TiEcon 2023 will address current downturns and future potential

-Ritu Jha

TiEcon 2023, The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) Silicon Valley’s signature annual conference this year aims to address ways to power its way through a difficult time in IT, to showcase quality content, and offer ample opportunity for networking.

The event will be held in-person after three years of being virtual, thanks to the pandemic. It is to be held at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California May 3 through 5.

Anita Manwani, the first woman TiE Silicon Valley president shared what to expect at the three-day conference. For the last four years or more she led sponsorship teams and brought top-notch speakers to the conference.

“What I am experiencing this year is not only gratifying but also very challenging,” she said. “Gratifying, because I see before me more than 300 enthusiastic volunteers. I was concerned at first that me being a relatively new person to TiE whether everyone would come out to volunteer to make TiEcon 2023 successful. I soon realized that it is the love and commitment for TiEcon in Silicon Valley, and has nothing to do with the person at the helm. It has more to do with their own commitment to the spirit and fostering of entrepreneurship, and to be part of the TiE family.”

She added, “The challenging part, of course, is the dark economic cloud hanging over Silicon Valley and the country right now. It has made raising money far more challenging. But there again I feel grateful to the network, friends, and people who believe in TiE.” Manwani said that some companies called her group before it could call them and asked what they could do to help, and said what they could give in terms of sponsorship.

“That really touched my heart,” she said, promising one of the best conferences in terms of content.

“My job is to make sure that we honor the legacy of 30 years of TiE and TiEcon and while being relevant,” Manwani said. “More importantly, we provide value to not just our members but also to all of the attendees, sponsors and speakers who come to our platform.”

The theme for this year’s conference is ‘Dream. Believe. Achieve.’ Aimed at fostering entrepreneurship, the event this year will last three days instead of the traditional two.

On Day 1, May 3, the opening keynote speaker is Surbhi Sarna, group partner, Y Combinator, followed by Jeff Hoffman, a sportsman-turned-entrepreneur-turned-investor from Florida.

The day will close with grand keynote speaker Jagdip Singh Bachher, chief investment officer, University of California, which invests $156 billion across the nation.

TiEcon 2023 will also have speakers talking about events in India, and investors looking at more investments involving India and the U.S.

On May 3, the Rocket Ship India theme will highlight India’s role in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.

On May 4, the opening grand keynote speaker will be John Chambers, former CEO of Cisco. Another keynote speaker is Navin Chadda, a strong supporter of TiE for many years. He will speak about future technologies and trends.

“We are delighted that we have many successful women CEOs of the next generation taking part in TiEcon 2023,” Manwani said. “We have Sarah Friar, CEO of Nextdoor on May 5, and Deborah Liu, CEO of Ancestry, as grand keynote speakers, apart from Surbhi Sarna and many other speakers. It’s really exciting to have all this brain power converge at one venue.”

Manwani said that when she was president-elect last year charter members told her to try and attract the next generation of entrepreneurs and broaden the base of TiE Silicon Valley. As part of the effort, the team decided to be a little more considerate about the participants’ needs.

“We have to respect the fact that they have families, young children and they need to go back to them,” Manwani said. “After 30 years, we at TiEcon need to grow up and be like a regular technology conference that happens during the week and ends by late afternoon Friday to allow everyone to go back to their homes and their families.”

So TiEcon will be held from Wednesday to Friday.

“Thursday is like Saturday for the business world in terms of socializing,” Manwani said. |The gala – or what is now being called the banquet celebration – is going to happen on Thursday night, just as in most business social events.”

Another major departure from previous TiEcons is that everybody pays for their tickets.

“There are many discount codes for partners, university students, sponsors, and speakers, but there is no freebie,” Manwani said. “We’re really going for quality over quantity and we know that those who are registering and paying really want to attend some of our amazing tracks. We have introduced four tracks relevant to today’s economic, geopolitical and national climate. A lot of focus is on getting ready for Made in America.”

“Made in America” will be the focus of a conversation on manufacturing and ensuring a robust supply chain. The conversation will begin with the address of one of the grand keynote speakers of the event, Manish Bhatia, executive vice president, global operations, at Micron Technology. He has led Micron’s strategy and global manufacturing.

Joining him in the conversation will be Mark Patel, senior partner at McKinsey, who has looked at the economics of near-shoring and reshoring. Joydeep Ganguly, senior vice president, global operations, at Gilead Sciences is to speak about the intersection of technology in sustainability and the science and culture of innovation, while also discussing how his company looks at manufacturing.

“This will be a conversation of content experts who will talk about their challenges, their reasons and how they are going to get ready for this whole manufacturing disruption that’s going to happen,” Manwani said. “Most importantly with this disruption, [we see] how we fuel more entrepreneurship software solutions that will be required in the adjacent spaces of manufacturing and supply chains.”

Besides these topics, the conference will address cybersecurity, disruptions in cloud and health care, and geopolitical, environmental, and technology disruptions. Climate change will also be addressed.

“We are all still just recovering from the shivers of the long winter and storms and falling trees on our homes,” Manwani said. “How can we ignore that climate change is happening? We’ve got experts in climate tech coming in to talk about it.” The experts include academics from Stanford who will speak about technology breakthroughs for low-carbon economies; technologists who will discuss post-silicon systems; and investors about focusing on risks and rewards.

Of course, no tech conference is complete without a conversation around generative AI. So TiEcon 2023 has speakers from Microsoft, Meta, Google, Intel and the academic world to talk about all of the attributes of generative AI. Representatives form Microsoft and AWS will address the challenges and potential of AI in the AI/ML track, to be launched by Meenu Aggarwal from Workday. Speakers from Intel, AWS Lightspeed and Array Ventures and many startups will speak to use cases, opportunities, and investment trends in generative AI.

This year’s evening and entertainment relied on feedback from charter members.

“This year it’s going to be fast-paced entertainment with minimal speeches,” Manwani said. “It’s going to be really a medley of something for everyone and definitely a focus on the next generation.”

Established in 1992 by a team of Indian diaspora technologists, TiE SV is a non-profit dedicated to fostering global entrepreneurship. It now boasts 61 chapters in 14 countries.

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