A sporting Steve Sinofsky after his fireside chat. (IIT Bay Area Alumni Association)

When IIT alums from any campus meet, there is instant bonding. They know each other exactly, in fact sometimes there is no talk and the connection is established and cherished. They are intellectually compatible, having passed the dreaded JEEE. There is none of the getting to know you, the formality and good behavior so important in other budding friendships. IIT friendships spring instantly and strongly and continue to grow.

IIT Bay Area Alumni Association is inclusive of various IIT alumni associations, and engaged in bringing inter-IIT alumni together for sharing successes, facilitating collaboration, and providing a platform for the greater impact initiatives. Of course, IIT Bay Area Leadership Conference offers the largest IIT alumni hangout.

According to Reshma Nigam, an IITian spouse, “I have watched these scenarios play out for the years I have lived in the U.S. My husband, Anil Nigam, is an IIT-K alum and when I came here the only people we hung out with were his IIT friends and their wives. Till today, I still hang out with the same group and have added a whole lot more from other campuses.”

IIT Bay Area Leadership Conference 2017. From Autonomous Vehicles and Artificial Intelligence to breath taking cinematographic visual effects, IITians are making important contributions to several key and emerging technologies. Many such best and brightest minds from IITs will talk about their contributions to these cutting-edge technologies at the IIT Bay Area Conference scheduled for June 17, at the Santa Clara Convention Center.

Conference participants from the past years had a lot to say about the quality of the speakers and relevance of topics. The conference gave them the opportunity to learn, brainstorm, network, and make meaningful and lasting business connections. This year’s event will be bigger and better than the past year.

A wonderful keynote by Romesh Wadhwani. (IIT Bay Area Alumni Association)

Industry stalwarts like Arjun Malhotra, Arjun Sarin, Ravi Mhatre, Deepak Chopra and Rajat Gupta are scheduled to take the stage for keynotes.

Thought-leadership lightning talks bring experts to share their knowledge on varied topics ranging from conversation AI to creating digital actors. Yes, technical Oscar winner Parag Havaldar will be on stage too.

The conference focuses on hot industry topics. Subject matter experts and leaders will share their experience on the current state and advances being made on Autonomous Vehicles, Clean Energy, AI and FinTech. Each of these are expected to be billion dollar businesses. Industry leading VCs will discuss the frontier technologies they are looking at investing in.

Will Autonomous Vehicles spark an urban mobility revolution, provide a cleaner environment and help us all save time and money? Will Artificial Intelligence make our lives and jobs easier, or will it result in millions losing their jobs? The Gov’t of India has announced goals to have 100% electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030. Is that audacious goal achievable? It does seem like the next mobile-like revolution! And will advances in FinTech lead to a cash-less society and fully transparent financial transactions?

The conference will explore some of these questions while raising new ones. IITians, irrespective of nature of their profession, are invited to showcase their successes and talents, rekindle their imaginations and aspirations, and network to create bigger opportunities.

The IIT Bay Area Conference (Hashtag #IITBayCon) has been designed, as an annual IIT Alumni conference in the Silicon Valley to highlight successes, sustain IIT brand, and create more opportunities for IITians in Bay Area.

IIT Bay Area Conference leadership team 2016. (IIT Bay Area Alumni Association)

Startup Mela (Festival). Have you ever wondered how Tesla went from a concept to roadster to an awesome Model S. Or how Google went from a lab project in Stanford to the fabulous cash machine it is today. Why some startups succeed while others fail?

If you think your startup is based on core insight from your brain, think again. A fledging Google, living on VC money, found success by listening to an engineer’s idea (Salar Kamangar) for text ads on the browsers, an idea that was in turn inspired from its rival.

Startups cannot be built in an ivory tower or in the basement of your home. Steve Bank, Silicon Valley’s famous startup guru, says that all facts for a startup’s success are outside the office. So get the heck out. And find out something that you don’t know.

A startup needs people that will validate your idea, visionaries that will pilot your technology, financiers who will buy your dream and engineers who will build your offering. If there is one place in Silicon Valley, where you can meet all these people in one day, it is the IIT Bay Area Leadership Conference. (http://iit-bayarea.org/)

This year’s conference plans to debut 20 IIT startups working on visionary products or problems. Startups that register will get a booth to demo their offerings, three-minute pitch in an open forum and an opportunity to meet with VCs. There is no time like now to realize your dreams, follow your passion and build something fascinating.

IIT Bay Area Alumni Association and the conference is led by a team of volunteers, IITians or their spouses, representing various IITs. Team seeks the broader representation and greater energy to showcase successful IITians, their creativity and passion for entrepreneurship in Bay Area.

To attend the conference, showcase your startup, or network with fellow IITians, all in one day, or to volunteer, please visit www.iit-bayarea.org.

Contributions by the IIT Bay Area leadership team members