A mosaic of speakers and attendees at #TiECon2016.  (All Photos: Amar D. Gupta and Vansh Gupta | Siliconeer)

A mosaic of speakers and attendees at #TiECon2016. (All Photos: Amar D. Gupta and Vansh Gupta | Siliconeer)

A hall full of new ideas and inventions is like heaven for a tech entrepreneur. To meet and communicate with other entrepreneurs and venture capitalists is like cherry on the cake. TiEcon is one of the largest entrepreneurship conference held in Silicon Valley, Calif., and like every year, this year was no different. Brimming with keynotes, speeches, activities, entertainment, and food, Genius was flowing. Siliconeer youth editor Vansh A. Gupta attended TiEcon 2016 and presents a recap of the conference. – @Siliconeer #Siliconeer #TiESV #TiEcon2016 #TiE #TechConvention #SantaClara #SiliconValley #Adobe #AirIndia #EtihadAirways #JetBlue #BonniSimi #KailashSatyarthi #YashSemlani #IBM #Microsoft #VMWare #RamReddy #TheHealthyBeat #Autolock #GotMamba #Prysm #Zoho #KeltonTech #BeNow #FICCI

Additional video and photo coverage available on Siliconeer.com and Siliconeer Mobile.


Silicon Valley is the birthplace for innumerable tech startups as well as world-renowned companies like Apple, Google, and Tesla. A lot of innovation and entrepreneurial genius flows around the alleys of Silicon Valley. To add to this, TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs), hosts a conference every year, for the past 23 years now, that is typically packed with keynotes, activities, entertainment, and eager entrepreneurs.

The conference allows for many innovative thinkers to meet and connect with other fellow entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. #TiECon2016 was no different from every year except for the ever-expanding enormity of this conference. According to a TiE press release, about 5,000 attendees and 234 speakers filled the 100 or more sessions across nine different tracks, as well as the expo. In addition, TiE went digital with their new app which was quite impressive and convenient on many levels. #TiECon2016 also had some other unexpected surprises.

The expo is an integral part of this conference. It allows for other startups and innovative companies to acquire exposure, as well as create connections, and the sharing of ideas.

With over 80 different booths, from hotshots like Adobe, Etihad Airways, JetBlue, IBM, Air India, VMWare to innovative startups like Prysm, Zoho, Kelton Tech, and BeNow, there was an offering for everyone. Some media companies were present, too, Siliconeer included. There was a whole section dedicated to delegates from India – FICCI, Devanthari, TechnoPurple GPS and more. The expo was neat but a conference is incomplete without speakers. TiE made sure there was no shortage.

Along with the expo and people connecting, TiEcon staged many speeches, keynotes, and presentations. Experts, CEOs, professors, entrepreneurs, and many more presented their views. Representatives from large companies such as Google, YouTube, Amazon, and many more, spoke and shared their wisdom with other entrepreneurs.

Speakers shared thoughts and gave expert opinions on what the future holds for us and how far we have come in terms of innovation. Some presenters shared their experiences and gave an abundance of useful advice and recommended certain methods on handling a business.

One thing I obtained from most of these speeches is the attitude every presenter held. All the presenters were smiling and talking slowly while clearly projecting their voice with confidence. In today’s world, where most people silently speak with their fingers, to be a great leader, one has to be a great speaker.

Professors, startup founders, and the ever-growing list of innovators, also shared their wisdom. Most of the keynotes and presentations were based on the future of tech and the digital world. Virtual reality, Internet of Things, and the massive Cloud, which truly is “more than meets the eye,” were just some of the hot topics making rounds. Along with these miniature keynotes, TiE also holds grand keynotes.

This year, TiE had six grand keynotes in a course of two days. The grand keynote is usually set in the largest conference hall in the conference besides the expo. The grand keynote has a speaker who stretches on one topic.

The list of presenters this year was impressive – President and CEO of Adobe Systems, Shantanu Narayen; CEO of Infosys, Vishal Sikka; President of JetBlue Tech Ventures and Olympian, Bonny Simi, all presented on May 6.

CEO of SanDisk, Sanjay Mehrotra; Brian Michael Jenkins, Senior Adviser at RAND Corp; and lastly Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi, all presented on May 7.

As you would have guessed by now, it is not possible to cover every speaker with the limited access provided by TiE as there are many tracks running simultaneously. Siliconeer covered the last grand keynotes of the two days, the first by Bonny Simi and the second by Kailash Satyarthi.

