Techcircle Startup 2016 - Kerala edition

  • Introduction
  • Agenda
  • Speakers
  • Venue
  • Sponsors
  • Partners
  • Registration

                                                                           Bridging the investment gap: Boosting growth of startup's in Kerala

Entrepreneurial wave that swept the country in past few years also touched Tier II/III cities, resulting in spurt of new ventures coming up and disrupting traditional businesses in these smaller towns. Backed with economic growth, internet and smart phone penetration, these start-ups have certain distinctive advantages like large untapped markets, low operational costs and astute awareness of cultural preferences giving them an upper hand and much higher rate of success than expected. These success rates have also turned tables for investors who earlier saw start-ups from satellite cities as risky prepositions. In present times, start-ups from non-metros are receiving almost as much investor attention as a start-up from an urban city would.

However, against all the opportunities, there are also a set of challenges that limit growth of start-up initiated from smaller cities. The foremost is lack of awareness and connect with the surrounding ecosystem of policy initiators, investors, vendors, mentors and competitors. With limited access to even local ecosystem players, the chances of these small-town start-ups to connect with state/national level ecosystem are further diminished. Additionally, selective understanding of key investment trends, red hot segments from VCs perspective, valuations, pitching methods are key areas of discomfit for start-ups.

Many of these pain areas will be addressed during the 2016 Techcircle Startup Tour through cities of Chandigarh, Kochi, Jaipur, Pune and Hyderabad. These cities are bustling with start-up activity and are very high on economic indicators. What Techcircle aims to do is to bring together the ecosystem, showcase entrepreneurship and connect them to mainstream ecosystem.

Pit Spot - Kerala
Trivandrum & Kochi, the leading urban centres of Kerala, offers a highly conducive environment for start-ups. With government-led initiatives like Kerala Start-up Mission, Kerala Technology innovation Zone, the state is already home to more than 300 technology startups and is poised to become the largest hub for entrepreneurial activity in southern India. Of course, the next step for these startups is to scale up business by joining hands with big tickets angels and venture capitalists.

What are some of the challenges these startups face when they plan of scaling up? What are the current trends across the start-up ecosystem that these startups can leverage on? How can start-up attract investor attention and what learnings can be derived from continued market interaction. These and many more of such questions will be answered at the TechCircle Start-up Kochi edition.

Techcircle Startup 2016 - Kerala edition
16th June, Le Meridien Kochi

Techcircle Startup Fair
This is where you get a chance to exhibit your business, display your products, pitch to the right set of investors and have a daylong engagement with startup experts. If you are a startup, technology service provider, or business service provider including accountants, lawyers, payroll managers, head hunters, tech service providers and social media consultants, this is your chance to market and grow your business. Book your slot now.

09:45AM - 10:15AM
Registration and Coffee

10:15AM - 10:30AM
Opening remarks by VCCircle Network

10:30AM - 10:50AM
Keynote Address: Kerala: A land of opportunities for start-ups by M Sivasankar IAS, Principal Secretary, Chairman (EC) KSITM

10:50AM - 11:30AM
Panel 1: Starting up in Kerala: Getting the basics right?
While Kerala offers conducive environment for start-up to thrive, there are certain set of challenges that have to be addressed to make businesses sustainable. The foremost challenge is getting the basics - product, marketing, resources, legal and funding right.

Kalyan Sivalenka, MD & CEO, Springforth Capital Advisors
C Balagopal, Entrepreneur, Author & Mentor
Afsal Salu Co-founder, & Business Head - Express Delivery and Marketplace,
Dr Jayasankar Prasad C , CEO, Kerala Startup Mission
Rajesh Nair, Director - Head Kochi Location, E&Y, President - TiEGlobal - Kerala Chapter (Moderator)

11:30AM - 11:45AM
Networking Break

11:45AM - 12:25PM
Panel 2: Creating the right investment environment for Kerala: Focus on skilling youth, key sectors, empowering startups and more
Kerala today is leaving no stone unturned to ensure a conducive environment for investors and enabling their young startups to scale up. There is a special focus to also uplift few sunshine sectors such as IT, Healthcare and Agri. What are certain factors that will drive the growth of startup ecosystem further? How is Kerala’s entrepreneurial landscape shaping up and how is it empowering the youth to come out with disruptive ideas. What more needs to be done?

