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Lokvani Talks To Gaugarin Oliver, President TiE Boston

Nirmala Garimella
05/20/2014

Gaugarin Oliver is a long time TiE Boston charter member, an active Angel investor, startup mentor and has successfully taken 3 startup companies and 2 new business initiatives to market. He has also run large, successful, growth businesses within big corporations. He recently took over as TiE-Boston President.

Gaugarin is a frequent speaker at industry forums and the author of numerous articles. He is active with multiple non-profit organizations in both the Boston area and India. Gaugarin holds a BE in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Government College of Technology, India, an MS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Oklahoma and received executive education from Harvard Business School. He lives with his wife and two high school children in Littleton, MA

As President, share your vision of TiE Boston?

My aim is to really build on the momentum and support the growth of this chapter. Tie Boston is very strong as of now. We have evolved from being just a group focused on education and networking events to playing a more serious role in mentoring and investments. Present day entrepreneurs are looking to come full circle in an organization like ours. I hope to be more hands on in that respect. My focus will be on segmenting the various activities within the chapter - marketing, operations, fundraising etc and put systems in place as TiE Boston has grown and is more complex than ever  before.

What are some of the groups within TiE that will help in this growth?

We already have a group called TiE Challenge where startup companies can pitch to us. There are almost 100 companies who apply  and we pick the top 20 and mentor them throughout the year. It is also an opportunity for Charter members to get engaged in mentoring and sharing their expertise with these companies. It is also very fulfilling and satisfying to them. These companies are then introduced  to TiE Angels which is an early stage investment group launched to provide these startups with seed capital, mentoring and support. As of now, our investments have been mostly in life sciences, consumer web and tech applications and mobile technologies. We have also invested in other places and collaborate with other  TiE chapters, inviting anyone interested  to join us.

Looking ahead what are some of the challenges of TiE Boston ?

There are other nonprofits helping to support entrepreneurs so there is some competition. The challenge for us is to we differentiate ourselves and communicate the unique value that TiE specifically offers . To me the depth and knowledge of our members is significant– this message of our unique value proposition has to be communicated well through our marketing.

The other challenge is resources and time. I believe people are ready to help if we approach them personally. We need to create processes and systems in place where the entrepreneur and the charter members connect and mentor efficiently.  One idea is to create a mentor panel – taking different skills sets and allocating staff time and proper scheduling to make this successful. TiE Boston should also be able to attract lots of interns. – It is a valuable experience for them and our location in Cambridge is very accessible. All we need to do is to systematically reach campuses and build an ecosystem of interns using the best talent available. We have some of the best universities in the area so we can leverage that talent.

Tell us what attendees can look to at TiECon East this year?

This year’s conference is being held at the Cambridge Marriott on May 29 – 30. Look  for great content, fantastic networking and fun.  Entrepreneurs who attend the two-day conference can  learn about the latest trends in innovation, get advice from experienced entrepreneurs, and network to find their next big opportunity. One of the highlights is the Friday night banquet which is called Leader Bank TiE Sharks. Anish Shah, a well known  New York  comedian will host it. Five companies – from the pool of entrepreneurs will make a  5-6 minute pitch and will have the opportunity of a lifetime – the chance to pitch in front of 500+ entrepreneurs and raise up to $125,000 or more from well-known investors! Also, Leader Bank is offering each company that pitches a $25,000 equity line if they apply for it. Audience can also join in and invest. It will be a fun event LIVE! And not to be missed.

Any last word for our readers?

For the general reader, i remember going to TiE meetings years ago as a young entrepreneur and credit TiE Boston for a significant portion of whom I am today. If you are a budding entrepreneur and looking for a place to start this is the place to come to.You don’t have to be  a winner but being there is the first step. It is a great platform. I have been associated with TiE for a long time. The inspiration and mentoring that I received through TiE and its Special Interest Groups (SIGs) has been instrumental in my journey from an aspiring young entrepreneur to where I am today.



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