Bonny Simi had shared her story on how she started as any other teenager with a couple of wishes, not knowing if it would actually come true. She worked more and more towards those wishes and she achieved almost all her goals. She became an Olympian, a pilot, a TV reporter and an entrepreneur. Last thing left on her list… A log cabin! One thing she had said that made sense after some explanation was, “Yes, there is a difference between a dream and a goal.”

Using Elon Musk as an example, Simi said, “He wanted to change the world with electric car … now Tesla with the Model-3 announced, has $2 billion in back orders to clearly well change the world with the electric car.”

Kailash Satyarthi gave a powerful, touching speech about his mission in India. He shared a story of how he saved kids from child labor and gave them the opportunity to live like a child, freely. He then went on explaining what his mission is and how he wants to completely eliminate child labor in India. With that in mind, his journey led him to winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

Addressing the packed auditorium, Satyarthi said, “The image of India has been changed because of you (entrepreneurs like those sitting in audience), and we all are proud of you.”

“The power you bring here is the power of leadership. You are innovators,” he said.

“But most importantly, I feel that wherever you have gone … you brought the deeper value of humanity, the deeper value of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ – the whole world is like my family,” said Satyarthi, something everyone, especially the future generation, should remember.

The stereotypical Indian parent always says “mera beta/beti engineer ya doctor banega/banegi.” participants of TiE youth always either prove the stereotype or completely dismantle it. This year, attendees were surprised with the innovative thinking that was coming from the future generation.

A notable person of the TiE youth program this year was the young, 9-year-old Yash Semlani, who, just as everyone in the conference, is an entrepreneur. Yash Semlani was well-dressed and erupted with confidence setting the stage “on fire.”

“You don’t have to be a professional to start a business. Amateurs started Google and Apple. Professionals built the Titanic,” said Yash.

There were others ready to show off their innovative creation. TheHealthyBeat, Autolock, GotMamba were few of the many. These teams were generous enough to provide summaries about their idea and give us a gist of what is coming up in the future.

“We created “AutoLock” after losing multiple bikes throughout our high school years; we became fed up with the manual locks that are difficult to use and that we often forgot to lock our bikes. With Autolock, we are targeting the recreational biker looking for an affordable bicycle security. Our solution is an automatic bike lock with unique peer to peer protection makes it near impossible for a thief to steal a bike.” – Autolock: Nihal Maunder, Srinath Goli, Anisha Anisetti, Sindhu Goli, Ishan Maunder.

“TheHealthyBeat.org is the first Web site of its kind to be developed in two languages, English and Hindi, and allows Indians to gain nutritional knowledge, access a database of caloric values of Indian foods, and adopt necessary lifestyle changes. TheHealthyBeat has been adopted by the Diabetic Association of India.” – TheHealthyBeat: Avni Madhani.

“Waiting outside Footlocker in the brazen cold with a ripped camping chair at 2 am in the morning. That’s where it all started. And you know what made it worse; we didn’t even get the Jordan’s we wanted. We were among the 70% of people who didn’t get a pair. And the people who did were harassed and intimidated with offers to buy the shoes. We thought to ourselves when we saw the hundreds of people who wasted their time for a small chance for the sneakers and went home empty handed, there must be a way to get a pair without wasting time with a small chance at getting them. That was the light bulb moment for us. We wanted to create a user friendly automated program that would almost guarantee your chances at getting your favorite sneakers at a low price. So we asked our friends and they said they faced similar problems when trying to get other sneakers. Some even said that they also missed out on the same one’s we had tried for. That is how Mamba Sniper was created. You can visit us at www.gotmamba.com. You can also add us on twitter and instagram @gotmamba.”
GotMamba: Kartikeya Agrawal & Amit Chigurupati.

This year, there were a couple of new developments at TiEcon. TiE conquered the mobile market with a new mobile app that is intuitive, simple, and convenient for the attendees. With the app, the public was able to connect with speakers and stay updated with what was going on at what room and at what time. A scavenger hunt was hosted with prizes as an incentive to join the hunt.

The news of President Venk Shukla’s retirement from TiE surprised the crowd. Ram Reddy was announced the new President-elect of TiE.

Critical observations – Booth Locations: TiE needs to review their booth setting as a lot of areas in the expo hall were secluded from the main crowd. The row where Siliconeer booth was placed, at the very far end of the hall, was so secluded that some of our neighbors like Etihad Airways actually decided not to attend the conference on the second day. The same was the case on the other side where the Chugh Firm booth was eventually relocated to a more central location the next day. Access: Providing more access to some media outlets while restricting others defies the core values of TiE. In our opinion, access to special events like the banquet should not be limited to a select few, new media should be allowed to cover them as well. That’s what TiE stands behind – fostering entrepreneurship and growth.

Thank you, TiE, for an amazing experience!