Samir Kumar, Managing Director, Inventus Capital Partners
Pradeep Tagare, Investment Director, Intel Capital
Vipul Mankad, Managing Director, SEAF India Investment Advisors
Sijo Kuruvilla George, Founding CEO, Startup Village (Moderator)

12:25PM - 1:05PM
Panel 3: Scaling up Investments: Going beyond the seed stage
With majority of the startups still being at the seed or pre-seed funding stage in Kerala, attracting larger investment and scaling up is essential. How can entrepreneurs pitch and position their ideas to seek further investment despite the limited exposure? How can the ecosystem further evolve to go beyond the current nascent stage?

Arjun Pillai, Co-founder and CEO, Profoundis
John Mathew, Co Founder & CEO, Riafy Technologies
Natarajan R, MD & CFO, Helion Ventures
Deepak Gupta, Co-founder, Equity Crest
Krishnan Neelakantan, Senior Director - Investments & Growth Strategy, Ankur Capital
Hithendra Ramachandran, Managing Director, Carpediem Capital Partners (Moderator)

1:05PM - 1:45PM
Networking Lunch

1:45PM - 2:25PM
Panel 4: Striking the correct product market fit: Converting ideas into revenue
Having a disruptive idea is one thing, but converting it into an effective business proposition with correct market fit holds the key for the startup’s journey to success. How can startups achieve this balance?

Sumit Jain, Partner, Kalaari Capital
Payal Shah, Investment Head, Axilor
Sandeep Singh, Vice President, Eight Roads Ventures
James Joseph, Founder,
Srikrishna Ramamoorthy, Partner, Unitus Seed Fund (Moderator)

2:25PM - 3:25PM
Sunshine Sectors: Opportunities and challenges in sectors shaping rise of Kerala’s startup ecosystem

2:25PM - 2:55PM
IT & Hardware Services:
As technology evolves, startups in this segment have the opportunity to set benchmark in areas like robotics, flexible electronics, software development and Knowledge management. In terms of outlook what does this segment entail and what are unique takeaways which Kerala can offer in this segment.

Prasad Pillai, Co Founder & CEO, Elsys Intelligent Devices Pvt. Ltd
Sindhu Joseph, CEO & Co-founder, CogniCor Technologies
Ranjith Menon, Executive Director, IDG Ventures
Siddhartha Das, General Partner, Ventureast (Moderator)

2:55PM - 3:25PM
Biotechnology & Agriculture:
Kerala with its rich ecology, climatic condition and natural expertise has the potential to bring in disruptive changes to agri practices and products ably supported by innovations in bio tech. With bio tech startups already gaining traction are we in for a booming agri & bio tech startup ecosystem in Kerala?’

Abhilash Thirupathy, Director, Gold Farm - AK Surya PowerMagic Pvt. Ltd
Ashwanth M.P, Chief Executive Officer, Kinemach Engineering and Machines Pvt Ltd
Swarup Beria, Principal, Omnivore Capital (Moderator)

3:25PM - 3:45PM
Special address by Dr. A Velumani, Creator and Chief Executive Officer, Thyrocare Technologies Ltd

3:45PM - 4:00PM
Networking Break

4:00PM - 5:00PM
Techcircle Showcase
This is a unique initiative of Techcircle to bring together a set of promising pre-revenue startups and provide them with a platform to make elevator pitch to a group of angel and VC investors. Startups within potential sectors like IT, IoT, electronics, biotechnology and healthcare will get the opportunity to showcase their unique and disruptive ideas and in the process gain recognition within the larger startup ecosystem.

Jury Members:
Kalyan Sivalenka, MD & CEO, Springforth Capital Advisors
Arun Nair, Head of Operations- 10000 Startups Kochi, NASSCOM
Pradeep Tagare, Investment Director, Intel Capital
Srikrishna Ramamoorthy, Partner, Unitus Seed Fund
Siddhartha Das, General Partner, Ventureast



