LOS ANGELES, CA – Outgoing president of The Indus Entrepreneurs(TiE) SoCal Toni Dasgupta leaves office with a feeling of satisfaction at fulfilling the goals she had set out to achieve at the start of her tenure in 2014. Her main goal was to facilitate the growth of an ecosystem that encouraged creation of...
Dasgupta, a portfolio manager at Veda Value Funds, an investment advisory, actively took steps to increase membership. This was done by bringing high-profile speakers to the monthly meetings – including Neel Kashkari, then candidate for Governor of California;a 30 person delegation for a Vibrant Gujarat event; Mohnish Pabrai of Pabrai Funds; Ramesh Srinivasan, CEO of Ballys Technology.“ “Ultimately, the most important thing is for entrepreneurs to have the opportunity to listen to luminaries who can spark their imaginations, and allow them to dream about what is possible,” she said.
Another step was to make the monthly meetings accessible to all.“Most mixers are free to our member base, and educational events are very reasonably priced to make them affordable to our entrepreneurs who are the lifeblood of the Southern California innovation space,” she said.
Another key effort was to respond to the desires of members and to rotate the location of the events between Los Angeles Westside, Orange County and Cerritos. “Our members are largely very pleased with this. It has also allowed us to keep a finger on the pulse of Silicon beach in Santa Monica, Biotech innovation in Orange County and the movie industry in Hollywood,” she added.
She believes that diversity in innovation in Southern California has helped TiE survive the Dot Com bust. Back in 2000, she was in Silicon Valley leading the operations of a satellite company. After the post bubble crash, followed by 9/11, many companies were affected, and found out that the business ecosystem, the capital markets and the economy were interconnected in ways that one would not even have imagined. Dasgupta moved to Los Angeles because as she explains, “I believed in the vibrant entrepreneurial community, as well as, of course, the fantastic weather. This area is rich in diverse fields, and with capital coming back over the last several years, it has again become a hotbed of innovation.”
As to the future of TiE SoCal she is confident that it will continue to grow and thrive as long as it continues to provide value to entrepreneurs. “This is the basic charter and we should not lose sight of it. The governing body of TiE benefits from continuity and the retention of institutional memory, just like any organization, with current presidents helping incoming presidents figure out the ropes. I was myself on the board last year as well and found it to be a very formative experience. This year I have been very fortunate to have the support of an excited and engaged executive committee with a large number of members donating of their time and energies to continue to propel TiE to new heights. Additionally, I have focused on strengthening the financial position of the organization and also raising the visibility of TiE amongst the business community.”
Wrapping up she says,“Over the last few years I had been encouraged to consider running for the TiE SoCal presidency. I felt I was already too busy to embark on such a large undertaking. But in 2014 I realized that there is never a right time. You simply commit to give back, and do the job to the best of your abilities. Like some wise person once said – if there is a job that absolutely positively must get done, give it to the woman with no time. Encouraging and supporting entrepreneurship is something I have always felt passionate about. And I have found it to be a very enriching experience to actually put into practice much of the vision that I had regarding what I would do to take TiE SoCal to the next level.” Dasgupta will be handing the baton to incoming president for 2015 Harina Kapoor, Founder and CEO of Aikyum, Inc.