Key Takeaways

Key Takeaways From TiECON 2024

AI ubiquity and exponential India were the two big focus areas at TieCON 2024, an annual event in in Santa Clara, California that attracts the country’s expats as well as entrepreneurs and investors from across India.

The headline speaker at this year’s event was Jensen Huang, Founder and CEO of Nvidia, who has achieved rock star status in the tech sector. The company’s graphics processing units (GPUs) are the engine behind the AI boom because they enable the ability to run lots of computations at the same time. Demand for the GPUs currently outstrips supply. They are considered so valuable that customers hire armored trucks to transport them.

The conference celebrated not just Silicon Valley stars like Nvidia or the successes of Indian expats that have added an estimated $1 trillion and two million jobs to the U.S. economy, but also made-in-India innovation that is being adopted globally.

“We should stop thinking of India as a geographic area,” because the country’s influence extends far beyond its borders, said venture capitalist Asha Jadeja Motwani, who ran the exponential India track at the conference.

Components of the India Stack, now called Citizen Stack, the name for a set of open APIs and digital public goods that has unlocked identity, data, and payments at population scale in India, helping promote financial and social inclusion, have been adopted by eleven countries, pointed out panelist PK Gulati, a technology innovator and angel investor.

In late April the inaugural United Nations conference on Digital Public Infrastructure brought together global leaders, technology innovators, and policy experts to explore the global implementation of digital public infrastructure. The conference prominently featured India’s pioneering Citizen Stack initiative, showcasing the nation’s successful integration of technology into citizen services and demonstrating how components of Citizen Stack, like the Modular Open Source Identity Platform, are helping countries such as Ethiopia and the Philippines tailor digital public infrastructure to their specific needs and achieve digital sovereignty.

The journey of digital governance in India began in 2009. More recently the stack’s UPI or United Payments Interface has revolutionized the face of payments within the country, UPI is on track to reach one billion transactions a day by 2026-2027.

Going forward India is expected to become an innovation leader in software-based defense software, space, and quantum computing, among other things, said TiECon speakers.

Defense startups in India are already working with the U.S. government to jointly advance innovation in defense technology. An initiative launched in 2023 by Washington and New Delhi. Called  the India-U.S. Defense Acceleration Ecosystem, or INDUS-X, aims to facilitate engagement between startups and delegations from both countries; launch a joint innovation fund to support startups based on a public-private partnership model; and foster partnerships with leading universities and business incubators and accelerators.

Separately, India is pushing pioneering national space initiatives, including plans to have its own space station by 2035 and to put an Indian astronaut on the moon by 2040. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is currently running for his third consecutive term, has made a major push to commercialize space activity in recent years, including allowing private enterprise to take part and easing approvals for foreign investment into the space sector.

The government has earmarked approximately $740 million for a National Quantum Mission (NQM), from 2023-24 t0 2030-31. The initiative is designed to help India compete in the emerging quantum industry and maneuver this reservoir of science and technology talent into a leadership position in the realm of quantum research, innovation ,and applications on a global scale.

And in March the Indian government approved a $1.25 billion investment in artificial intelligence projects, including to develop computing infrastructure and for the development of large language models. The money will also be used for funding AI startups, as well as developing AI applications for the public sector, the government said in a statement. India’s artificial intelligence market is projected to touch $17 billion by 2027, growing at an annualized rate of 25%-35% between 2024 and 2027, according to IT industry body Nasscom.

Is is no surprise, then, that bootcamps for startups organized by Nvidia and Google were at capacity at TiECON as were the many keynote talks focused on AI.


About the author

Jennifer L. Schenker

Jennifer L. Schenker, an award-winning journalist, has been covering the global tech industry from Europe since 1985, working full-time, at various points in her career for the Wall Street Journal Europe, Time Magazine, International Herald Tribune, Red Herring and BusinessWeek. She is currently the editor-in-chief of The Innovator, an English-language global publication about the digital transformation of business. Jennifer was voted one of the 50 most inspiring women in technology in Europe in 2015 and 2016 and was named by Forbes Magazine in 2018 as one of the 30 women leaders disrupting tech in France. She has been a World Economic Forum Tech Pioneers judge for 20 years. She lives in Paris and has dual U.S. and French citizenship.