Abhilash Thirupathy Abhilash Thirupathy Director, Gold Farm - AK Surya PowerMagic Pvt. Ltd
Afsal Salu Afsal Salu Co-founder, & Business Head - Express Delivery and Marketplace, | @delyver
Arjun Pillai Arjun Pillai Co-founder and CEO, Profoundis | @Profoundis
Ashwanth M.P Ashwanth M.P Chief Executive Officer, Kinemach Engineering and Machines Pvt Ltd
C Balagopal C Balagopal Entrepreneur, Author & Mentor
Deepak Gupta Deepak Gupta Co-founder, Equity Crest | @EquityCrest
Dr. A Velumani Dr. A Velumani Creator and Chief Executive Officer, Thyrocare Technologies Ltd | @Thyrocare
Dr. Jayasankar Prasad C Dr. Jayasankar Prasad C CEO, Kerala Startup Mission | @startup_mission
Hithendra Ramachandran Hithendra Ramachandran Managing Director, Carpediem Capital Partners
James Joseph James Joseph Founder, | @Jackfruit365
John Mathew John Mathew Co-founder & CEO, Riafy Technologies
Kalyan Sivalenka Kalyan Sivalenka Founder & Managing Director, Springforth Capital Advisors | @SPRINGFORTHCAP
Krishnan Neelakantan Krishnan Neelakantan Senior Director - Investments & Growth Strategy, Ankur Capital | @ankurcapital
Natarajan R Natarajan R MD & CFO, Helion Ventures | @HelionVC
Payal Shah Payal Shah Head of Investments, Axilor Ventures | @AxilorVentures
Pradeep Tagare Pradeep Tagare Investment Director, Intel Capital | @intelcapital
Prasad Pillai Prasad Pillai Co Founder & CEO, Elsys Intelligent Devices Pvt. Ltd
Rajesh Nair Rajesh Nair Director - Head Kochi Location, E&Y, President - TiEGlobal - Kerala Chapter
Ranjith Menon Ranjith Menon Executive Director, IDG Ventures
Samir Kumar Samir Kumar Managing Director, Inventus Capital Partners | @Inventusvc
Sandeep Singh Sandeep Singh Vice President, Eight Roads Ventures India | @8roadsventures
Siddhartha Das Siddhartha Das General Partner, Ventureast | @Ventureast
Sijo Kuruvilla George Sijo Kuruvilla George Founding CEO, Startup Village
Sindhu Joseph Sindhu Joseph CEO & Co-founder, CogniCor Technologies | @cognicor
Srikrishna Ramamoorthy Srikrishna Ramamoorthy Partner, Unitus Seed Fund | @UnitusSeedFund
Sumit Jain Sumit Jain Partner, Kalaari Capital | @Kalaari
Swarup Beria Swarup Beria Principal, Omnivore Capital | @OmnivoreCapital
Vipul Mankad Vipul Mankad Managing Director, SEAF India Investment Advisor | @SEAFGlobal

Date: 16th June
Address: Le Meridien Kochi,
Maradu, Cochin, Kerala, 682304 India

Kerala Startup Mission

Kerala Startup Mission started as Technopark Business Incubation Center in Technopark in 2002. T-TBI received the grant from Dept. of Science and Technology in the year 2006 and was made into a separate entity. Since 2006 T-TBI has been actively promoting the startup and innovation activities in Kerala through various initiatives.   In the year 2012 Technopark TBI was recognized as the nodal incubator in the state and in the year 2015 Technopark Technology Business Incubator was rebranded as Kerala Startup Mission. Throughout these years the efforts of Kerala Startup Mission and other technology incubators in the State has resulted in the growth of more than 500 startups. Presently, Kerala houses more than 300 technology startups (ref: Kerala Startup Ecosystem report). The Kerala Technology Startup Policy , a pioneering effort in this direction in the country , clearly brings out the ways and methods of creating a startup ecosystem. The Kerala state Start Up Mission is pla


Zwayam is an intelligent recruitment engine for small & medium businesses to be able to compete for talent with larger companies.

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With 250+ companies from different industries already using Zwayam as their platform for hiring, we are committed to make a change in the way companies hire.

Indigo Nation

Indigo Nation from the house of Indus League, a division of Future Lifestyle Fashion Ltd serves the country’s youth, who believe in engineering obsolescence. Indigo nation is Young, restless ,wired, ambitious , wild and ALWAYS CHANGING.

Indigo Nation’s current campaign #StartupNation best reflects the startup ecosystem in India. The campaign echoes how today's generation is believing in the ever-evolving, dynamic and fast paced start-up culture and how they are becoming constant agents of change in not just the way they work, but also in the way they dress and present themselves.

