Event Name: Unconvention|L Bengaluru
Date: Saturday, 9th November 2013 – 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM
The room was jam packed with around 175 people turning up for the event. It was great to see such a large number turning up to an event themed around social entrepreneurship. The event started off with a key note by Paul Basil, Founder & CEO Villgro. He explained the history & concept of Social Enterprise and why it’s important and the opportunities available within it.
In the series of ‘Let our story inspire your story’, 3 noted social entrepreneurs came and told their stories – very inspiring indeed!! In the Pitch Sessions, we had Prukalpa Sankar(SocialCops.org) and Anoj Viswanathan(Milaap) come and talk about their startups to the audience.
Svati Bhogale from SustainTech had a very long & fulfilling entrepreneur journey and she shared the journey with the readers in a story-like format which captivated the audience. She started off with TIDE(Technology Informatics Design Endeavour), a non profit organization devoted to promoting sustainable development through technological interventions and has been running it since 15 years. Her most recent venture Sustaintech India Pvt Ltd (SIPL) is leading start up company in the Green Energy area and addressing the commercial cook stove market in small towns and semi urban areas. Her story, where in she describes the transition from a non-profit to profit organization and the lessons she learnt along the way has set the right tone for the rest of the event.
Next to come was Prukalpa Sankar, co-founder at SocialCops.org. She has recently graduated from Nanyang Technological University and her startup has seen some great traction from digital & traditional media. She presented how change makers lacked a platform and showed us proof of how technology enablement for these change makers brings light into thousands of needy people. Flawless presentation, Prukalpa’s startup was the perfect mix of social & business acumen rolled out into one.
Vishal Talreja, Co-founder & Executive Director at Dream A Dream was the next to speak. Having spent 13 years in social entrepreneurship, he is rather unassuming and presented a talk on what he would have told his younger self. Totally based on his personal experiences, this talk definitely struck a chord with the audience. He was not shy to tell the audience that one day he dread going to the same company he started. And how the organization went bankrupt twice and still bounced back with even stronger rigor. A resilient entrepreneur, his story left everyone inspired.
In the next pitching session, we had Anoj Viswanathan, co-founder Milaap. Coming at a very short notice, Anoj presented a fantastic view of Milaap and his personal story behind starting & scaling it. He presented the basic philosophy behind Milaap and how it has scaled to what it is now. Anoj mostly maintained it in a humorous tone, but one would not miss the brilliance behind the creation of brand & funding that Milaap has attained in the short course of 3 years!
With a presentation filled with impressive art-work, Sameer Segal, Founder & CEO Artoo had a very inspiring story to share with the audience. His journey from an engineer to a kannada speaking employee at Ujjivan to getting a cheque from his prospective father in law to startup were very easy to hear, but one can only understand the hard work went behind the creation of Artoo. He is a self-taught geek and works on the entire technology stack from Android to Cloud. The audience were enthralled by his presentation.
A panel discussion followed, led by P R Ganapathy COO Villgro. Noted Angel Investor Sharad Sharma, member of IAN was part of the panel and they discussed the problems in funding for Social Enterprises along with Kavita Nehemiah from Artoo and Svati from Sustaintech. While Svati & Kavita described their issues as an entrepreneurs, Sharad was quick to point out that if an investor does not understand the problem you’re solving, they wouldn’t most likely invest. The panel discussion saw Sharad give some awesome tips to the startup community. He ended by saying that, being early in the startup game has lot of advantage and people who plan to startup should do so.
The last to pitch was done by Rakesh Pratap Singh and Sahil Mittal of eSwaraj where he highlighted the need to connect the common man and the constituency leaders. He went on to explain how this app would bring more accountability and transparency in local governance. This team got a little less audience attention compared to the rest, as the crowd became restless towards the end of the event. Rakesh & team encouraged everyone to use the app and give them feedback for further improvement.
The speakers and the content they presented had a lot of value for the listeners. Very well organized and the Q& A with the speakers made the sessions interactive. Overall, a fantastic event and we look forward to many such events in the future.