LOS ANGELES, CA - Neeraj Bhavani, Founder and CEO Tagnos, is The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) SoCal president elect 2016 and will take over as president in 2017 from Harina Kapoor. He has been associated with the TiE SoCal chapter for many years and has all the necessary skills and drive to head the chapter.
In an interview with India Journal, Bhavani reasons that he has been a supporter of TiE SoCal for all the high quality network and support it provides to entrepreneurs throughout the globe. He adds, “There is no other entity out there that could bring so many successful people under one umbrella at this scale and size to support entrepreneurship. The monthly member events, mentor programs, annual TiECon events and charter member retreat events offer a ton of avenues to connect and potentially unlock a lot of business value. For someone who has founded a technology product company from scratch, such a platform becomes an ideal platform to both learn and give back to the community through sharing notes and insights on entrepreneurship.”
As to what prompted him to take up the position , he focuses on “the golden age of entrepreneurship.” “We are indeed passing through this golden age. While starting a business venture is never without risk, there are a lot of new avenues available now like incubators and accelerators that instantly offer a fertile ecosystem to nurture startups. A lot of venture capital money and corporate cash is available to invest in startups like no other time. Entrepreneurship is on the rise and this will fuel the demand for TiE SoCal to further expand our support reach. I wanted to be part of this action and help develop a robust ecosystem for entrepreneurs in Southern California.
As president , Bhavani will bring a lot to the table. Tagnos, the company he founded is part of Cisco Entrepreneur-in-Residence and EvoNexus, both of which are no-cost and highly selective incubator and accelerator programs based in Northern & Southern California. “Due to these associations, I am constantly traveling between the Silicon Valley and Silicon Beach to develop a rich network of people associated with the startup world. Tagnos has not only secured the initial critical mass of customers but also secured nationwide distributors in Cisco and Stryker. We raised some institutional money from Singapore and the US. We were also able to secure our intellectual property through USPTO. I have learnt so much through this exciting journey and now am ready to share these experiences with other entrepreneurs. I know exactly what kind of support an entrepreneur going through this journey really needs and would be able to execute an effective program structure,” he explains.
Here are excerpts from the interview.
What are your plans to increase membership?
We need to start hosting TiE events where entrepreneurs typically go. Business schools, colleges, innovation institutes, various incubators and accelerators. Even host events in large Southern California corporates like Qualcomm, Broadcomm, Amgen, HealthNet, Western Digital, DirecTV, Ingram Micro and Disney. Hosting events at these new venues would give us new exposure and increase awareness of TiE.
What areas do you think need to be reinvented, if any?
A lot can be done to bridge the gap between Silicon Valley and Silicon Beach. A typical startup in SoCal feels cut-off from the tremendous ecosystem that is available only few hours north of us. I would like to get more entrepreneurs and investors to come down here and share their experiences and also look at companies to invest.
TiE is no longer just for techies. Do you think broadening the scope has been beneficial?
Entrepreneurship is obviously not limited to techies and we need to encourage people from different fields and industries to be part of TiE and share their experiences. Historically TiE SoCal chapter has done a great job by bringing people from diverse industries ranging from farming to Hollywood and we would only expand on that.
What are you offering to attract entrepreneurs and others, specially to the monthly meetings?
We will make the events as close as possible to help one build his or her company. We will host topics to follow a typical life cycle of a company – ideation, patent filing, finding co-founders, building proof-of-concept, finding beta customers, commercialization of product, pricing, Go-To-Market strategy, distribution, fund raising and finally exits or liquidity.
Where do you see Tie SoCal five years on?
Southern California has seen significant increase in startup activity and venture capital investment in the last few years. That trend will only continue forward and TiE can play a significant part in that growth. We need to go all out there and connect with various hotspots of ongoing entrepreneurial activity in the region – part of that would be host TiE events at new venues. Also, we need to combine better with TiE Orange County and San Diego chapters and hopefully we would see a single joint TiE effort moving forward. I am positive that the new generation of TiE leadership at these chapters will make this happen.