From the President’s Desk

Ravi Nigam

President – TiE Pune

Nothing in this century has grabbed our collective attention, heightened anxiety, and caused upheaval in our lives, more than the Covid pandemic, that’s still raging and has already affected over 30 million people. The virus has taken lives, destroyed jobs, and created an uncertain future for millions.

All stakeholders in our entrepreneurial ecosystem, including consumers and employees, have all been affected in a manner we do not yet fully understand.

I dedicate our first newsletter to the memory of more than 900,000 people who have lost their lives to Covid and wish a quick recovery to those who are yet unwell.

Preparing for the new reality
We know that some things in the post-Covid world will change forever, but not all for the worse. The pandemic is teaching many lessons to all of us:

  1. Different Globalisation:
    Being ‘Atmanirbhar’ (or self-reliant) has become imperative for all, reversing decades of progress in ‘one world’ concept.

    Companies are asking fundamental questions about their business model. They will reconfigure their supply chains, re-negotiate contracts and struggle to hold on to their consumers, all the time wondering how to deal with the changing demands of their stakeholders.

  2. Different Consumer:
    Consumers too have faced a new reality. From profligate spenders to savers, polluters to cleansers, mere consumers to producers at home, physical to digital and from indifference to engagement.

The post Covid scenario has also changed the way TiE Pune has come together. Despite uncertainty and challenges, TiE Pune continued to aggressively pursue the cause of promoting entrepreneurship across its immediate ecosystem and beyond.

By any reckoning, progress in the last several months has been quite satisfactory.

  • Members at TiE Pune (Charter Members and Associate Members) have come together more than ever before and we are witnessing camaraderie and team effort of a kind that can make us feel very proud.
  • We have had to postpone our signature annual event – TiECON by several months, despite very enthusiastic initial response. We shall now be planning to host this event virtually towards end of the calendar year, without any compromise in its quality and impact on hundreds of young entrepreneurs.
  • Teams at TiE Pune that work on Member relations, Eco System Inspiration (My Story Sessions), Incubation centres , Student organisations and Large corporations have conducted over 50 focussed webinars in the last 4 months featuring several Charter Members and subject matter experts creating huge enthusiasm in the community and an expectation of excellence. Overall attendance crossed over 7,500 people in these webinars
  • The Nurture Accelerator – amongst TiE Pune’s most important initiatives, graduated its 8th Batch of entrepreneurs, and is getting set to launch its 9th edition soon. TiE Pune was overwhelmed with over 200 applications for the current batch of Nurture which will enrol 40+ start-ups. ‘Nurture’ is now being tracked by all in the start-up community nationally as well as by TiE Chapters globally.
  • NTT Data Japan (NTD) renewed its annual engagement with TiE Pune for facilitating hi-quality engagement with start-ups in India as well as in Singapore. Over 194 start-ups were showcased for potential global collaboration with NTD.
  • There is a new buzz around Angel Investment activity. A Master Class series is soon being unveiled for the highest level of application of management theory in start-ups.
  • The Marketing and PR teams have turned in a stellar performance. While continuing to be a work in progress, the TiE Pune website, now sports a vastly improved look. All communication now carries a unique TiE Pune design. There is a lot more Digital marketing and a planned PR effort has resulted in TiE Pune getting attention in all forms of news media, including digital and press.

It does seem that a lot is going on at TiE Pune and it makes one wonder as to how an organisation of members who all work pro-bono have created something that can be showcased with pride.

My learning is rather simple . The first thing is to bring a great team together . Now if the whole team is feeling good, if everyone is optimistic, making good decisions and being creative, then Wow ! It’s how magic happens.

And that’s all there is to it !

I wish all of you the very best . Stay safe, healthy and happy.

Gazing into the future

Vineet Patni

Vice President – TiE Pune

This year not only brings disruption, reforms, and change in political outlooks, but also a significant shift in businesses and business models. Some will stay and some may reset back after we are through with these times. Our Events Team had a great start this year, and we saw a record number of registrations for our flagship event TiECON 2020, where we offered Associate membership for TiE Pune as a part of the package.

