Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], September 27: YourStory's flagship event and India's premier startup conference TechSparks recently concluded its successful 14th edition in Bengaluru. Held across three days from September 21-23 at Taj Yeshwantpur, Bengaluru, it brought together India's brightest minds and visionary leaders who are turning the nation into a global tech powerhouse. More than 200 expert speakers and 5,000 attendees were part of the event.
“India is on a roll towards a Techade,” Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar, said at the event.
Speaking to YourStory Founder and CEO Shradha Sharma, the MoS also announced a proposal by the government to launch a Digital India Fund to encourage domestic capital investment into Indian startups.
The minister also revealed that India has signed a Memoranda of Understanding with nine countries for access to the DPI developed indigenously as part of the India Stack. Twenty more countries have expressed interest in accessing the DPI through open source to digitise the lives of their citizens, he revealed.
“I have never seen this kind of appetite in the world to consume Indian tech and innovation—it is an inflection point for India. People are recognising what young Indians are capable of,” the minister said.
Sameer Nigam, Founder and CEO of fintech major PhonePe, joined Chandrasekhar and Shradha Sharma, Founder and CEO of YourStory, to launch PhonePe’s app store—Indus Appstore.
About 41 apps—including Dream11, ShareChat, CoinDCX, and Mamaearth—have already signed up with the Android app store.
“The annual fee for developers on the Indus OS app store will not be exploitative. I would rather go after the 97% Android market than the remaining iPhone market,” Nigam explained.
After a power-packed keynote on the third day of TechSparks 2023, Priyank Kharge, Minister, IT, BT and Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, Government of Karnataka, shared a slew of initiatives that the state government has put in place to elevate its startup ecosystem at TechSparks.
Commenting on the semiconductor industry, Kharge said the next semiconductor revolution in Asia will take place in Karnataka, and not just Bengaluru.
The state of Karnataka has been propelling startups for years, he said. In December, the Karnataka cabinet approved a state startup policy for 2022-27, which aims to stimulate the growth of 25,000 startups by 2027.
In a candid chat, Alakh Pandey, Founder and CEO of PhysicsWallah, discussed what’s in store for edtech after the present patch of turbulence. Deep-diving into the use of AI in edtech, Pandey said, “No one has really used AI at scale in edtech. It will be great if we can do that. We have the scale. We won’t have to train AI on OpenAI—we will train it on PhysicsWallah’s own datasets.”
Seasoned investor Gopal Srinivasan, Chairman of TVS Capital Funds Ltd., discussed the much-talked-about funding winter in India, saying, “India is going to be far ahead of what people are predicting based on a single number called GDP; I am not worried about the funding winter.”
Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) also proposed setting up a Rs 5,000 crore Fund of Funds for Startups (FFS). The FFS will invest in early-stage companies, especially in deeptech, said Sivasubramanian Ramann, Chairman and Managing Director of SIDBI.
“I do not see any reason why the bright minds of India should not come back from the US because there is a lot of capital getting raised here,” he said in a conversation with the YourStory founder at TechSparks 2023.
In another shot in the arm for the Indian EV sector, Vamsi Gaddam, Founder of Atum and Atumobile, unveiled his solar-powered EV bike at TechSparks. Talking about his solar EV scooter at TechSparks 2023, Gaddam, who started out with creating solar rooftops–and beating Tesla to the patent for it, said 95% of the bike, including the battery and motor, has been 'Made in India'.
On the mainstage, Urban Company also relaunched the second version of its Native Water filter called M2. According to the company, the candles in the filter need to be changed only once in two years. The water filter is connected to an app that tracks the health of the candles, and a service request is automatically scheduled the moment the water quality goes below a certain standard.
India’s largest startup-tech event, TechSparks 2023, ended with a bang with superstar entrepreneur Nithin Kamath, Founder and CEO of Zerodha and Rainmatter Fund, who spilled the beans about the passion that drives product and business building.
“Building a business takes a lot of time. You can use artificial means to grow a tree but a forest takes time—it takes persistence…You can build a good valuation quickly, but a value-driven business is a different game and needs a lot of hard work.”
"I keep thinking about USD 70 billion that has flowed into Indian startups for funding. 90% of the value creation happened outside of India," Kamath said. "Can a country become rich inclusively if the success and the wealth of the country is being created elsewhere?" he quipped.
Last but not the least, YourStory unveiled the Tech30 list for 2023 - its annual list of young and promising startups with high potential to define the spirit of entrepreneurship in The Great Indian Techade.
Day Three of TechSparks also concluded the Tech30 Pitch Fest with Verdant Impact, VisualDub and Sivi emerging as the top three picks by the jury while NAAM App, Assert AI, and Verdant Impact emerged as the audience favourites.
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