The 6th edition of LetsIgnite was an incredible event held on 15th June 2019 at The Leela Palace in Bangalore. Here’s a closer snapshot of India’s biggest startup-investor conclave – LetsIgnite!
- The theme of this edition of LetsIgnite was – ‘‘Organising India’s Private Market”.
- 150+ investors, including angels, VCs, HNIs, corporate leaders, family offices, serial entrepreneurs and other industry experts attended the conference.
- 22 startups from varying sectors namely – Healthcare, Fin-tech, SaaS, IoT, Consumer Goods, and Deep-tech pitched at the event.
- For the first time, we also hosted two sessions exclusive to lead investors and LV portfolio founders.
- The event was co-sponsored by our lead sponsors- Microsoft for Startups and National Stock Exchange of India; Tech Partner- Amazon Web Services; Ecosystem Partners- Amity Innovation Incubator, OYO Workspaces, Kerala Startup Mission, and Airbus Bizlab; Luxury Partner- Torero and Hospitality Partner- Treebo.
- Outreach Partners- The Chennai Angels, CIO Association of India and Nativelead
- Media Partners- CNBC TV18, YourStory, Entrepreneur India, and Entrackr
All the session videos are now available on our YouTube channel.
Welcome Note: 6 Years of LV and Beyond
Shanti Mohan, Co-founder, and CEO of LetsVenture addressed the audience with a welcome note where she commemorated the spectacular 6 years journey of LetsVenture. The welcome note also highlighted how LetsVenture has grown as an online marketplace bringing both the investors and startups online. We also spoke about how we launched our flagship event- LetsIgnite back in 2015 and our aspiration to organize India’s private market. Watch the video.
Keynote Address: Fireside Chat
Our keynote was based on a blazing fireside chat between two key leaders from the startup industry – Mr. T. V. Mohandas Pai (ex-CFO and Head HR, Infosys and Board Member, NSE) and Sharad Sharam (Co-founder, iSPIRT). It was a very interesting chat about the evolution of the global market and how India fits in for that matter in terms of startups count, capital available, market opportunities and how digital adoption is revolutionizing the market.
The keynote also focussed on how models such as India stack, uprising health stack, and lending platforms have contributed to the digital revolution, the consolidation of private and public sectors, India’s potential to be the next big growth market, role of exits and liquidity mechanism, encashing ESOPs and how public listings open a gate to the higher investment market. The video is available here.
Intersection of Private and Public Markets – powered by NSE
The inaugural panel discussion was led by Ishita Vora (Head of Primary Markets & Listing, NSE), Sudhir Rao (Founding Managing Partner, IndusAge), Salil Pitale (Joint MD and Co-CEO, Axis Capital), TCM Sundaram (Founder & Managing Director of Chiratae Ventures) and moderated by Nisha Poddar( Deputy Editor M&A, CNBC-TV18).
The discussion bridged some major gaps between private and public markets based on the need for companies to create a gateway to public sectors. It highlighted some of the very important factors such as reasons behind companies take too long to reach IPO, what startups are missing by not going public and how public sector can serve as a major source of fundraising for startups. Watch the panel video.
Changing Dynamics of Early-stage Ecosystem in India
We had invited Shailesh Lakhani (Managing Director, Sequoia India), Pranav Pai Founding Partner, 3one4 Capital Archana Jahagirdar (CEO & Director, AngelWorks) Sanjay Jha (Co-Founder & CTO, LetsVenture) and Amit Gupta (Co-Founder, YULU BIKE & InMobi) to drive a panel discussion for startups to understand how founders can approach the right set of investors while raising early-stage funds.
The panel broadly covered what criteria the top investment firms look at while investing in a startup, the role of angel investors and how it aligns with the uprising micro-funds, the importance of lead investors to a startup, proactiveness of founders while fundraising and many other factors that define whether the startup can be funded or not. Check out the complete video.
Private Secondary Market: Need of the Hour for Startup India
To understand how crucial it is to provide more liquidity in the secondary market for tech-based startups and hence acquire talent, we had invited Kristaps Ronis (Principal, Ion Pacific), Satheesh KV (People Excellence, xto10x Technologies), Mohan Kumar (Partner, NVP India), Abhinay Choudhari (Co-founder & Head of New Initiatives at Bigbasket.com) moderated by Nisha Poddar (Deputy Editor M&A, CNBC-TV18).
It was a highly knowledge-based discussion where the co-panelists talked about the liquidation opportunities in the secondary market and how employees can retain their ESOPs. Watch the full conversation.
Affordable, Accessible and Quality Healthcare for All
We conducted a closed-door discussion on the National Health Stack led by Sharad Sharma (Co-founder, iSPIRT), Dr. Santanu Chattopadhyay (Founder, Nationwide Primary Care), Dr. Ajay Bakshi (Founder Buddhimed Technologies, ex-India CEO Parkway Pantai) and Arun Prabhu (Partner, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas) had been invited to lead the session, moderated by Anukriti Chaudhari and Priya Karnik, both core volunteers at iSPIRT. Session video available here.
The session gave some powerful insights into the concept of Health Stack, its different layers and who can leverage upon them. Further, volunteers from iSPIRT Product Nation also spoke about the healthcare landscape followed by a panel discussion where Dr. Ajay Bakshi and Dr. Santanu shared why technology backed clinics and standard framework for health records are necessary for primary care in India. See the full discussion video.
