A Message from Ashok Rao, Chairman, TiE Global
June 30, 2012
Dear fellow Charter Members of TiE,
To steal a line from a famous Willie Nelson song, I'm
"On the road again
Just can't wait to get on the road again.
The life I love is making music with my (TiE) friends"....
...... in Portland, La Baule, Antwerp and Leuven,
...... I'm just travelin' on the road again.
You might be wondering why I am plagiarising from Willie Nelson, and how it makes sense? Because it sort of describes my month of June. I am returning from La Baule, France (if you are wondering where it is - Google Maps is the only answer) where I spoke at the Global Investment Conference, a sort of mini Davos; from Antwerp and Brussels where I emceed some of the Horasis Europe-India Annual Business Conference; and from Leuven, Belgium where I was asked to be the speaker at TiE Brussels' bi-monthly dinner keynote. The one plus from all this travel is that this month I am able to complete my June letter to y'awl on time, because I once again find myself in a familiar place - at 35,000 feet, with 8 hours of uninterrupted peace and quiet, on my way back from those hectic 8 days in France and Belgium. June sure was a crazy busy month.
TiE Global Initiatives
First some good news from TiE Global. The new TiE initiatives I wrote to you about last month are almost all done. "TiE CM Konnect" and "TiE Wiki" are in place and operational. We have request from 28 Charter members to start forums in a diverse range of topics. You will be getting a letter from PK next week asking you to sign up for forums of your choice, are not too far away from launching TiE Global Deal Connect.. I hope my golfer friends would all join "Golfers of TiE Unite" forum.
"TiE Global Deal Connect" - the program that will give substance to our claim that TE "Helps start-ups Start Up", should be up and running (as promised) by the end of July.
The retreat in Lisbon is looking even better and better - but more on that later.
Stopped in Portland Oregon before my trip to Europe and was literally blown away by the positive energy and progress at that chapter. They have more than doubled their charter membership in the past 6 months and have also launched their own TiE Angels venture which has already invested in two start-ups. In addition, to all their normal TiE business, TiE Oregon has also established a "TiE Incubator" (see photo below) by partnering with a real estate firm for pro bono space, and with charter members for the mentoring. Not satisfied with all this great progress they have also launched a semi-annual "PitchFest" where companies have 3 minutes apiece to present their start-up businesses. I had the privilege of attending their PitchFest when I was in Portland. It was truly a grand success. 15 companies presented to a panel of judges and over 100 interested onlookers. There were real prizes in cash and in kind for the winners in 2 categories - Best Business Potential and Best Presentation respectively. I had the honor of being one of the judges this time around, and was very impressed with the quality of the companies that presented.
My kudos to the chapter! Nitin please make sure you post all of these best practices on out "TiE Wiki".
Also my thanks to Nitin for arranging a round of golf for me and few charter member "suspects and prospects" at the world famous Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club (Tiger Woods won his record breaking 3rd consecutive US Amateur title there in 1996). It was not just fun and games at the golf course however. We had a serious bet riding on the outcome of the game, and at the end of our 18 holes that bet was claimed in the form of a charter membership from my partner during the round - Daren Nelson, a very successful entrepreneur in his own right (see photo below). Welcome to TiE Daren. You look quite happy giving me that check, and all of us at TiE will do our best to keep that smile firmly in place on your face.
From left to right: Ram Koganti, Founder Techolos; Nitin Rai, President TiE Oregon; and Balki Kodarapu, Founder, Return Guru
Yours truly accepting the check for charter member dues from Daren Nelson at the 18th green of Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club.
World Investment Conference
Spent 3 days in La Baule, France at the 10th annual World Investment Conference and delivered the (almost closing) keynote. The Prime Minister of France followed as the actual closing keynote but he spoke entirely in French (losing over 50% of the audience who did not speak French) and spoke nothing about investments or innovation, only about "Viva la France, et la langue Franšaise". That is why most of the non-French speaking members of the audience called my bit on "Innovation, Entrepreneurship and TiE" the almost closing keynote. All the same, it was a fantastic showcase for TiE and hopefully we will see a couple of new chapters forming in Europe as a result.
