chair for TiEcon for many years before getting elected to serve on the TiE Silicon Valley board in January 2020. He said the necessity of conducting a virtual TiEcon during his first year as a board member came as a blessing in disguise. “The global audience wanted to get a slice of TiE Silicon Valley and the virtual event allowed that. We went from 5,000 registrations to 35,000 global registrations. We got global speakers and sponsors and the low cost of virtual events helped us save funds for TiE Silicon Valley so that they have more resources to achieve their goals of fostering entrepreneurship,” he said.

Like Manwani, Akela too is expecting greater participation this year: “TiEcon attracts a complete entrepreneurial ecosystem including entrepreneurs, potential employees, investors, service providers, corporations looking for employees and startups to complement their offerings. I expect more people to attend given that the face-to-face event is happening after three years. We have already seen a lot of excitement about the event. In fact, recession or economic downturn is a good time for entrepreneurship. There are more skilled resources available for entrepreneurs and investors can find better valuation for startups during these times.”

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