Fintech Innovation in our Neighborhood
We had a wonderful start to the session- “Future of Future” with Karena Belin (Co-founder & COO, AngelHub, HongKong) sharing an interesting report on the fin-tech ecosystem in Asia.
Karena spoke about the distribution of fin-tech sector across India, China and Hong Kong in terms of the technology inclusion such as mobile, cloud computing, blockchain, analytics, cryptocurrency, etc as well as the market opportunities. The report also showcased the landscape of startup ecosystem in Hong Kong along with a comparison between the number of unicorn startups and their valuation across the world. Watch the video.
Crystal Ball Gazing: Can Digital Payment be a way of Life?
One of the most awaited sessions was a fireside chat between Sameer Nigam (Founder & CEO, PhonePe) and Shripati Acharya (Prime Venture Partners). With a focus on the digital revolution, the session took us back to the time when UPI was disruptive and how mobile wallets helped people go digital.
Based on his own experience at PhonePe, Sameer explained how startup founders need to align with the constantly changing regulatory environment, commoditize partnerships and strategize capital distribution. Towards the end of the chat, he also shared that while acquiring a company, components like talent and differentiated technology play a crucial role. Watch the fireside chat video.
Fin-tech Innovation: Beyond Payments & Lending
The definition of fin-tech lies beyond payment and lending. To be specific, it includes Regulatory technology, Personal Finance, Wealth Management, Lending, Financial Software, Insurance, and Real estate with the application of frontier technologies like Blockchain, AI and ML. Considering this depth of fin-tech sector, we had invited Anuradha Ramachandran (Investment Director, Omidyar Network), Ruchi Deepak (Co-Founder, Acko), and Suniti Nanda (Fin-tech Officer – Government of Maharashtra) to talk about its changing aspects.
The panel discussion perfectly aligned with the need for financial inclusion and how fin-tech serves as an efficient sector to utilize the technology and bring in the changing regulations. We also saw why financial literacy is critical and works at the decision point of the transaction along with understanding how regulations fit into fin-tech segments such as insurance, wealth management, and consumer finance. Panel video available here.
Alternate Funding Mechanism for SMEs & Accessing Public Market
Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) play an important role in a country’s employment generation and industrial development but at the same time face challenges while raising progressive funds. Rachana Bhusari (Vice President, NSE) introduced a platform called ‘NSE Emerge’ for growing companies to tap the public market. The session addressed SEBI guidelines, NSE eligibility criteria, when and how companies can list their business on the platform for raising growth-stage funds. See the full video.
Lead Investor Masterclass
We conducted the first lead investor masterclass to guide angels who want to take a lead into the startups led by, Sunil Kalra (Active Lead Investor), William Bao Bean (General Partner, SOSV) and Manuel Jose (Partner, J Sagar Associates) where Sunil and William delivered the masterclass with utmost transparency highlighting their years of experience as an investor.
They guided the audience with the basics of who is a lead investor, how to become a lead investor and which key elements to look after while making a lead investment. It is essential for investors to look at startups as an asset class with a disciplined and patient approach. When it comes to being a lead investor, it is necessary to have the right control, protect the investment rights in the next round, have a good hold on to the company’s plan with the capital and believe in the founders and team. View the full conversation.
Our next exclusive session was Blitzscaling where we engaged with LetsVenture portfolio founders for the first time at the LetsIgnite event.
Fireside Chat: Startup Scaling: Why few succeed?
The startup scaling session was very well delivered by a fireside chat between Musthafa PC (CEO at iD Fresh Food) and Rajat Garg (CEO & Co-founder, myUpchar). The discussion gave quite a key takeaway points like how constant innovation is the key to staying ahead of the competitors, how to gain customer’s trust, how to deal with money recovery challenges and why it is necessary to define the capital distribution across the product.
Musthafa also shared his entire journey of building the brand at ID Fresh Food where he mentioned the 3 aspects to brand building- right product, memorable user experience, and a well-crafted PR story. Watch the complete chat.
ESOPs Designing for Hiring and Employee Engagement
Satheesh KV (People Excellence, xto10x Technologies) discussed the importance of Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) where he mentioned that ESOP is a talent magnet that attracts people who believe in the company’s idea. He also brought 3 ESOP phases into the light – Early-stage which provides an employee with a sense of ownership, Growth stage that helps onboarding specialists and Maturity stage that further helps in retention and value creation. Satheesh concluded the session with a strong belief that a flexible ESOP plan at an early stage is critical for a fair stock distribution in the company. Watch the video.
Panel Discussion: Power your Startup with AI/ML
Subramanian MS (Head of Analytics, bigbasket), Pravanjan Choudhury (CTO, Capillary Technologies), Ashish Anantharaman (Co-founder & CTO at ZestMoney) joined us for a panel discussion on how to leverage AI for the business and its maturity curve with respect to different verticals of a startup. The panel was moderated by Sanket Dhurandhar (AWS India Head, AI & Machine Learning). View the discussion video.
The LetsVenture team is thankful to the investors, founders, sponsors, partners and other attendees for helping us engage meaningful conversations on the emerging subjects of the startup ecosystem.
Watch the complete session videos of LetsIgnite 2019 here.