We just concluded our first edition of LetsIgnite Cross Border. After successfully establishing LetsIgnite as a platform for meaningful investor conversations – with no extra noise – this time we envisioned a space which would create awareness of the India potential to global investors, as well as provide market and investor access to global startups.
Co-hosted by LetsVenture and swissnex India, it was attended by 145 investors, 21 startups, and 5 country consulate representatives (UK, Netherlands, Canada, Israel, and Switzerland). Prateek Khare, Head of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at swissnex India, said: “LetsIgnite Cross Border is about building bridges between Bangalore’s start-up eco-system and other leading innovation hubs around the world”. Dana Kursh, Consulate General of Israel, added – “This edition of LetsIgnite Cross Border has taught us to be audacious about collaborations, and has opened up the immense possibilities available when we all come together” – we think this summarised the essence of LetsIgnite Cross Border.
We also launched the Angel Investment Landscape Report in India at the conference. You can download the report here:Download Now
This was the first edition to test the concept – we will be back next year with a much larger edition!
Here are some of the highlights from the first LetsIgnite Cross Border summit:
Speed-dating with investors is a unique format of giving each startup 15 minutes with each relevant investor. Over the last few editions, we saw that these type of curated meetings are more engaging and beneficial than a 3-minute pitch on the main stage.
Based on the interests of each investor and profiles of each startup, power meetings were scheduled for 21 startups and 25 investors. Each startup was able to meet at least 4 relevant investors.
Opening address by Karnataka Government
Karnataka was the 1st state to introduce a “startup policy” in the country and has ever since been a hub for innovation due to its startup-friendly initiatives and policies.
To celebrate and acknowledge this, we invited Shri Priyank Kharge, Minister for Social Welfare, and Shri Gaurav Gupta, Principal Secretary, IT, BT and S&T, Govt. of Karnataka.
Keynote by Sharad Sharma
With over 30+ years of experience, Sharad has worn multiple hats from being an entrepreneur, angel investor, active startup mentor, driver of key policies changes on industry issues and a key contributor to the India Stack.
Friendly battle of the countries
For the first time ever, we had 5 consulates pitch their country’s startup policies and why you should be doing business with them. These 5 countries were: Israel, UK, Canada, Netherlands, and Switzerland.
Reverse Pitch by Investors
You must’ve heard many startup pitches on platforms such as LetsIgnite. But this time we did a role reversal. We brought Investors from India and our partner countries to inspire the audience as to why they should collaborate with them. Funds and uHNIs pitched their portfolio and thesis and tried to make their best case.
What’s the deal with Corporate Investing?
Corporate investors bring more than just capital to a young company. An enormous amount of expertise, assets, build relationships, develop intelligent networks, provide a valuable window into the future and also add a halo through the prestige of its brand. We invited 5 representatives from such corporates to address our questions about their approach to selecting startups to invest in, speed to scale and so on. The panelists were Mr. Arvind Vasu (ABB), Mr. Avnish Sabharwal (Accenture Ventures), Mr. Kedar Medhi (Philips), Mr. Ajeya Motaganahalli (NetApp) and moderator Ms. Swapna Gupta (Qualcomm Ventures).
The Legal Aspects of Cross-Border Investing
Tax and legal challenges are not unknown in cross-border investing. When we first conceptualized LetsIgnite Cross Border, one of the key objectives was to educate investors about the legal aspects of investing in different countries. And the questions were straightforward – Do I qualify to invest as an Angel in India? Is FDI allowed in this sector? Have there been any regulatory changes? Are they any additional taxes I need to be aware of?
To answer all these questions are more, we had Mr. Harshal Kamdar (PwC) and Sunitha Ramaswamy (LetsVenture) on the panel. This discussion was moderated by Ms. Garima Mitra (Treelife).
The India Story..
In the past couple of years, the Indian startup ecosystem has presented an immense growth. According to NASSCOM, from 2013 – 2018, there are over 7000 startups incepted and growing at a rate of 12% each year. In 2018 alone, there have been more than 1200 new startups and 8 startups touched a Unicorn status.
Not only the traditional cities of Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi but other growing Cities such as Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, Jaipur, Kochi are all providing lucrative grounds for these new companies.
Showcasing strength in every vertical and sub-vertical and support from Government organizations, India opportunity for startup investments stays unparalleled. To talk about what India as a market holds for foreign investors, we invited Mr. Sharad Sharma (iSpirit) and Sanjay Jain (Bharat Innovation Fund).
Angel Investment Landscape of India
LetsVenture surveyed 200+ angels to understand their investment profile thesis and map these trends. Shanti Mohan (Co-Founder of LetsVenture), Rajat Tandon (IVCA) and Ravi Gururaj (Founder, QikPod) launched this report at the summit. This was a first attempt to understand the behavior of angel investments in India. We surveyed the investors across their profile, experience in angel investing, preferred sectors and the motivation towards angel investing. Some of the highlights from the responses include the fact that many angel investors in India are new (thus pointing that this segment is bound to grow in the years to come) and that for 68% of angel investors, the prime motivation is the opportunity to learn alongside the founder and to work strategically for the benefit of the startup. These are truly encouraging signs for India’s developing startup ecosystem. The launch of the report also marked the conclusion of the first-ever LetsIgnite Cross Border.
Want access to the full report? Download here.
LetsIgnite Cross Border was held on 31st October 2018 in Bangalore.