CAMBRIDGE, MA—(Editor’s note: TiE-Boston, the second oldest and largest chapter of TiE-Global, 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 of TiE-Boston. Here are their responses to our fourth question. Their answers have been shortened and edited for clarity.)
Question: How did TiE-Boston Benefit you and your mission, and more importantly how did it enrich you as an entrepreneur?
Sushil Bhatia, Founding Charter Member
It gave me new contacts, challenged me as an entrepreneur, gave me investors in two of my new ventures and took me down a path which helped me become a professor of Innovation and entrepreneurship resulting from my practical experience as entrepreneur and inventor while being a member of TiE-Boston.
Also as an early creator and participant in TiE-Angel group helped me work with new ideas/businesses as mentor and investor.
Ashok Boghani, Founding Charter Member
In three ways:
First, most directly, it allowed me to jump into entrepreneurship from intrapreneurship (in which I had a track record of success). That specific move did not succeed. However, I was able to take that experience, and to some extent, that business model, into a corporate environment for a successful outcome.
Second, I was able to put to use my experience as a consultant into helping TiE itself, and some specific programs of TiE, such as TyE.
Third, I made friends that have helped me in both professional and social environments.
Puran Dang, Charter Member Emeritus
I have gained a lot from TIE-BOSTON as an entrepreneur and as a person. TIE has been a solid platform for me for meeting great people, very ambitious young men and women and thinkers of high order. This interaction has enhanced my intellect, my vision, and my perspective to create and meet high goals. As a small entrepreneur, my interaction with highly successful people broadened my horizon and generated a sense of humility which led to my success in a better way. TIE gave me the platform to mentor young people who became highly successful and that was my best reward.
TIE has enriched my life in a big way. I am fortunate to have been an early Charter Member (now Emeritus ) and also served as TIE-Boston Board Member in the early years.
Samir Desai, Founding Charter Member and Past President
I consider TiE Boston a successful start-up experience and enjoyed every minute of it. The handful of us that came together at the beginning needed each others help. We had all build strong companies – but being in that role can be very lonely. It was wonderful to have the support of friends from which you can solicit frank feedback, learn from, and grow with.
By the time we started TiE some of us were already well on our way building our companies, but I think it helped allow us to have faith in our next big steps, to take the risks and to encourage others to take risks. It was really important to me to give back to young entrepreneurs with advice and help. It made me a better leader as I grew in my business.
I think it also helped shape what my next act would be – in philanthropy. It also helped me grow personally – the comrades I have made in the TiE community are some of the closest friends I could ever ask for. They have gone on to be the mentors of my children even. TiE community needs to be congratulated to have played this role for many of us.
Desh Deshpande, Founding Charter Member and Founding President and Past Chairman
The biggest value personally for me is to reinforce in myself that ENTREPRENEURSHIP is a very powerful tool to promote both economic and social well-being of any community. As a result of it, I have and continue to meet hundreds of entrepreneurs with powerful ideas to make this a better world.
Radha Jalan, Founding Charter Member
In 1997, not many people knew about hydrogen energy, and fuel cells and its potential. Thoughts about clean energy were not even on horizon. Being recognized as a credible entrepreneur in a group of stellar winners was an honor itself. Being in the company of illustrious entrepreneurs, brought credibility to what I was doing. Also, definitely, it was a comfort to know that I can talk with any of them and would get good honest advice.
Ramesh Kapoor, Founding Charter Member
My mission was to get Indian Americans and Entrepreneurs participating in USA democracy.It enriched me personally as entrepreneur to meet and network with so many successful Indian American Entrepreneurs and in USA. Meritocracy was still key to success.
Santhana Krishnan, Early Charter Member
When I started my first company in 1995 there were not many places to get advice or encouragement. Once TiE-Atlantic (renamed TiE-Boston in 2002) was founded it was wonderful to meet other entrepreneurs going through the same challenges and share their experiences. It was great to learn from the earlier generation of entrepreneurs like Samir Desai, Desh Deshpande, Jit Saxena and Venkat Srinivasan. I met my first VC investor at a TiE meeting, our corporate lawyer sponsored TiEcon, formed corporate partnerships at TiE Silicon Valley, made friends across the world at TiE Retreats and got energized by meeting younger entrepreneurs at TiE monthly meetings. TiE keeps giving, it’s all about how much you want to leverage.
Gaugarin Oliver, Charter Member and Former President
I am a product of TiE-Boston. Our charter members were an inspiration for me to become an entrepreneur. I graduated from being a mere attendee at TiE Boston events, to volunteering, to creating and running new programs, and getting elected as the President. I have relied on the TiE network for advice and connections. It is also so satisfying for me to be able to give back to the community through my leadership roles at TiE-Boston and personal mentoring to numerous budding entrepreneurs.
Dinesh Patel, Founding Charter Member
Personally in terms of wealth creation nothing. But helping expose the young and the bright ones to newer avenues to challenge their hidden spirit and make an impact very satisfactory. Entrepreneurship is not just wealth creation or idea to IPO. Entrepreneurship is unscrewing the bottle top and bringing out hidden genies and explore the world. TiE-Boston fortunately believed in that spirit and had their charter members from all sections of industry: lawyers , venture capitalists, soft and hardware engineers, bankers, hoteliers, women , accountants, chemical industry, shop owners, doctors, biotech people , consults and academic people and more or less representing all sections.
Gautam Prakash, Former President
During my years at TiE-Boston, I became good friends with a number of charter members that I would probably not have even met were it not for TiE-Boston bringing us together. And for that, I am eternally grateful. And when I left Bessemer to start Monsoon Capital (as an India-dedicated investment firm) in 2004, a number of charter members invested in our India fund at our launch and have been loyal investors ever since.
So, I certainly received strong support from the charter member community, both at TiE-Boston and some of the other chapters like TiE-Silicon Valley.