Pitch session speed dating style
The number of kiosks put up by startups has reduced, startup pitches are fewer, and the same set of keynote speakers tends to grace multiple events in a year.
Investors and founders believe the problem lies in the way the events are organised.
“Instead of the number of events, fees collected, speakers or attendees, one should start looking at the outcome of the event.
Perhaps look at more one-on-one time, and how many startups get funded in the end.” Former Ti E president of Bengaluru and founder of early-stage VC firm Ideaspring Capital Naganand Doraswamy had earlier said Ti E had stopped most of its events due to the same fatigue. Another highlight of these events were the pitch sessions, where founders got a minute each to explain and ‘sell’ their business to investors.
Tickets start at Rs 2,500, and can touch Rs 1 lakh for VIP passes.
The formats have changed too and include round-table events, pitch sessions, networking events, and women-focussed meetups. Surge’s second edition in 2017 drew half the audience it did in 2016.
“Investors don’t get to know about you much in those few minutes,” says Naiyya Saggi, co-founder of Baby Chakra, an online platform for parenting, who prefers closed-door meetings to open pitch events.
Speed networking is something that more and more professionals are starting to experiment with.
Some have gone so far as to make this the main kind of networking event they attend, since they can meet more people in a short amount of time.
“I pitch individually, face-to-face.” Rajan Srikanth, co-president, Keiretsu Forum, Chennai and Singapore, who has designed pitch fests says very few investors write checks based on a drive-by meeting.
“If one evaluates Pitch Fests from the point of view creating a rallying point for startups to network efficiently with investors and mentors, they achieve that purpose rather nicely. Padmaja Ruparel, co-founder of Indian Angel Network, says organisers are becoming selective about their audience.