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Scaling New Heights: Vishal Parmar, Founder And CEO, VAP Group As Vishal Parmar's VAP Group gears up to host the Global AI Show and the Global Blockchain Show in Dubai in April, the founder discusses the secret to staying atop ever-changing tech trends.

By Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

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VAP Group
Vishal Parmar, Founder And CEO, VAP Group.

From April 16-17, 2024, the inaugural editions of two tech events are set to be held concurrently at the Grand Hyatt in Dubai- this includes the Global AI Show, as well as the Global Blockchain Show. The organizing company behind both events is VAP Group, a 2013-born blockchain consulting company with offices in India, the UAE, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom, which has today expanded its operations to include the organization of B2B events and conferences.

And leading this company from the front is Vishal Parmar, founder and CEO of VAP Group, who believes his company is about to weed out some nagging "industry deficiencies" in the B2B events space. "We noted a stagnation in innovation and engagement within B2B gatherings," Parmar says. "Traditional formats failed to embrace emerging technologies, or create immersive and interactive experiences. Seizing this opportunity, we endeavored to introduce disruptive elements such as cutting-edge technologies, and interactive engagement platforms to redefine the B2B event landscape. The inception of the events vertical at VAP Group was thus driven by our determination to address these shortcomings. We meticulously tailored events to cater to the unique requirements of professionals across various industries. By bringing together thought leaders, decision-makers, and innovators, we aimed to facilitate impactful discussions and collaborations capable of instigating tangible real-world change."

While the inception of the Global AI Show and the Global Blockchain Show marks a steep curve in VAP Group's growth trajectory, it is also a significant milestone in Parmar's personal journey with the company. You see, when he founded VAP Group in his native homeland India in 2013, Parmar was still a teenager. "At the age of 19, I embarked on a journey into entrepreneurship, driven by a vision to shape the future of business," Parmar recalls. "In the early days, I led a team of 20, where my youth often set me apart. We started with the digital marketing sector, and later expanded into recruitment services, as well as the media industry. Seeing the growth and potential in emerging technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) propelled me to step foot in the events and conferences domain. I was inspired by Mark Zuckerberg. His journey resonated deeply with my vision. This pushed me to forego traditional education in favor of practical experience."

Having thus started out as a company that offered services across public relations (PR) and advertising, recruitment, content development, and media, VAP Group eventually steered into the blockchain and Web3.0 space. There, by offering its services to projects backed by such advanced technologies, the company promised to build brand and customer loyalty for its clients. "It was a bold move, but one that ultimately positioned VAP Group as an innovative player in the digital space," Parmar says. "This step showed our commitment to embracing change and adapting to groundbreaking technologies. 2023, in particular, marked a period of unprecedented growth and expansion for VAP Group. We opened four offices in India, and we established our global presence by inaugurating two offices in Dubai and Hong Kong. We are hopeful about further expansion around the world. Expanding into the events sector was another significant milestone. It allowed us to reach a wider audience through various channels, form long-lasting media partnerships, thereby opening up new opportunities for growth and collaboration. This is what inspired me to formulate events like the Global AI Show and the Global Blockchain Show."

Related: The Global AI Show And The Global Blockchain Show Set To Premiere In Dubai From April 16-17, 2024

But not everything in Parmar's entrepreneurial journey transpired as smoothly as it may seem on the face of it. For starters, the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis put a dent on many of VAP Group's plans. But as has been the case for most businesses worldwide, it was also a phase that allowed Parmar and his team to stretch the company's boundary of possibilities. "One of the most important lessons we learned from this phase was the importance of adaptability and agility in the face of adversity," Parmar recalls. "We quickly realized that sticking to our traditional ways of doing business was no longer an option. Instead, we had to embrace change and find innovative solutions to navigate the new normal. Moreover, the experience underscored the importance of building strong relationships with our clients and partners. By demonstrating empathy, and understanding their challenges, we were able to forge deeper connections, and find mutually beneficial solutions. Looking back, while the COVID-19 pandemic presented numerous challenges, it also served as a catalyst for growth and transformation. It forced me to reassess my priorities, innovate the company's processes, and emerge stronger and more resilient than ever before."

Today, more than a decade since VAP Group's launch, the experiences that Parmar and his team have had have culminated into the formation of two events that aim to create a considerable impact within the tech industry: the Global AI Show and the Global Blockchain Show.

So, what exactly can visitors expect to gain from attending these two events? Well, for starters, Parmar notes that the Global AI Show is all set to feature quite a unique speaker during its sessions: Sophia, a social humanoid robot -said to be the world's first- developed by Hong Kong-based company Hanson Robotics. "Sophia is also the official ambassador of both the Global AI Show as well as the Global Blockchain Show," he adds. "Moreover, at the Global AI Show, interesting themes such as 'AI in Healthcare' will spotlight the most advanced developments in the healthcare sector powered by AI. Visitors can also look forward to an exclusive sneak peek into the new book by Jamie Metzl (a geopolitical expert, technology commentator, and author who has served in the White House National Security Council, the United Nations, and the U.S. State Department), Superconvergence: How the Genetics, Biotech, and AI Revolutions Will Transform our Lives, Work, and World, which is yet to be launched."