Horasis Europe-India Global Conference
I guess it was worthwhile exposure for TiE at this very high profile event, but when one is sandwiched between politicians and ministers from India, Belgium and the European Parliament, it has to be one of the more boring conferences I have ever attended. It gives credence to the definition of a conference as ...
"... a gathering of important people who singly can do nothing, but together can decide that nothing can be done."
All the same TiE Global got a lot of very good exposure. Additionally TiE Brussels was selected as the principal host organization for Kaufmann Foundation's Global Entrepreneurship Week in Belgium in November - a truly great honor indeed. All credit is due to TiE Brussels and Freddy Nurski (ED of TiE Brussels) in particular, for engineering these opportunities.
This is another chapter (like Pune, Oregon and Islamabad) that is on a real terrific turnaround path. After having hit some troubled times last year, they are growing rapidly, having tripled their charter membership over the past 12 months. The dinner keynote event was fun for me as it was attended by a number of younger aspiring entrepreneurs. Clearly the entrepreneurial bug has infected Europe - finally! During the meeting we were able to sign up 17 new members and 2 new charter members. Keep up the good work Brussels.
Lisbon Retreat: July 19-22
More good news folks! The second headliner for our retreat business sessions (we had already confirmed my boyhood and cricketing icon Farokh Engineer) will be none other than Paul Deegan.
Paul Deegan who?? You might ask? Well "Google him" and you will be blown away. He conquered Mount Everest in 2004, 8 years after almost losing his life in a blizzard and storm during a failed attempt in 1996 - a storm that which Time magazine called the worst disaster ever in the mountain's history. He was also the one responsible for cleaning up the base of Mount Everest as a teenager. His is an inspiring story of courage, never giving up, and literally a "never say die" attitude. A story that is very relevant to entrepreneurs. I have heard him speak and trust me, you are all in for a treat.
Even more good news!!. A record breaking attendance from 14 countries and 39 chapters (including our 3 new chapters of Portugal, Hong Kong and Israel) will be present at our retreat, and PK & I are looking forward to welcoming all the 180 plus charter members and their families who have signed up to attend.
Annual "Best" Awards to be presented at the Retreat
As I mentioned in my May letter, we received a total of 45 nominations for our 5 "best" chapter awards. Determining the 4 finalists per category were tough enough tasks, but our team of judges, had the truly difficult challenge of determining the 5 winners that will be announced in Lisbon. My heartiest congratulations to all the chapters who made it to the finals. They are:
1. Best Chapter - Overall
Finalists: Atlanta, Boston, Delhi, Toronto
2011 Defending Champion: Delhi
2. Best Turnaround
Finalists: Brussels, Islamabad, Oregon, Pune
2011 Defending Champion: Atlanta
3. Most Innovative Program
Finalists: Atlanta, Coimbatore, Delhi, Mumbai
2011 Defending Champion: Boston
4. Best promotion of youth entrepreneurship
Finalists: Bhubaneswar, Boston, Hyderabad, Singapore
2011 Defending Champion: UK
5. Most effective leadership transition
Finalists: Hyderabad, Kerala, Nagpur, UK North
2011 Defending Champion: Rajasthan
The judges have submitted their votes, and the winners of the chapter awards (above) have been finalized. The names of the winners have been placed in "hermetically sealed" envelopes and have been entrusted to the care of the world famous legal and accounting firm of "Agarwal, Safdari and Comer". Stay tuned for the announcement at our gala awards dinner on July 21 in Lisbon when these envelopes will be opened and the winners announced.
In addition we will be recognizing the following winners:
"Most Attendees at the Retreat" (instituted this year)
Retreat MVP (instituted last year)
Chairman's Award (instituted 3 years ago)
Next Year's Retreat
As I mentioned in my May letter, chapter presidents and executive directors please note - If you would like to host the 2013 retreat in your town, please put together your proposals for who, what, where, how and how much, and have it ready for presentation in Lisbon, at our Presidents Council meeting on the afternoon of Thursday July 19.
Look forward to seeing you all, sometime, somewhere when I am "back on the road again".