Sudhir Ahluwalia

Surge is a global tech summit scheduled in Bengaluru[1] India on the 23rd and 24th of February 2016.  It is the first of five technology start up events of 2016. Collision is scheduled from 26th April to 28th April at New Orleans, USA, Rise in Hong Kong from May 31st to June 2nd. , Money Conf in Madrid from June 21st to 22nd and the last in the series will be held in Lisbon from 7th to 10 the November 2016.

Surge 2016 (https://surgeconf.com/) will bring together accelerators and incubators, investors and start ups, developers, application product designers, content creators, data mining, analytics, enterprise and social media service providers, infrastructure and IOT experts, mobile solution providers, niche and emerging technology innovators, advertisers, publishers, marketers, media and more. The attendee list will include a large number of tech enthusiasts wanting to get a flavor of a global technology event.

Each summit has the local flavor of the country or the region in which it is held. The Bengaluru event will have large numbers of startups focused on providing services to India’s vast and growing consumer base. India has over 1.2 billion people. Sixty five percent of these are below the age of 35 years. Internet penetration is low but rising fast from 236 million in 2016 to 314 million in 2017 (IAMI and KPMG reports). Fifty percent of the internet access in India is through mobiles.

This vast consumer base is fueling demand for consumer e- services. In a short span of a couple of years some start ups have already achieved unicorn status. Nearly all of the emerging giants like Flipkart, Snapdeal, ShopClues, Oyo Rooms, Ola cars, Urban Ladder to name just a few will be attending the conference.

And then there will be others aspiring to be unicorns tomorrow. They are offering a variety of services like consumer goods, healthcare, property, fashion, beauty, travel and hospitality, legal, accounting and many more. An e-commerce dating company that helps fix traditional Indian arranged marriages has acquired a degree of popularity in recent year or two is too coming to Surge 2016.

Investors like Intel Capital, SeedFund, 500 Ventures and others are attending. As investors they are looking to find the next unicorn. They will have their hands full meeting entrepreneurs, looking at elevator pitches, business plans and making up their minds on what makes business sense or not.

Surge 2016 is also attracting established companies like Domino Pizza, Intel, VM Ware, Sapient, Max Life Insurance, Airbus bizlabs, Groupon International to name a few. Maybe they are looking for an exciting innovating solution provider to support or an acquisition target. Having spent a bit of time with large tech corporate myself, I know they like to keep their objectives close to their chest.

Technology providers like VM Ware, Sapient along with a host of data mining, analytics, crowd, mobility, social media and companies in the digital space are also coming. They will be speaking and showcasing their technology and product offerings to prospective customers and business partners.

I was attracted by a couple of companies- Project Mudra and Arcatron Mobility who are working on solutions for the visually handicapped and the physically handicapped.

The media- print, audio and video are also expected to cover the event extensively. Then we have bloggers and freelance columnists like me looking for a good story to showcase. There will be the complainers too who will emerge from the shadows at the end of the conference. They will come up with the usual complaints- the activity was too uncomfortable and chaotic, the food too bad, expensive and not suited for the global palate, the Bangalore traffic unbearable, the organizers too commercial etc etc.

For those who have thought through their objectives, fixed meetings in advance, did their homework, prepared attractive and meaningful briefs, created comprehensive but brief business pitches will build a relationship, identify a good business partner and achieve their objective. One thing, I know for certain that this is not going to be a place for the laid back or the faint hearted.

Start ups are looking to become unicorns, they are hungry, determined and competitive. Welcome to the technology marketplace. See some of you there. With others, I will be in touch through posts, articles, features and on the spot reports.

[1] Bengaluru is located in the South of India. It is also better known as Bangalore. It is home to the outsourcer- Infosys. Tata Consultancy Services, Facebook, Microsoft, IBM, CISCO, Wipro, Dell, Amazon etc all have substantial presence in the city. The city is also home to hundreds of technology start ups.

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