SOPHIA, a social humanoid robot -said to be the world's first- developed by Hong Kong-based company Hanson Robotics, is the official ambassador of both the Global AI Show as well as the Global Blockchain Show. Source: VAP Group

Similarly, the Global Blockchain Show is expected to foster impactful conversations and networking with key industry experts, says Parmar. "At the Global Blockchain Show, attendees will get to meet and network with global leaders in the Web3.0 domain including Justin Sun (founder of TRON, a global blockchain-based decentralized platform for building and deploying smart contracts and decentralized applications); Lennix Lai (Chief Commercial Officer of OKX, a Malta-based cryptocurrency exchange platform) and Dominic Williams (founder and Chief Scientist at DFINITY Foundation, a Switzerland-based not-for-profit entity that contributes to the Internet Computer blockchain)," Parmar elaborates. "The event will also provide a platform for futuristic companies to showcase their ground- breaking solutions and innovative products. From decentralized finance platforms to non-fungible tokens and beyond, attendees will have the chance to explore the latest developments in the blockchain ecosystem firsthand."

According to Parmar, choosing Dubai as the location to inaugurate the Global AI Show and the Global Blockchain Show was an ideal decision. "Dubai's commitment to becoming a global hub for emerging technologies is evident through government initiatives like the Dubai Blockchain Strategy and the UAE Artificial Intelligence Strategy," he says. "These initiatives not only attract startups, but also provide them with support, resources, and access to potential collaborators and investors. In this context, events like the Global AI Show and the Global Blockchain Show play a crucial role. They serve as platforms for thought leaders, industry experts, policymakers, and entrepreneurs to converge, exchange ideas, and address challenges facing the AI and blockchain sectors. By sparking meaningful conversations, sharing insights, and fostering collaborations, the Global AI Show and the Global Blockchain Show can catalyze innovation and drive positive change within these industries."

As Parmar touches upon VAP Group's focus on fostering support for tech startups in the quote above, it slowly becomes evident that it is a sentiment that holds prime value to the company. "We have actually set up a startup village at the Global AI Show and the Global Blockchain Show," Parmar reveals. "This will give a chance to startups and scaleups to power pitch their innovative ideas, technology, and creations to investors, venture capitalists, and big tech.

Looking ahead, VAP Group is gearing up to expand our events portfolio, delving into new verticals within emerging technologies, while also supporting ambitious startups by launching VAP Accelerator. This would serve as an incubator to empower the business leaders of tomorrow!" These revelations, however, mark only some of the projects VAP Group has in the pipelines. "While we are working on ensuring that the Global AI Show and the Global Blockchain Show become our flagship events, we're excited to start a new venture, Times of AI, that will be dedicated to AI news," Parmar adds. "We're also looking forward to the growth prospects of our other segments like CryptoNewZ, a blockchain and crypto news platform, Blockchain Marketing Ninja, a blockchain and crypto marketing company, and Blockchain Staffing Ninja, a blockchain and crypto recruitment platform. They're integral to our core business strategy, and they will continue to play vital roles in supporting our overall mission."

For the time being though, Parmar and his team are hopeful that the initial reactions to their inaugural events will manifest into a successful two-day saga from April 16-17, 2024. "We're absolutely thrilled with the incredible response we've received for both the Global AI Show and the Global Blockchain Show," Parmar says. "The enthusiasm we've seen underscores the immense growth potential we're tapping into. We are dedicated to continually enhancing the Global AI Show and the Global Blockchain Show experiences. We would be listening to our attendee feedback, and we will use it to fuel improvements and innovations for future editions. We're not confining our ambitions to just the current markets. We're actively scouting opportunities to take our impactful events to other key global destinations. We see this as a natural progression for us, solidifying our presence on the international stage."

As Parmar now gears up for what promises to be a successful road ahead for VAP Group, he remains resolute about carrying forward the values with which he built the company over a decade ago. "At VAP Group, our ethos of daring to challenge norms comes from our shared personal experiences," Parmar says. "I truly believe in the power of adaptability and foresight. Our evolution from digital marketing, recruitment, and media services to events and conferences was a strategic progression, driven by our unwavering commitment to staying ahead of the curve. Today, as VAP Group continues its ascent to new heights, I remain resolute in our mission to revolutionize the business landscape. We are not merely building a company; we are shaping the future."

'TREP TALK: VAP Group founder and CEO Vishal Parmar explains how you can make the most out of your visit to the Global AI Show and the Global Blockchain Show

Engage in pre-event preparation "This involves researching the agenda, speakers, and attendees to identify key individuals or companies to connect with. Setting clear objectives for the events, whether it's networking, seeking investment opportunities, or gaining industry insights, will guide interactions and maximize time."

Craft a concise elevator pitch "This is essential to effectively communicate your startup's value proposition, and differentiate it from others. During the events, entrepreneurs should be proactive in networking and building relationships with fellow attendees. Engaging in relevant sessions, workshops, and panels provides opportunities to gain insights and perspectives beneficial to their ventures."

Utilize networking opportunities "The afterparty at Dubai's White Beach, taking place after the Global AI Show and the Global Blockchain Show, will allow for more relaxed and meaningful connections. And it does not end there- I always encourage entrepreneurs and startup leaders to follow up promptly with contacts made at the events through personalized messages."

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

Features Editor, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed is the Features Editor at Entrepreneur Middle East.

She is an MBA (Finance) graduate with past experience in the corporate sector, and was also co-founder of CyberSWIFTT- an anti-cyberbullying campaign that ran from 2017-2018 as part of the e7: Daughters of the Emirates program.

Ahmed is particularly keen on writing stories involving people-centric leadership, female-owned startups, and entrepreneurs who've beaten significant odds to realize their goals.

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