The current pandemic has thrown many opportunities to the Team in this space, and we have increased our engagement with the members with multiple events. We have also have seen record participation of our Charter Members. The Team has decided to merge both TiECON 2020 and FutureTech 2020 as one event this year and showcase it as a one of its kind gathering in the current times. Do watch this space for the dates, as we get ready with the necessary preparations and easing of the situation.

These events not only offer networking, mentoring and many more opportunities, but are also a great way for volunteers to work together as a community and go back with many memories. Please feel free to reach out to us and be a part of the fun.

Thank you once again for your confidence and support, and we are committed to serving the purpose and the cause.

Know your Charter Member

Vandana Saxena Poria

The Human Alarm Clock,
CA, Serial Entrepreneur,
UK Padmashri (OBE from The Queen)

How did the idea for your business come about?
The Human Alarm Clock was born out of the desire to mentally wake people up! Over the past 25 years, I’ve lived in over 10 countries and I’ve found that people are usually unsatisfied with many aspects of their lives, but don’t know what to change to make it better, or are frightened of making a change. I wanted to concentrate on getting people to see the unwritten rules they have made up, that they insist on following, and help them find a framework that brings ‘Ojas’, or an internal aliveness back into them. At the moment, I am finishing off the testing stage for the products and services, which can be used by individuals and companies to create a 50x more fulfilling existence.

How many hours a day do you work on average?
Between 9 and 10 hours. My days start early at 6 am, so I am finished by 5-6pm.

Can you describe/outline your typical day?
I work from 6am to 5-6pm, with regular breaks.

My first hour, at 5am is always meditation, yoga and exercise. Then 6am to 10am is my writing and creativity time (but I take a break to have breakfast with my kids). I write my fiction and non-fiction books, both related to disrupting mind-sets. The fictional series, The Ojas Chronicles is about a teenage girl who visits different planets with different ways of life (hence has to expand the way she thinks) and the non-fiction book is about challenging everyday thoughts, which is from conversations with the late Alyque Padamsee.

Calls start from 10am and I schedule 15 mins after each call to do any activities related to that call. I take 45 mins for lunch and 2 short breaks where during lockdown I walk and talk to catch up with friends and family. At any time, I’m working 4-6 specific projects and all activities are colour-coded in my diary, so at a glance I can see if I am spending the right amount of time on them, or if any are suffering. I don’t believe in To Do lists – I think they’re the worst invention ever. Everything you are doing will be tied to a bigger goal, so there’s time allocated to those bigger goals, so smaller tasks fit in those time-slots (added in the diary entry itself).

Evenings are spent with my kids (My son Jai is 16 and daughter, Zara is 14) and my mother (78 years young and an award-winning Hindi writer) – playing games, having conversations and watching movies.

What motivates you?
Injustice motivates me – the opportunity to dissolve it.

The desire to contribute to others and help them find the confidence to do what they are capable of doing.

How do you generate new ideas?
I think the best thing anyone can do is talk to diverse people and observe the same problem from as many perspectives as possible. I make it a point of speaking to everyone – from the chaiwallas and street cleaners in Koregaon Park, to Charter Members and Associate Members of TiE, to Doctors, Electricians, Beauticians and Botanists. Finding out their challenges, what they care about, how they handle problems is incredible, and of course, meditation. My most creative ideas come from concentrating on breathing, nothing else. Finally, from bringing a diverse team together to thrash out the thoughts, and formulate them into ideas.

If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I would find like-minded co-founders – at least 2 others with complementary skills. I would also spend far more time building the right senior team with the right mindset and skill set.

What entrepreneurial tricks have you discovered to keep you focused and productive in your day-to-day busy schedule?
My diary and my Executive Assistant, Glenda! Planning is crucial, and we end up spending too much time on activities that will not add value. If you understand the Pareto Principle, 20% of your efforts yield 80% of your results. So if you know how to focus on that 20% and expand that, you will do really well.

Typing fast and taking notes, then having a system to file them and being able to correlate abstract ideas together.

What key activities would you recommend entrepreneurs to invest their time in?
Talking to other people/team, getting alternate viewpoints, the latest tech and sharing knowledge.

