India Diary: The Last Leg

The Final Leg: Bangalore

The final leg of our bootcamp was Bangalore or it’s official name – Bengaluru. To kick it off we had another early start, a long bus ride and then flight to Bangalore. We touched down in a city with much cleaner air – blue skies! – and plenty of green. Known for its gardens, Bangalore is quite an oasis compared to Mumbai. It’s definitely cleaner and greener, and it might have something to do with the army of workers deployed around the cities gardens and streets, sweeping, pruning, mowing and keeping the city spic and span.

We had quite a lazy day in comparison to the last week, the flight being the only thing on the itinerary for the day! So in the after we joined a tour of the some of the cities sites. We had a stroll through the botanic gardens which was a nice treat after a week in the concrete jungle of Mumbai. It was so nice to breath considerably fresher air and see so much greenery alongside a blue sky.

After the gardens we went to Dodda Basavana Gudi, the Big Bull Temple. Inside the temple is a great a large granite monolith that has been carved into the likeness of the bull. It was nice to have a guide talk about the significance of the place and it was here I got my obligatory ‘dot’ from India.

After the tour I was completely wrecked. I’m not a morning person and the frequency of early starts and long days led to me crashing out in the hotel that night. I woke up after a solid 9 hour sleep of pure delightful blackness. I woke up early too so decided to roll over and have another snooze and managed to get another whole sleep cycle in and still woke up before my alarm. Rested I was ready for the day!


And what a day it turned out to be. We headed to the stunning Leela Palace. I think a number of us were slightly disappointed that it wasn’t a real palace, but it was amazing luxury hotel. It was a beautiful setting to receive one of the highlights of the trip – a talk from Krishnan Ganesh. Krishnan had a really engaging talk and he went into depth about a lot of his experiences. As a successful entrepreneur the group as a whole really engaged with his story and I imagined everyone took something away from his talk. Krishnan went through and unpacked why his previous company TutorVista was acquired by US and UK listed education leader Pearson for $213million. He also went into depth about one of his latest ventures Bluestone, an online Jewellery store that uses procedural AI to generate designs. It was a really fascinating talk and one of my personal highlights. I loved how Krishnan was able to go beyond problems and value and to really focus in what what you’re selling, it was like peeling back the curtain and being shown how it all works.

After the talk we had an amazing lunch in the outdoor area overlooking the pool and the gardens inside the palace. It was perfect weather to be out and the whole group really enjoyed the food and the location.

We then packed onto the bus and headed to the Nasscom Warehouse, home of the 10,000 Startups Movement. This was the startup hub for what Bangalore is famous for – tech! We jumped almost straight into learning from a number of the startups housed within the Warehouse including:
– city lighting solutions to improve safety
– healthcare screenings for rural populations
– AI powered personal shopper
– video interaction platform
– device powered cricket coach
– and a smart project management tool.
It was great to see so many great ideas in one place!

It was great to end our bootcamp on such a high and surrounded by so many great ideas and thinkers. Bangalore was such a welcoming place and a lot of connections were formed really quickly. The same goes for the group as a whole. It’s challenging spending so much time together but I really enjoyed my time with the other 33 entrepreneurs. They were such a diverse and supportive group that it was fantastic to all be together and I think we learned just as much from each other as we did on the trip – the travel really helped facilitate that connection.

I want to thank the efforts of Sheryl from Zone Startups – she did a hell of a job herding 33 Australians through the whole schedule. Sydney School of Entrepreneurship put together a great itinerary and provided great structure and logistic support. And Matt, Rohit and Lisa from NSW Department of Industry did a fantastic support opening up 33 peoples eyes to the opportunities in India. It was an amazing trip!

Thanks for letting me be a part of it.

Follow ups

So that’s the day-to-day diary stuff done. Better late than never! What I want to write next are a couple of posts – one outlining my take home learnings and another on some of the casual observations I had of India. In the mean time you can explore some of the photos I took on the trip over on Flickr and feel free to @ me on Twitter.

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