I was the first speaker on the Unpluggd series a few years ago. I have very fond memories of the event, which was held at Honeywell offices. A little over 50-80 people joined us at a fairly small lunch room converted into a hall.
First off, kudos to Ashish, Kunal and Pratyush and the many others who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to get this to happen.
There were between 500 and 600 people at the event and it was buzzing. The first event had 2 sponsors, and Honeywell sponsored the location. This event had standing (or sitting in the aisles) room only even for the last talk in the day and top notch speakers and sponsors.
I was very impressed with both the quality of the 10 companies that presented (disclosure: Vinita, my wife presented her company GitGrow at the event) and the quality of the speakers.
One company in particular, UberLabs talked about their product gazeMetrix. One word – awesome.
No other words.
I have been to 5 demo days in India and over 11 in the US. This product in any of those demo days would have been among the top 3. The quality of the idea and its execution was crisp.
The entrepreneur in me says – just fund this entrepreneur. The investor in me says – get ready for a tough slog for the next few years. The product is good, but the challenge is going to be distribution. B2B companies targeting India alone struggle even with the best products. Targeting US (the primary market) for this out of India is always a challenge. What they will end up doing I suspect is to go Westward (like InterviewStreet, Orange scape and others).
That’s no necessarily a bad thing, but I just wish we had more early adopters both in the consumer and business side to help companies like Uber Labs thrive in India without having to leave India.