The First Edition of the India Startup Festival (ISF) was held on October 1 and 2, 2022, at Sathya Sai Grama, Muddenahalli, Chikkaballapur, Bangalore. The festival saw the largest network of the best minds from the Startup ecosystem of India come together to redefine the future of the Startup Revolution in India. The event was graced by the presence and participation of 75+ investors, industry experts, mentors, speakers, new-age Startups, entrepreneurs, and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies from across the globe. The attempt was to explore, collaborate, relook at opportunities and thereby redefine the Startup revolution by supporting entrepreneurs and building a solid ecosystem to help them realise their full potential.

At the Inauguration of the Festival, Mr J A Chowdary, Founder, General Chair of ISF, welcomed the delegates. He presented the ideal of creating an ecosystem of togetherness and support and a vision of a new atmanirbhar Bharat

Themed exhibitions, round table and panel discussions on critical areas like women empowerment, fintech, education, rural health and nutrition, knowledge sessions, pitches to investors and the opportunity to share, exchange and network with the best minds in the Startup space of India were some of the highlights of the event. 

Blessing the event, Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai urged all minds to work towards a new vision in the backdrop of their benefits reaching the lowest section of the pyramid in this nation, i.e., rural India. Sadguru insisted that this section of society has to be uplifted through education, healthcare, nutrition and skilling programmes because this is where the next generation of workforce, customers and consumers are. The success of a venture must be measured in terms of the impact it creates in society, in terms of the billion smiles it can deliver and not only in terms of a billion-dollar valuation. Calling the ashram a siddha sankalpa bhumi, Sadguru spoke of how anything that was decided in the ashram did happen. More than 200 million US dollars were spent in the last ten years in setting up five paediatric super speciality hospitals, a university, educational institutions and the world’s largest morning nutrition program wherein one million children are served nutritious breakfast every day. And all of this could happen because people who believed in these causes came together. “Collaboration is the keyword; only when we collaborate can we celebrate the 100th year of India as a developed nation and not as a developing nation,” Sadguru said.

In conclusion, Sadguru provided venture capitalists with three key words as the vision for their companies — the solutions provided by their ventures must be agreeable, affordable and accessible to rural India. “Ensure these, and I am sure you will be not just billionaires but trillionaires in times to come. Rural India is where all the wealth lies if you can tap into it.”

The Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to Sri B N Narasimha Murthy, Chancellor, Sri Satya Sai University for Human Excellence, for his contributions to the field of education. 

The largest Startup Festival in the country ended with a call for more rural innovation.

Other Highlights of the Festival

• Dr Velumani, Founder, Thyrocare, shared his knowledge with the delegates present. 

• The festival was also virtually witnessed by more than 1.5 lakh delegates from across the globe.

• 1500+ StartUps under multiple heads participated in the StartUp pitch contest, where the top 100 were selected and invited to be at the festival to pitch their vision. From this group, the top ten made it to the recognised list who will be supported and mentored by the core group of ISF. 

• Six unicorns and soonicorns were awarded for their exemplary work in employment generation and contribution to the country’s economic development. 

• The symbolic unveiling of the CONNECT TO CAUSE programme.

• The launch of the One Rupee App.

• The launch of Gossip Corner – a women’s entrepreneurship programme.