Planning your time effectively (20/80)

Thought leadership – write and get your views known. Know your purpose. Keep distilling the essence of what you do better than others and how you do it better.

Could you comment on your association with TiE so far?
As a Charter member, our prime objective is to support Associate members in their journey. Having said that, I’ve made some good friends in the CMs and have an excellent community to reach out to, with expertise in so many areas. There’s an invaluable network that extends across the globe and across all industries, which I truly cherish.

If you were to write a book about yourself, how would you name it?


Akshay Mehrotra

Co-Founder and CEO,

Could you give us a brief introduction of yourself?
I am currently the Co – Founder and CEO of a new FinTech start-up in Pune. After completing my Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Symbiosis Pune, I started as a management trainee in Bajaj Allianz & went on to become the company’s marketing head in a short span of time and was considered one of the youngest CMOs in the country at age 26yrs. Later I worked for Policy Bazaar and Future Retail (Big Bazaar) as the CMO before starting Early Salary in 2015. I have also been conferred the Most Talented CMO of the year award in 2013 – 2014 in the retail space, by CMO Asia. In 2019, In 2019 I was honoured with the 40 under 40 awards from Business world

Could you tell us more about your company?
EarlySalary is India’s largest consumer lending application for salaried individuals that helps them with easy line of credit, instant cash loans and salary advances. EarlySalary has become the preferred line of credit for everyone in digital India and has disbursed over 15,00,000 loans. It focuses on helping its customers with different loan categories like shopping, travel, medical emergencies or education. It also provides additional facilities like EMI credits and No-Cost EMI offerings to help consumers with easy repay options. EarlySalary Financial Wellness Service focuses on company employees or the blue-collar/entry-level workers, which helps them to create a financial cushion in times of need.

My  Eureka moment for my  start-up was straight out of an inspiring Netflix founder series; Noting that young office colleagues hold back partying on month end sparked writing the concept card for EarlySalary to allow young people to borrow their salary a few days earlier on month ends. Writing down a business plan over the Friday & Saturday along with the co-founder and pitching to the 1st investor on Sunday and closing a $1.5M seed instantly and starting a company

Could you recount the key challenges in the professional world that you have faced so far, how you overcame them and the learning derived from those?
Learning a new business model and then disrupting it with new technology was a huge challenge. Having to learn something new is a big leap, especially when you are a seasoned professional. EarlySalary is my dream project. In the last three and a half years we have gone through phases where funding cycles were critical, and we came out with flying colours with marquee investors like EightRoads (Fidelity) Ventures and Chirate (IDG) Ventures investing into it. Today we have raised not only $32M in Equity but also raised more than $50+M in debt to help our business grow and have disbursed over Rs.2500+Cr in total till date.

Growth cannot happen without building a strong team; at EarlySalary we have been able to build a strong team of nearly 250 people with expertise in areas like core technology development, risk & underwriting, collections, product and marketing. This has helped us grow our business in a highly automated manner.

Large customer acceptance is critical to any early stage business. Today we have over 10M app downloads, disbursed over 15,00,000 loans and tied-up with over 500+ large corporates to help kick start hyper growth.

What are the books you have enjoyed reading? Could you recommend a few?
Founders Mentality by Chris Zook & James Allen
Founders are passionate and this passion if channelized well helps build successful companies. As a company plans to scale we need to drive with a singular insurgent mission to succeed, be in the driver’s seat with the owners’ mind-set and have a front line focus to deliver to. Another important lesson I learned was the need to build great repeatable models.

Good to Great by Jim Collins
The build-up to flywheel it’s not an easy journey to make a good company and even more challenging one to make a great one. The framework of ideas by Collins is a great steering wheel for entrepreneurs aiming to build a larger successful enterprise which can survive the test of time.

Please tell us about your family members
My spouse is Monalisa Mehrotra who is a Food Critique and award-winning Blogger. I have a 7 year old daughter.

My parents: Air Cmde Pankaj Mehrotra VSM, Retired Indian Air Force Officer my father and my mother is Mrs. Neelam Mehrotra a Manufacturing Chemist by Education

The youngest and most loved member of my family is my pet pug.