Nasscom 10,000 Start-ups

10,000 Startups is an ambitious attempt by NASSCOM to scale up the startup ecosystem in India by 10x. 10,000 Startups aims to enable incubation, funding and support for 10,000 technology startups in India over the next ten years.

The program’s vision is to:

     •  Foster entrepreneurship
     •  Build entrepreneurial capabilities at scale and
     •  Strengthen early stage support for tech startups

To meet these objective the program aims to bring together key stakeholders of the ecosystem including startup incubators / accelerators, angel investors, venture capitalists, startup support groups, mentors and technology corporations.

With 10,000 Start-ups NASSCOM aims to build a vibrant ecosystem for technology entrepreneurship in India.

TiE Kerala Industry partner
TiE Kerala

The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) is the largest not-for-profit global organization focused on promoting entrepreneurship. TiE helps budding entrepreneurs by way of advice, guidance and assistance through successful and experienced professionals and entrepreneurs from different industries. Its greatest strength is its network of 61 chapters across 17 countries that consist of many participants in the global ecosystem - successful & experienced as well as budding entrepreneurs, venture capital firms, angel investors, service providers, etc. TiE makes continuous efforts to interconnect this network in a way that allows us to deliver real value to all our constituents.

TiE Kerala Chapter was registered in March 12, 2003 with ten Charter Members.  Within a short span of 9 years, the chapter grew to its present strength of 47 Charter members and 700+ Members who are CEOs of SMEs/Pro

Startup Village Industry partner
Startup Village is an learning (ed-tech) platform for first time founders and student founders across the country. Teams are selected through a coding and business challenge for a 6 month intense program. They are taught all core startup concepts culminating in a prototype launch/customer validation. They work on curated-market-ready ideas which are provided by our partner Tracxn Labs.

The theme of the current batch is SaaS and the previous batch had Fintech as the theme.

At the end of 6 months, startups are encouraged to either raise capital, become self-sufficient or get hired, 3 out of the 6 methods of graduation.
Progress of each startup is recorded in a timeline in which all entries are verified by our team. For eg. Spenwise's timeline.

LetsVenture Industry partner

LetsVenture is India's first and largest startup-investor platform. Founded in late 2013, LetsVenture is the most trusted marketplace for startups to create their investment ready profile, and connect to global, accredited investors for fundraising. Today 6500+ startups, 1200+ angel investors, and 200+ institutional investors from 21 countries are interacting on the platform. 57 startups have closed rounds on LetsVenture with $17M in total commits. Led by a strong team, with some of the best marque angel investors as advisors to the company, LetsVenture is an Accel funded startup, based in Bangalore.

Headstart Industry partner

Headstart Network Foundation is a non profit organization, established in the year 2008 with the vision: ‘Changing the World through Entrepreneurship’ Today, Headstart Network Foundation is the largest network of early stage startups in India. It facilitates entrepreneurial learning, hiring, marketing insights and peer mentoring amongst the startups through initiatives such as Startup Saturdays, Headstart Higher, Headstart Cofounder Search, Headstart Club and through its online channels. In Kochi, Headstart has been present for last 4 years and has been among the first few, to have driven informal and formal meets of aspiring and inspiring entrepreneurs.


Mumbai Angels Industry partner
Mumbai Angels

Mumbai Angels, started in 2006 is the first premium Angel network in India. The Mumbai Angels provides a unique platform to start up and very early stage companies by bringing them face to face with successful entrepreneurs, professionals and executives who are interested in and have the funds available to invest in start-up companies. Many members of Mumbai Angels have prior Silicon Valley experience. In addition to the capital of its members, the Mumbai Angels provides access to high quality mentoring, vast networks in India and abroad and inputs on strategy as well as execution.

Mumbai Angels provides its portfolio companies with a level of assistance that surpasses their highest expectations. Mumbai Angels network of relationships and their ability to leverage those relationships on behalf of their portfolio companies is unparalleled. Mumbai Angles members and their organisations have come to represent the ideal business partner for entrepreneurs who wish to start and

G-Tech industry partner

Group of Technology Companies (GTech) is the industry body of IT/ITeS companies in Kerala. Established in 2001, GTech now has a membership of nearly 200 IT companies from across the state. GTech works closely with the Government of Kerala in promoting Kerala as a preferred destination for IT enterprises. 

