Have you ever had a great idea and wished you had someone to bounce it off? Or have you ever wanted to be able to interact with like-minded innovators or entrepreneurs? Then you will undoubtedly be glad to hear of the new venture which has come to IITM – the Tech Saloon. The Tech Saloon is, as described by the founders, “an initiative at IIT Madras to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas among faculty, students, alumni, innovators, and entrepreneurs”. Started by professors and alumni of our own institute, it aims to help create a “thriving innovation ecosystem” around IITM, and to take advantage of the many talented and ambitious people at the IITM Research Park. The founders of this unique venture are Dr Gaurav Raina, faculty in the  Department of Electrical Engineering; Dr Krishna Jagannathan, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering; Dr Prabha Mandayam and Dr Sivarama Krishnan, Assistant Professors in the Department of Physics; and Tanmai Gopal and Rajoshi Ghosh, co-founders of 34 Cross, a fast- growing web development company. Tanmai is an alumnus of IITM and Rajoshi of NUS.

An initiative at IIT Madras to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas among faculty, students, alumni, innovators, and entrepreneurs

Amazingly enough, the Tech Saloon was conceptualised at a dinner table! The founders tell us, “while hanging out at one of our favourite cafes in Chennai, an alumnus-entrepreneur was lamenting the lack of opportunities to interact with the IITM community and the research park. The six people at the dinner table decided to address the problem, by creating a platform where people with diverse interests can meet regularly and exchange ideas.”

The Tech Saloon event will host bi-weekly or monthly talks, panel discussions and demonstrations. The aim is to feature a diverse set of leading technologists, scientists, innovators, and entrepreneurs. Each Tech Saloon event will consist of one such featured talk or panel discussion, followed by a high-tea social, to give students a chance to meet like-minded people, learn from the speakers, form collaborations, get inspired and form ideas. It will be beginning the series of talks tomorrow (18/10/15) with a talk at 6:00 PM by P Swaminathan, Data Sciences Head at Ola cabs, on the topic of optimizing organized transport at scale – an overview of some challenges and solution approaches. It’s sure to be a fascinating topic; don’t miss it!

The Tech Saloon hopes to be a petri-dish for some of the most disruptive and impactful innovations in the coming decade

The vision of its founders is for Tech Saloon to become one of the most sought-after forums in the country for innovators, entrepreneurs, technologists and venture capitalists to bounce off ideas, and take them to fruition. To quote, “the Tech Saloon hopes to be a petri-dish for some of the most disruptive and impactful innovations in the coming decade”. Something to watch out for, that’s for certain! Let’s welcome this new initiative with the enthusiasm it deserves and utilise it to its fullest potential.

Once again, don’t forget to catch the first Tech Saloon talk, tomorrow at 6:00 PM, at the IITM Research Park auditorium (ground floor)! Check this link for more details :

http://techsaloon.co/ola-cabs-optimizing-organized-transport-at-scale/