Supratik Ghatak

Co-Founder and Partner,

Your most productive habit?
Two habits I have consciously inculcated over the years – I like to spend time learning new things that align with my goals. No age is too late for learning and no learning ever goes waste. I have built this habit of being a good listener (ask my family, they would agree) before being a good speaker.

How do you give back?
I try to help other entrepreneurs in whatever capacity possible. I have gone to the extremes of modelling clothes for a fashion ecommerce run by a family friend to extensively mentoring students who want to set up their own businesses to being part of the TiECON Pune organizing team.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
I still consider myself young ☺, so I will postpone this question for a later date when I gather the wisdom.

If you could ask someone to read 1 book, which would it be and why?
Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand. Although named after a very famous American racehorse, the book captures the perseverance of the team behind its legendary wins. There is a movie on it as well which I would recommend all to watch.

What key activities would you recommend entrepreneurs to invest their time in?
Entrepreneurship is like riding a cycle while trying to build it. So few limited defined activities are not enough. Keeping the communication alive with all stakeholders, which includes your family too, comes on top of the list. Like my father said, qualities like perseverance, dedication and sincerity go a long way.

How did the idea for your business come about?
Demonetization brought about a lot of pain but it also opened up a lot of opportunities. I used to see a lot of professionals who previously dealt in archaic rudimentary methods trying to get help to transact digitally and digitize many old processes. With my background in mobile, cloud and analytics products, it was a green-shoots opportunity I could not pass to solve.

How do you generate new ideas?
Well, would be helpful to sit below a tree and wait for the apple to fall but alas those days are over. I am always on the lookout for a problem and a pain point to solve, speaking to the right stakeholders and understanding the specifics. As they say, don’t create a problem to solve, find one.

If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Nothing much honestly, although I would have loved to restart with a career that had more scope for travel and working in different geographies and varied markets.  And in hindsight, a higher compensation would not hurt either.

If you were to write a book about yourself, how would you name it?
The young and the restless


Vinay Nathan

CEO and Co-Founder,

Your most productive habit?
A weekly to-do list.

How do you give back?
TiE for me is my primary forum for giving back to society. I believe entrepreneurship is a key growth driver for the upliftment of society, and, the time I give TiE is my small contribution towards it. My wife Aarti, who now works full time at an education-oriented NGO Katalyst, and, I, have been making financial contributions to various causes for 15 years now. Education is also a cause we are passionate about.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Pay attention to your fitness. Write more.

If you could ask someone to read 1 book, which would it be and why?
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. How you live your life is more important than the dreams you achieve.

What key activities would you recommend entrepreneurs to invest their time in?

Live in tribes. Create them if you can. Communities can help you in the most unexpected ways. TiE has been the best one for me.

Write as much as you can. It is the best way to crystallize your thoughts and actions.

Family time is a tight rope walk but find a way to be there for family. It will help you maintain a balance amidst all the highs and lows of an entrepreneurial journey.

How did the idea for your business come about?
My cofounders Yogi, Ranj and I, spent about 3 months thinking through several business ideas that combined our strengths and were large problem spaces. IOT emerged on top and Pune being a big industrial hub we went with Industrial IOT.

How do you generate new ideas?
I really don’t have a set way. Most of what I learn is from talking to others.

If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I have been privileged to have started my career in a start-up and in the dozen odd years as a professional worked in all key functions; engineering, product management, marketing, and sales. But now thinking back I do think it would have been awesome to have started my entrepreneurial journey right out of college. It’s a restart anyway. 🙂

If you were to write a book about yourself, how would you name it?
Much ado about nothing, or, Waiting for God(i)ot. :)))))

Ninth Edition of TiE Nurture Accelerator Program


Jitendra Tanna

Chair, Nurture Accelerator Program

The Nurture Accelerator program at TiE Pune is structured mentoring to help entrepreneurs build a foundation consisting of – Globality, Strategy, Leadership and Ethics within their companies. The Nurture Program is TiE Pune’s signature mentoring and accelerator program and is the largest pro bono virtual accelerator in the country. TiE at a global level has adopted Nurture as the program.

