Networking body TiE tries to redefine role

Networking body TiE tries to redefine role

Mumbai: The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), the oldest networking body for entrepreneurs in India, is reinventing itself in an effort to reach out to more entrepreneurs and move beyond IT and technology.

The non-profit organization, which played an important role in mentoring entrepreneurs during the dotcom boom, had slowed down its activites in the years since. It is now setting up an all-India governing council for better coordination between its individual city chapters within the country by the end of the month. The council comprises presidents of each TiE chapter in India (there are 19) and will be based in Delhi, which also houses the TiE Asia Infrastructure office.

“The council is being created so we can share information and will also act as an intermediary between the global headquarters and the various chapters," says Pravin Gandhi, president, TiE Mumbai.

It will also organize pan-India events for entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and companies. The standalone chapters, spread across 19 cities, so far had limited interaction. Meanwhile, informal forums such as BarCamps, Mobile Monday and Open CoffeeClubs, which have emerged in the last 12-18 months, have penetrated the start-up landscape much more effectively. In addition, events such as in Chennai have helped start-ups connect with investors and mentors in a more formal manner.

TiE, born in the Silicon Valley in 1994 as a networking tool for entrepreneurs of Indian origin, also wants to move beyond technology and IT.

“We found people had this image of TiE as an elite network, helping only those from premiere institutes like IIT, but we want to be accessible to everyone," says Hemant Kanakia, chairman, Global Networking Committee, TiE and president, TiE Washington DC. Outside the metros, it is focusing on sectors specific to the geography. For example, TiE Kerala has a focus on fishery and agriculture and TiE Chennai on automotive manufacturing. In this regard, TiE has issued a mandate to find more members who can mentor entrepreneurs in non-IT sectors.

Currently, it has close to 500 such members in India. Globally, the organization is also trying to move beyond early-stage mentoring. It has started dealing with mid-sized firms, advising them on how to grow their companies larger.