Greator Noida, India – March 24, 2023 – The World Startup Convention, which promised to be the world’s biggest funding festival, turned out to be a huge disappointment for the thousands of startups and investors who attended the event at India Expo Mart on March 23-24, 2023.
The organisers had claimed that over 75,000 startups and 8,000 investors, including Hnbl Cabinet Minister Nitin Gadkari, and big influencers like Ankur Warikoo, Chetan Bhagat, Prafull Billore, and many others, would participate in the convention. However, upon reaching the venue, attendees were shocked to find out that it was a massive scam.
One of the attendees, Vaibhav Anant, the founder of Banglore-based startup BAMBREW, spent around 50 lakhs rupees to be part of the event. He was promised a guest list that included big names such as PM Modi, Elon Musk, and Sundar Pichai. But he found only 75 startups participating, instead of the promised 75,000. He spent almost 10 lakhs on setting up his stall and 25 lakhs for fabrication, all done with zero plastic waste. Additionally, he spent lakhs of rupees on accommodation and travel for his team from Banglore.
The World Startup Convention had promised startups an introduction to investors and pitching opportunities, with the promise of funding in just three days. But many founders, like Adhikary, the founder and CEO of West Bengal-based ProjectX.Cloud, who had bought two passes for INR 8,000 each in December last year, soon realised that not everything was as it seemed.
The event had also roped in influencers with millions of followers, such as Ankur Warikoo, Raj Shamani, and Chetan Bhagat, for promos full of high praise. But several other founders started tweeting and posting about the dubious nature of the World Startup Convention, casting doubts on many of its tall claims.
There was also very little information about the convention online, including its official website, which was down for more than a week between March 12 and March 20, 2023, just days before the event. Even though the website is now back up, it provides little clarity on what startups or investors can expect. Moreover, WSC is running digital marketing ads on Instagram and other social media, but it has disabled comments on all its Instagram posts in recent days.
Despite the lack of clarity and its website’s state, the World Startup Convention continues to upsell to existing pass holders. The organisers contacted Adhikary in early March, requesting him to set up an exhibitor stall for a cost of INR 25,000.
It is not clear who the organisers behind the World Startup Convention are. There is very little information about the founders, Luke Talwar and Arjun Chaudhary, that can be independently verified, and whatever we found lends little credibility to the event.
The World Startup Convention has left thousands of participants disappointed, and its lack of transparency and questionable claims have raised doubts about the credibility of the organisers. We urge startups and investors to be cautious and do their due diligence before investing in any such events in the future.
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