Spreading our wings:
We now have Nagpur, Surat, Hubli chapters launching their own Nurture under the guidance of TiE Pune.

Over the years:
Over the past 8 years, 150+ startups have been through this program out of which 85 have graduated. Graduation means the startup has achieved the goals in the program it set along with its mentors and carved out its own path to success.

Nurture has now entered the 9th year with the launch of Nurture 9.0, and we have 60+ startups currently enrolled in the program, which kicked off on Sep 26th. The program will go until April 2021, or eight months of serious mentoring.

Our endeavour is to make Nurture available to a larger ecosystem of startups.

Key elements of the Nurture Accelerator program:
In-depth selection/interviews process to select startups for the Nurture program.

Assignment of a team of two mentors for each start up. These mentors work closely with the start up to validate the idea, prepare the go-to-market strategy, scaling the business and help them to get ready for funding. The biggest positive of the Nurture Acceleration program is to have the right set of mentors with the matched expertise to mentor the registered companies. Based on their past successes they are adept at advising the mentees on the future growth and strategies.

Two days of boot camp are organised where each startup goes through an intense process of evaluating their strategy and the way forward.

Guru Sessions, Workshops and Master classes on a range of subjects including topics like Idea validation, how to prepare a Business canvas, Scaling your business, Term sheets, Being funding ready and so on are also organised.

Graduation – Culmination of efforts
Graduation marks a culmination in their efforts in having worked their way with mentors, including participating in various sessions, and startups refining and evolving their roadmap. This event is the celebration of the successful graduation from the Nurture program.

Nurture Alumni Group – Continuing the bond
Nurture Alumni Group is formed to foster a sense of community among alumni members, to have continuous engagement with mentors and colleagues, and can help develop into priceless relationships.

TiE Pune Associate Members Community


TiE Pune Associate Members group today is over 350 members with about 10% growth in the last 3 to 4 months during pandemic.

  • 50% companies are early stage with small revenues
  • 30% have crossed 1+ Cr revenues
  • 10% are soloprenuers
  • 80-85% companies have less than 50 employees
  • 45% are product companies and a subset of product companies extend services too
  • 23% are involved in business consulting
  • A small percentage of companies are in stealth mode

Top categories where startups are looking for help:

  • Win customers
  • Branding and using influencers
  • Fund raising, Valuations and exist
  • Finessing business plan and go to market strategy
  • Precise articulation of the messaging

Pune Angels


Uday Kothari

Chair, Pune Angels

Pune Angels was formed in 2018 by a group of highly successful entrepreneurs and investors from Pune. We are interested in making angel investments in startup / early stage ventures which have the potential of creating disproportionate value in the near future. In addition to funds, we provide mentoring, and inputs on strategy as well as execution. Over the last couple of years, we have made multiple investments, and are regularly looking for new investment opportunities. You may reach us at for further details.

Tracing the progress so far:

  • Activity started in the beginning of 2018
  • Total Pitching Sessions: 16
  • Total Presentations: 49
  • Total Angeles: 31 – Added 6 new Angeles
  • 2020 Q1 – 3 Sessions (Last Friday of every month, Skipped April due to COVID)
  • 2020 Q1 – 13 Presentations

 Integration with other TiE Activities

  • Nurture Accelerator: 21 Companies Presented, 43%

 TiECon 2019 Pitching Session

  • Total Companies: 10
  • Nurture Companies: 6
  • Prominent VCs like Blume Ventures, VCat, KAAJ, Cornerstone
  • Startup companies from NTT DATA TIPP
  • TiE India Angeles – Initiated by TiE Global last year but yet to take off
  • Integration with ecosystem partners

Other Angel Networks

  • Venture Catalyst
  • Aha Ventures
  • Lead Angels
  • Venture Garage

 Supporting Organizations / Events

  • COEP StartUp Fest
  • IITB Abhuday – Social Entrepreneurship Competition
  • IITB eCell
  • Start-up Pune

Word Cloud of Webinar Keywords

Ecosystem Partners