GTech has the mandate to engage with and develop strong relationships with various regions around the world. To this end, GTech works with Trade and Industry bodies in several countries. Global IT Connect, conceived and executed by GTech, for the Government of Kerala, showcases SMEs of Kerala IT in the global markets.

GTech also organises various Technology events to familiarise IT professionals with the latest in technology. Other capacity building exercises are also undertaken on functions relevant to the industry.

Apart from promoting the IT industry, GTech contributes to the social and economic development of all citizens throug

Indian Angel Network Angel Partner
Indian Angel Network

Indian Angel Network, India's first and largest angel network, brings together successful entrepreneurs and CEOs who share a passion to enable more early stage businesses to create scale and value. By focusing on startups, the Network addresses the current acute lack of funds available to early stage companies. The Network believes that early stage businesses require more than just money to succeed. They require close mentoring and inputs on strategy as well as execution.

Indian Angel Network currently has over 300 members drawn from across the country and some from overseas, comprising the who's who of successful Indian entrepreneurs and CEOs from diverse sectors (information on The Network has met with early success and has already invested in 100 portfolio companies including investee and incubatee companies. IAN has become the hub for innovative ventures founded by high quality entrepreneurs seeking mentoring an

The Chennai Angels Angel Partner
The Chennai Angels

The Chennai Angels (TCA, is one of India’s most active angel investing groups. Founded in the year 2007, it is comprised of successful entrepreneurs and business leaders with a track record of starting and scaling large enterprises. Additionally, several seed and venture capital firms hold institutional membership in the group. Though it is located in Chennai, TCA’s investing members and portfolio investments are not limited by geography. Unusually for an angel investing group, TCA has a diversified portfolio that goes well beyond a restrictive tech focus, reflecting the diversity of its members’ interests. TCA portfolio companies benefit from the collective expertise and rolodex of its members.

For more information:

Hyderabad Angels Angel Partner
Hyderabad Angels

Hyderabad Angels (HA) invests between USD 250K to USD 1M in promising Indian start-ups and early stage companies. We are sector agnostic and invest in asset light and scalable businesses. HA members are leading venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and business leaders who with their financial strength and business acumen are committed to providing support to  the rapidly growing Indian start-up ecosystem.

The Kitchen Community partner
The Kitchen

Kitchen is a not for profit created to connect big business owners, SME'S, professionals & students thus creating a collaborative eco system and knowledge sharing platform.

Kitchen community initiative and community events has been hosting collaboration & networking ( CAN ) events in Kochi & Trivandrum over the last 12 months and hosts a community of 1000+ members. Started by Andrine Mendez, Kitchen is a community partner for Kerala startup mission ( KSUM ) and was created to bring forth private participation in execution the Kerala entrepreneurial policy and vision.

Kitchen community has more than 1000 people who come together to #makesomethingnew. From CXO's to professionals to Entroerneurs to students, everyone is here to be part of the growth story.

50k Ventures Startup Outreach Partner
50k Ventures
Kerala Startups Startup Outreach Partner
Kerala Startups

Kerala Startups Society is a registered not for profit organisation working with the objective of building a vibrant startup ecosystem in Kerala. We are a grouping of entrepreneurs who have come together to help each other and grow together.

We conduct regular meet ups for startups in Kochi & Trivandrum where the startups get a chance to interact with investors, successful entrepreneurs and players in Indian startup ecosystem. Apart from the regular meet ups we conduct an annual event ‘Startup Mantra’ where we bring experts and leaders from outside Kerala. The idea is to integrate the early stage ecosystem in Kerala to integrate with rest of India.

Startup Grind Startup Outreach Partner
Startup Grind

Startup Grind is a global startup community educating, inspiring, and connecting entrepreneurs. We host monthly events in more than 150 cities and 65 countries featuring successful local founders, innovators, educators and investors who share personal stories and lessons learned on the road to building great companies. Our monthly fireside chat interviews, startup mixers and annual conferences provide ample opportunities to connect with amazing startups and the people behind them, tap into a strong support network, form meaningful connections and gain inspiration for the startup journey ahead. For more information visit or follow us on twitter @StartupGrindIN / @StartupGrindMum.

Fwd Business Startup Outreach Partner
Fwd Business

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