The first weekend that we arrived we headed over to StartupWeekend Bangalore. On the way to the event, Geeks On A Plane (GOAP) organizers from 500 Startups, Christen O’Brien and Bruna Maia, got the team started on the geek bus by assigning each geek as a mentor to an Indian startup for their pitch.
Coincidentally, I was assigned to a startup called Fan Engage. With my prior experience with a startup I founded, GOSO, short for Going Social, I happened to have a lot of knowledge in building Facebook engagement for brands so I was excited that I got to help this Indian startup. The team had already made some significant progress with the Facebook application but I felt like I was able to add some valuable input to their business plan. The gaming dynamics they were using ranked customers and I told them that wasn’t the ideal way to drive engagement because you’ll only have one winner and the rest of your customers will fall short of first. I explained to them that it’s important to build a customer loyalty reward program that finds a way to rewards every customer. They agreed and quickly shifted their pitches to get ready for their presentations.
We left StartupWeekend and walked down the streets of India and stumbled into a local brewery. We all had a mix of pizza, wings, Indian food and beer. We sat around for a couple hours talking tech and I had some really good conversations with Kyle Wild, CEO, Keen IO. He founded a API that helps developers build analytics and data science features directly into their apps without having to build a big data infrastructure. Keen IO is a TechStars company and is funded by 500 Startups and Data Collective. Kyle was part of the development team that created Google Analytics at Google in Mountain View. His CTO also developed the API for Force.com at SalesForce.
Andrea Zurek, who previously worked at Google for over 7 years, later that afternoon spoke at Startup Weekend. She said that she fortunate to be with the company prior to their IPO and was able to exercise her stock options which allowed her to transition her career into becoming a tech angel. After providing some background on herself she quickly turned the presentation into an open discussion allowing the startups to ask her questions related to seeking outside capital from investors.
Let’s not forget it was Saturday night. Geeks don’t spend all their time in front of a computer. We do like to have fun too. A few of us went out on the town, raced some auto rickshaws and ended up having a late night breakfast back at the hotel. I had some very interesting talks with Milind Doshi who is a serial entrepreneur from Mumbai. He’s a Babson graduate a long with another friend of mine who I’m hoping to see in Mumbai, Rishi Khiani. Milind is actively involved in building the entrepreneurship ecosystem in India by hosting various events and I spoke with him about how I was trying to do the same type of thing in Miami.
BOALT ‘Geeks On A Plane’ India 2013 Blog Series:
- 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