Paddy Cosgrave runs Web Summit, one of the world’s largest technology summits in the world. He recently took his team to Bengaluru – the start-up hub of India – for SURGE, the biggest startup tech event in India.
India Inc. caught up with Cosgrave on the key takeaways from the Indian outing of Surge, the country’s innovation potential and why he thinks the Indian start-up ecosystem is so vibrant.
How would you say the first Surge fared?
A great success overall, though it’s the participants’ inputs that matter on this question. A lot of important connections were made between our attendees and the feedback was overall very positive. As I said on stage, I do think we can always do better at our events and with each event we grow bigger and better. Surge is no different to that.
What are your top five takeaways from Surge?
I think it was phenomenal to see the amount of incredible start-ups in India at this moment and I look forward to coming back next year to see how they have grown. It was also interesting to hear from the likes of Flipkart and other unicorns on how they become so successful as well as hearing from investors on what advice they have for start-ups.
What did attendees find most useful at Surge?
Attendees found the SURGE app incredibly useful for connecting with other attendees. Thousands of attendees used it over the two-day event to find the best connections and to direct message people they wanted to connect with.
Our recommender system is an amazing tool built by our team that pulls together attendee information and suggests others that will be of interest to them other based on interests, country, connections etc.
How do you see India’s start-up ecosystem compared with some of the world hubs?
India has arguably the most important and accessible start-up ecosystem in the world right now. Talent, education, smart money and a vibrant ecosystem are some of the key ingredients right now. There is an impressive government focus on promoting entrepreneurship which must also help. Not all tech eco-systems can boast the same level of support and innovation that India is receiving right now.
What would be your top recommendations for Indian policymakers?
I don’t think I would be presumptuous enough to feel able to make recommendations for Indian policy makers after one event in Bangalore (Bengaluru). But I will say that I think what the government are doing at present is significant.
And finally, your advice to Indian entrepreneurs still seeking their big break.
Networking is the key to growing your company so the more meetings and more effort you put in the more successful I believe you will be. My one big piece of advice for start-ups in general and those that come to our events is be prepared to hustle. For events like Surge, that means knowing the people you want to meet and making sure you meet them, by getting in touch ahead of the event. In general, the best founders know that the hustle is a key ingredient to put you on the path to rapid growth and success.
Paddy Cosgrave is founder of Web Summit & f.ounders. He has been listed on ‘Wired’ Magazine’s list of 100 most important people in tech.Tagged: Digital India, Ecosystem, Summit, Start-up