CAMBRIDGE, MA—(Editor’s note: TiE-Boston is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. On this occasion, INDIA New England News posed five questions to a few early charter members and some past presidents about TiE-Boston. During the next five days, we will publish their responses on one question each day. Their answers have been shortened and edited for clarity.)
Question: How do you think TiE-Boston has grown over the last 20 years?
Sushil Bhatia, Founding Charter Member
The growth in this chapter has been a big surprise, though a pleasant one, to me. Did not anticipate that it will grow as much as it has.
Ashok Boghani, Founding Charter Member
A simple answer would be that it is much larger than it was 20 years ago. Higher revenues, bigger staff, larger number of events, and certainly, vastly more Charter Mambers.
TiE has grown in the past 20 years from the original intent of being a “Trade Group” type organization to one that resembles an “NGO.” The “Angel Fund” aspect of TiE is now more organized than it used to be, while the “Tradeshow Organizer” aspect has remained much as it was in the past. Of course, one cannot deny that it was, and is, a “Country Club” of Charter Members.
Puran Dang, Early Charter Member
Tie-Boston has grown as expected. It was a major initiative to bring about a wave of inculcating the spirit of entrepreneurship particularly among young men and women. That dream has come true in a big way.
Samir Desai, Founding Charter Member and Past President
When we gathered for the first time in my first office in Burlington, MA to create what was then called TiE-Atlantic, I can assure you we couldn’t have even imagined the incredible organization that TIE has become. Since the very beginning we took this responsibility seriously – and we got our whole families involved. We are, of course, particularly proud of the TiE Boston Chapter. I have really enjoyed watching TiE Boston grow across sectors, breaking even beyond the South Asian diaspora to include the best and the brightest in the start-up space in Boston, and across generations – so many young and old alike coming together to build their dreams.
I have been particularly impressed with the way it’s become so autonomous across all the chapters all over the world. The Boston chapter in particular has been wonderful about including all sectors – tech, medical, social enterprise, entertainment, etc. and experimenting with formats – like competitions, lectures, and happy hours. I would still like to see more women at these conferences however, even that is changing. It’s amazing to see how they have engaged such a wide variety of people who are interested in this space. It’s excited. I am really proud to be a founding charter member, and am excited to see how it continues to grow!
Desh Deshpande, Founding President
In 1997 when TiE started, Indians got together for social events. They never got together to talk about their professional activities. TiE played a catalyst role in bringing people together. In 1997, even though we had lived in Boston area since 1984 I hardly knew 10 Indians. After TiE, now I know thousands. Also, TiE enabled people to come together and have meaningful conversations that really mattered as opposed to social chit chats.
Radha Jalan, Founding Charter Member
TiE-Boston has done exceptionally well. I am impressed with all different kinds of activities that it is involved in, all the different initiatives, it has taken during these years, e.g, TYE and its outreach in the mainstream community of greater Boston. I wish it even greater success in future.
Ramesh Kapoor, Founding Charter Member
Tie-Boston has grown but lost personal net-working and personal relation.
Santhana Krishnan, Early Charter Member
The TiE-Boston brand is now synonymous with entrepreneurship. Our charter members have boosted the local economy and communities by creating thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in wealth. I am proud to be part of this organization for the last 20 years.
Gaugarin Oliver, Past President
From its roots of a few entrepreneurs getting together to support each other, TiE-Boston has become the organization that offers multiple solutions to build an entrepreneurial community. We cover the full spectrum including training, mentoring, networking and funding. That is an incredible opportunity for entrepreneurs to be able to tap into TiE-Boston at various levels and needs.
Dinesh Patel, Founding Charter Member
Tie has grown to out of proportion and looks like with young energetic entrepreuners it will continue to grow. It looks like a meeting place of the bright of the brightest who are interested in showing their talents innovations and hidden entrepreunerial spirit to creat some thing apart from wealth
Gautam Prakash, Past President
I have been part of the TiE ecosystem since the late 1990s when I was a partner at Bessemer Venture Partners in Boston. I then got more involved in TiE-Boston around 1999-2000 and was president of the chapter in 2002-2004. I am very proud of what TiE-Boston has accomplished over the past two decades.
In particular, becoming the 2nd-largest chapter globally, behind only Silicon Valley, is a real testament to the robust entrepreneurial culture and commitment in the Boston region. Of course, competition is always increasing in terms of other organizations that cater to entrepreneurs and provide value-add to the start-up community, so TiE-Boston must constantly reinvent itself to stay relevant – that is likely to be our key challenge in the coming decade.