Two weeks back, Infuse Ventures held its first ever “meetup” in Bangalore. For the uninitiated, a meetup is, for lack of a better description, an updated version of a meeting, currently facilitated through a very popular social networking platform called, well, Meetup.com.
Although we were aware that meetups are very popular within the IT and startup communities in Bangalore, neither Infuse nor CIIE had ever formally organized a meetup. Considering that our recently launched PowerStart accelerator program will be based in Bangalore, we felt that this was the right time to organize a meetup in the city. Also, sticking to the theme of the program and to drum up interest in it, we decided to call the meetup Cleanweb Bangalore. The purpose of the meetup would be to raise awareness on opportunities and business models in the cleanweb space, i.e., any ICT-/IoT (Internet of Things)-enabled application that directly or indirectly leads to the efficient use of energy or resources. Cleanweb-based business models have successfully bridged the gap between traditional cleantech business and recent advances in ICT such as web, mobile and internet-enabled technologies. More importantly, cleanweb businesses are increasingly relying on the sudden growth in popularity of IoT to bring about energy and/or resource efficiency.
Extending a partnership forged for the PowerStart program, the meetup was hosted at TechHub – an incubator and co-working space located inside the UK India Business Centre in Koramangala, central Bangalore. In all, the meetup was attended by 17 people – the small size of the group ensured a very informal and lively discussion. It was very interesting to hear about the work that each of the attendees was doing, and understanding their interest in attending the meetup. Since this was our very first meetup, the objectives were three-fold: to understand what future meetups should be about, to spread word on the PowerStart program, and finally, to get people from the IT community to understand cleanweb as a business model. We’re glad to say that we managed to achieve all three objectives, even if that meant that the event ended up running over time to last 2 hours (as opposed to the originally scheduled 1 hour). Fortunately, some great banana cake and masala chai from Chai Point ensured the liveliness of the conversation!
(On an unrelated note, the author was rather impressed by the innovative-yet-sustainable ‘chai flask’ that was developed by Chai Point – a startup themselves – to deliver hot steaming chai. This is jugaad innovation at its best!)
One interesting thing we realized is that the term ‘cleanweb’ itself is quite alien to the IT community, with even some of the attendees who were themselves pursuing cleanweb business ideas unaware of this! This gave us our most important takeaway from the meetup – rather than introduce cleanweb from the very beginning, it is important to bring sectoral/functional experts to talk about needs in their sectors that could in turn be met through cleanweb business models. Consequently, it was decided that future meetups would follow a format where an expert would deliver a talk on a certain critical need/problem facing a particular market, followed by an informal discussion amongst attendees, on how ICT or IoT-enabled applications could be built to solve them. We also realized that it is necessary to maintain a regular schedule of meetups, ideally one every month, to keep the momentum running.
Needless to say, Infuse Ventures is very excited about the meetup and our upcoming PowerStart program. We have very exciting meetups coming up for you folks in Bangalore – join the Cleanweb Bangalore meetup group and stay tuned!