Organized by 500 Startups, Geeks on a Plane (#GOAP) is an invite-only tour for startups, investors, and executives to learn about burgeoning technology markets worldwide. The group will be traveling by planes, trains, and automobiles to the most exciting international startup scenes with the sole mission of uniting geeks and exploring cross-border opportunities. The result: a lifelong bond with fellow travelers, a wealth of new friends and business contacts in exploding technology markets, and a stronger appreciation for the cultural and economic ties that bind us globally.
India which has a population of 1.2 billion, unprecedented growth of mobile and broadband, 400 million internet users by 2015, and a startup scene that’s hotter than Delhi in August, the conditions are perfect for a revisit from the Geeks.
During the trip, I’ll be making stops in Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai. The program goals include:
- Meet startups, geeks, and investors in cities around the world.
- Learn about trends in internet, mobile, and other tech platforms.
- Gain insight into local markets, demographics, business models.
- Meet cool people, new ventures, have fun on planes, trains, buses.
Known as the “Silicon Valley of India”, Bangalore is the heart & soul of India’s tech ecosystem. Home to 800+ startups & tech superstars like FlipKart, Wipro, and Infosys, Bangalore has the highest concentration of IT companies in the country. The city also has the most active funding and mentoring network, strongest pool of tech talent, and largest number of crossroads with Silicon Valley. Despite this, Bangalore still has a long way to go. A growing market requires even more talent in a culture that values established and dependable firms over startups, and infrastructure woes (from traffic to power outages to poor connectivity) pose continuous hurdles. Still, the spirit of entrepreneurship is thriving in this pulsating city, and the world is watching it closely with great expectations… so are we.
In Bangalore, the agenda includes:
- “Welcome to India & Bangalore” dinner hosted by Harvard Business School Alumni Angels with a hand-picked group of startup CEOs/Founders, investors, tech influencers & press. A macro overview of the India ecosystem and market will be presented by Ravi Gururaj, Vice President Citrix & Co-Chair HBS Alumni Angels
- StartupWeekend, hosted by Pankaj Jain + Chidambar Kulkarni
- Visit to RedBus (one of India’s most successful tech startups) to tour the office + meet the founders
- Visit to FusionCharts (the industry leader in enterprise-grade web charting) to tour the office + meet the founders
- Tour Embrace’s HQ, an NGO startup that developed an innovative, low cost infant warmer for newborn babies in developing countries
- Visit to FlipKart (India’s largest online bookseller) to tour the office + meet the founders
- Visit to ZipDial (a 500 Startups company) to tour the office + meet the founders
- Tech conference with Banaglore’s entrepreneur community hosted by YourStory.in, a leading tech blog in India
- ‘Off the Record’ conversation with India’s most successful startup CEO’s, covering the challenges and opportunities for tech companies in India, hosted by ZipDial
- FailCon Conference, where we’ll meet India’s leading tech companies, investors, founders and incubators
- GEek tour of the GE Research Center, home to 2,000+ researchers focused on sustainable energy + healthcare, & visit to the GE Healthcare Plant
Mumbai is India’s financial & entertainment capital, and home to 20 million people (making it the most populous city in all of India). An island city that sits on the picturesque Arabian Sea, its also boasts the largest concentration of wealth and as such is an important hub for venture capital. In 2012, Mumbai had the 3rd highest number of deals, and though the startup ecosystem there is nascent, the available capital and strategic position for finance & entertainment leave it well poised for rapid growth.
- “Welcome to Mumbai” dinner with Mumbai’s leading industry tycoons, influencers, & venture capitalists, hosted by Blume Ventures
- “Geeks in a Cave” – A community event bringing together local startups + their investors as they pitch in the magical Elephanta Caves
- “Geeks at the Stock Exchange” – Unique opportunity to ‘ring the opening bell’ at the Mumbai Stock Exchange
- Mumbai Angels Dinner – An evening with Mumbai Angels, one of the most important coalition’s of Indian angel investors
- Startup Tech Conference hosted by Pricebaba and Barcamp
- Bollywood visit – A tour of the technology + business behind Bollywood including a possible studio and/or set visit (tent.)
The buzzing city of New Delhi is known for its rich history, fast-growing economy, and flourishing tech scene. Innovative leaders like SnapDeal, FashionAndYou and One97 are paving the way for other early stage startups, and as a result, Delhi is the country’s 2nd largest tech hub with 220+ new startups emerging in the last 3 years. Delhi is all about dhandha (business), and its ever-expanding tech reach into the suburbs of Noida + Gurgaon is turning Delhi into a hub for innovation & capital.
- Overview of India’s tech ecosystem by Google’s India Head, Rajan Anandan + a tour of Google’s Gurgaon office
- GSF India conference including Delhi’s most influential investors, startups, and corporate strategics
- Geeks in a Rickshaw – Tour of the chaotic + enchanting streets of Old Delhi, from historic temples to bustling spice markets
- Visit to Akosha, an Indian consumer awareness and complaints website
- Tech Conference hosted by ProductNation and Moonlighting
- ‘Off the Record’ conversation with New Delhi’s most successful startup CEO’s, covering the challenges and opportunities for tech companies in India, hosted by Akosha
- Geeks On A Plane: Overview
- Geeks On A Plane: India 2013 Kickoff
- Geeks On A Plane: Bangalore
- Geeks On A Plane: StartupWeekend
- Geeks On A Plane: Mumbai
- Geeks On A Plane: India 2013 WrapUp
[UPDATE] I modified the final itinerary after the trip and amended some the posts.