As we come to grips with the post-COVID world, there is a collective effort in the startup and corporate ecosystems today to collaborate and share best practices to help mitigate challenges. The webinars and virtual events bring to fore new perspectives and insights grounded in research so startups and founders can align their business and strategies to navigate uncertainties. These digital events have stood apart in their ability to deliver an engaging experience that has won appreciation from the audience. Yet, there is one major gap that these virtual events have failed to plug — the scope to truly network like in offline events and conferences.
The Against All Odds Startup Summit by Freshworks for Startups is changing that.
Designed for startup founders, senior leaders and investors, the summit powered by AWS, brings together 1000+ founders, 40+ speakers, and VCs on a single platform. With a strong focus on 1:1 networking, roundtable discussions, VC connects, and experiential learning sessions, the event is one-of-a-kind.
Introductions, connects and discussions
To enable networking experience akin to the real world, the summit has designed two networking formats : One is a scheduled meeting experience with people of interest to the attendees based on the profile on a networking app and the second is a speed dating format, where attendees will get to connect, share quick thoughts and contact details, before dropping off to connect with another attendee.
The 40+ roundtables will see startups and founders being grouped based on business verticals. Each roundtable discussion will have six to eight attendees and conversations will be moderated by an expert from Freshworks or the startup community. The roundtables cover a spectrum of areas – from growth strategies, funding, ecosystem collaboration and even hotly discussed topics such as employee centricity and innovation, among others.
The networking experience has the potential to open up business development opportunities with industry peers as well as identify mentors who can help the startup grow further.
An opportunity to connect with investors and funds
Without physical industry events taking place today, connecting with new investors has become harder than ever before, even as the need for capital has only increased. That’s why the event aims to make it work by enabling VC connections, if there is a double opt in by the founder and the VC. The event aims to enable at least 500+ such pitches.
Participating VCs include Accel, Sequoia, Matrix Partners, Nexus Venture Capital, BeeNext, Blume, Indian Angel Network, Vertex Ventures and VCs from some of the other top funds and accelerators like BrigadeREAP, Cisco Capital, Qualcomm, Axilor, Lowe’s, among others.
The summit will see experienced startup founders opening up their playbooks and frameworks, bringing in fresh insights. The sessions will bring in perspectives from 30+ speakers from two key ecosystem verticals — the VCs and established startups.
The VCs and financial institutions will share their perspective about the market opportunities in India and globally and how they can leverage this to grow. Startup founders will shed light on the actual struggle and the strategies they deployed at the trenches. The startup founders belong to key verticals such as FinTech, HealthTech, Consumer Internet, and SaaS. The sessions have been designed to facilitate interaction as opposed to a talk format.
Some of the startup founders who will be leading the experiential sessions include Girish Mathrubootham, CEO & Founder, Freshworks Inc; Vineeta Singh, Co-Founder and CEO, SUGAR Cosmetics; Rahul Chari, Co-founder & CTO, PhonePe; Nithin Kamath, Founder & CEO, Zerodha; Tushar Vashisht, Co-founder and CEO, HealthifyMe; Akanksha Hazari, CEO and Founder, LoveLocal among others.
Global scale, local flavour
As Freshworks is a global company, the event is being organised on a large scale across four different days. This, the company says, is being done to bring out the local flavour and deep dive into relevant challenges and opportunities. Since the summit is a completely live event, Freshworks wanted to fit in all the time zones. The India Edition of the summit is scheduled for August 6, followed by Asia Pacific edition on August 14, Europe and UK edition on September 4, and a North America Edition on September 9. Each of the editions will feature the best of the region’s top founders, investors and industry leaders. To ensure that the attendees are able to capitalise on the learnings which are contextual, regional startups or those that have a target market in the respective regions are selected to participate. The India edition of the startup summit startups will benefit startups based in India or startups that target India as a key market.
A Freshworks for Startups initiative
With its industry leading Customer and Employee Engagement Solutions, Freshworks has helped scale business processes for several unicorns and soonicorns with their powerful and affordable suite of products. Freshworks’ solutions provide business of all sizes, including startups and SMBs, powerful automation tools that help scale businesses. In addition to reducing the manual workload and enhancing business efficiency, the solutions are cost-effective and user-friendly, thus enabling these businesses to thrive. In addition to the efforts of the company, Girish Mathrubootham, CEO & Founder, Freshworks, in his individual capability, has been instrumental in supporting the growth of the startup ecosystem. As an angel investor, he has supported several early stage startups with investments and mentorship.
As one of the fastest-growing startups, Freshworks wanted to further give back to the ecosystem with the launch of the Freshworks for Startups initiative. The initiative provides startups with software credits, mentorship and access to the large Freshworks community.
Rajiv Ramanan, Director – Startup Program, shares, “With the Freshworks for Startups initiative, we are helping the next generation of startups with learnings from the Freshworks journey so far. The best way forward for the startup ecosystem is together.”
The Against All Odds Startup Summit is yet another effort in this direction. It comes at a time when startups across the world are struggling to make sense of the pandemic and the strategies that could help them sail through the challenges. While the summit aims to provide a platform to learn and share best practices and build connections, it also aims to showcase India’s ability to innovate and stay resilient.
“We have our own ‘Against All Odds’ startup story of putting India on the global map by building world class software products from India, while fighting against large incumbents in the market. We strongly believe that startups will fight several battles along their way and will rise Against All Odds,” says Nivas Ravichandran, Startup Partnerships & Growth.