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OxFounders Tour Diaries: INDIA 🇮🇳

Our India tour was the biggest series of events we've held yet. We held six events - 5 founder roundtables and 1 full-day startup summit - across India’s 3 most important startup cities, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Bangalore.

Our first event was in Delhi (29th April), in collaboration with TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs), the country's biggest entrepreneurs' and investors' network. The organisation has 60 chapters across 17 different countries and is the largest congregator of entrepreneurship talent within the Indian diaspora worldwide. We hosted an AMA 'Ask Me Anything' session for leading founders from the Delhi-NCR ecosystem, focusing primarily on strategies for international expansion, with a focus on the UK as a key market.

Next, we went to Hyderabad (30th April), where we held three packed events with the city's top centres of innovation: CIE at IIIT-Hyderabad, WE Hub, and T-Hub.

  • IIIT-Hyderabad is one of India's top research universities and its Centre of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) is one of India's largest incubators, counting over 80+ startups in residence in its 30,000sqft co-working space. We held a roundtable discussion with over 30 startup founders, each of whom gave an elevator pitch, followed by an interactive Q&A session. 🚀🔥

  • WE Hub is India's first state-led incubator for women entrepreneurs. It has incubated over 5,900 startups and SMEs, with close to £20 million raised in capital through its 42 startup programmes. We held a roundtable with startup founders as well as the WE Hub executive team, focusing in on ways of supporting female entrepreneurship in India, as well as listening to startup pitches across AI and the consumer sector. 👩‍💼

  • T-Hub is the world's biggest incubator. It has over 2,000 actively engaged startups, across 100 programmes, having raised over $1.94bn in capital. We held roundtable discussions with the CEO and CIO, as well as a founder demo session. The winning startup, Agent Analytics, was invited to pitch at our startup summit in Bangalore.

  • Lastly, we had a guided visit of T WORKS, India's largest prototyping centre, which is aiming to create and celebrate a culture of innovation with regards to physical products.

Our final stop was in Bangalore (1-3rd May).

  • Our first event was in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)'s Young Indians Organisation, which brings together leading young entrepreneurs and family business owners. We hosted over 30 startups for a pitch and Q&A session.

  • Our final event in Bangalore closed our India tour. We hosted a full-day startup summit at the IIIT-Bangalore, one of India's top universities, in partnership with Microsoft for Startups, Azure Society of Excellence, and NVIDIA. We brought together some of the country’s leading innovators, including founders, investors, and leading international organisations like the World Bank, the Commonwealth, the EU Commission, Entrepreneur First, and the India Innovation Fund. Three out of eight startups from the pitching competition are now in talks for investment. Here is the event write-up:

We opened with speeches by Dr.Lakshmi Jagannathan, CEO of IIIT-B's Innovation Centre, Hari Krishnan Govindarajan, Lead Advisor on Sustainability at The World Bank, Aditya Kumar, 1st India employee of Plug and Play Tech Center, and Nidhi Vadhera, COO at trailblazing incubator The GAIN .

We had two panels - the first 'Escape velocity: transitioning from startup to scaleup', where we were joined by AJ - Anubhav Jain, Asia Pacific Dealmaker at the UK Govt Global Entrepreneurship Programme, Lov Loothra, Senior Vice President at Credit Saison India, Arundhati Banerjee, Inception Partner at NVIDIA, and Satish Grampurohit, Founder and CEO at Cogniquest AI. 🌏

Our second panel narrowed in on the focus of the day - 'Economy of the future: the role of Deeptech and Sustainability in shaping tomorrow's innovation' and we were joined by Ashwin Raguraman, Founder and Partner at the Bharat Innovation Fund, Akash Shukla, Co-Chair of The Commonwealth AI Consortium, Suresh Narasimha, angel investor and CoCreator at CoCreate Ventures, and Hari Krishnan Govindarajan.

Last but certainly not least, eight brilliant early-stage startups, with a focus on deeptech and sustainability, pitched to our audience, showcasing their high-growth projects. We were joined by an esteemed jury, consisting of AJ - Anubhav Jain, Dr.Lakshmi Jagannathan, Varada Rajan Krishna, Co-Founder of 100 Open Startups, and Dhruv Tyagi, Investor at Entrepreneur First.

HUGE congratulations to our winners:

🏆 1st Place - Breathe ESG, pitched by Karantaj Singh

🥈 2nd Place - Agent Analytics, pitched by Ranjan Relan (who came all the way from Hyderabad)

🥉 3rd Place - Dorje Teas, pitched by Sparsh Agarwal

❤️ Audience Favourite - GoPool, pitched by Akash Jadhav

And an honourable mention to our other pitching startups, Vozi (Rajat Hegde), Newcycl (Anu Khandelwal), Monet (Abhay Tandon), and Joly AI (Jaya Bharadwaj).

A MASSIVE THANK YOU must go to Anubhav Jain, (Dealmaker, Asia Pacific at UK Government Global Entrepreneurship Programme) who helped us set up all of these events and who did the tour with us, participating at each founder roundtable and event, as well as contributing on the panel and jury at the startup summit. His wealth of expertise and startup know-how was invaluable, and his deep knowledge of the Indian startup ecosystem was crucial to the tour's success. We look forward to working with him again in future.

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