Ashok Soota, Executive Chairman, Happiest Minds
Ashok Soota, Executive Chairman, Happiest Minds, a next generation IT Services company, is widely recognized as one of the pioneering leaders of the Indian IT industry.
Prior to founding Happiest Minds in August 2011, Ashok led the growth of Wipro’s IT business from US$ 2 million to US$ 500 million run-rate. Subsequently, he was founding Chairman & MD of Mindtree and led it through a very successful IPO. His second entrepreneurial venture, Happiest Minds has already established several benchmarks in the IT Services industry in India and is on course to achieve its goal of being the fastest to achieve US$ 100 million revenue.
Ashok began his career in 1965 with the Shriram Group of Industries in India. In 1978, he became CEO of Shriram Refrigeration, a company which was unprofitable for four straight years. Ashok facilitated a complete turnaround, making it profitable in his very first year and taking it to a position of leadership in each of its product lines.
Ashok is a leader of industry. He was President of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), India’s largest Industry association and also President of Manufacturers’ Association of Information Technology. He has served on the Prime Minister’s Task Force for IT and on the Advisory Council for the World Intellectual Property Organization, Geneva. For his contributions to India’s IT industry, he has been recognized twice as IT Man of the Year, also as Electronics Man of the Year, and recognized at Infocom 2013, Kolkata, as one of the 12 Gems who helped to build Indian IT Industry. The companies he has led have created about 25,000 jobs during his leadership tenure.
Ashok’s philanthropic contributions are channeled through Ashirvadam, a Trust he has created for Environmental Protection and help for the needy including vocational training, education and medical assistance.
Ashok holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Roorkee University (now IIT, Roorkee) and an MBA from the Asian Institute of Management, Philippines. He is a Fellow of INAE. Ashok’s hobbies include trekking, the outdoors, yoga, taichi and meditation.
K. Ganesh, Chairman of Portea Medical; Partner at Growth Story
Krishnan Ganesh, is currently Chairman of Portea Medical and founder of angel investment platform GrowthStory. His previous entrepreneurial venture, TutorVista, was acquired by education company, Pearson, for US $213 million. His currently involved with companies such as Bluestone, BigBasket, HomeLane.
Krishnakumar Natarajan, Executive Chairman, Mindtree
A leading authority in the global IT sector, Krishnakumar Natarajan co-founded Mindtree in 1999 and has played key roles in building the company’s innovative approach to delivering IT services and solutions to global 2000 enterprises. Natarajan was instrumental in setting up Mindtree’s U.S. operations, driving expansion in Europe and Asia Pacific regions, and transforming Mindtree’s IT services business. Today, his mission as Executive Chairman is to focus on leadership development and ensure a high quality of governance. He also actively mentors different business groups within the company and works closely with the start-up ecosystem to bring in innovative models of business transformation for clients.
A 35-year IT industry veteran, Natarajan held several key positions at Wipro before co-founding Mindtree. He also served as Chairman of the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM). His efforts as a business leader have been recognized worldwide, winning him several laurels. He was ranked amongst the most valuable CEOs in India by Businessworld & Forbes in 2016. He won Bloomberg UTV’s award as the CEO of the Year in 2010, Business Today CEO of the year award in 2014 and was recognized by Chief Executive Magazine’s as one of the twelve global leaders of tomorrow. EY honoured him with Entrepreneur of the year 2015 in Services.
Natarajan is an active member of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). He is also a regular speaker at international IT industry conferences and a faculty member at management schools around the world. He has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the College of Engineering, Chennai, India, and a master’s degree in Business Administration from the Xavier Institute, Jamshedpur, India.
Amit Patni, Co-Founder & Chairman, Nirvana Venture Advisors
Amit is Co-founder & Chairman at Nirvana Venture Advisors and is a promoter shareholder of Patni Computers. Patni Computers Ltd. was a pioneer in Indian ITES. The promoter family stake in Patni Computers was divested in May 2011 in a sale to iGate Corporation at value of $1.5 billion. Amit has 22 years’ experience in technology, software and projects. He has extensive experience in the computer hardware and components market in India and overseas. In his various roles, Amit has independently ensured implementation of Greenfield projects and launched new business operations.
As a Whole time Director of PCS Technologies Ltd., a listed Indian company in the computer hardware and manufacturing space, Amit was responsible for setting-up the copper clad laminates business. Subsequently he was Managing Director of PCS International Pvt. Ltd. with the responsibility of expanding PCS Technologies hardware business in UAE and Africa. Thereafter, Amit developed Health Management Systems, a healthcare software product that was marketed by PCS Technologies Ltd.
Amit is a Director of the Board of Patni Financial Advisors the family office of the Patni Family. Amit has done his BS in Accounting and Masters from Babson College, USA.
Karan Bhagat, Founder, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, IIFL Investment Managers
Karan Bhagat is Founder, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of IIFL Investment Managers (earlier IIFL Wealth & Asset Management). Karan joined IIFL Holdings Ltd. (formerly India Infoline) to set-up IIFL Wealth Management Ltd. in early 2008.
Karan is responsible for providing direction and leadership towards the achievement of the organization’s philosophy, mission, vision and its strategic goals and objectives. He has built a team of experienced and talented professionals from within and outside the industry, who work with and for, some of the most distinguished wealthy families in India & abroad.
He has over 15 years’ experience in the financial services industry. Karan holds an MBA in finance from Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore and acquired his Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from St. Xavier’s College, Calcutta.
Naganand Doraswamy, MD & CEO, Ideaspring Capital
Naganand Doraswamy is the Managing Director and Founder of Ideaspring Capital, an early stage fund focused on technology product startups.
He has extensive experience in management and technology. He is a successful entrepreneur and is well networked in the community. He has over 25 years of experience in the industry and has held several leadership roles. Prior to spearheading the fund, he was the EVP & Co-Founder of SPAN Infotech, where he actively contributed to engineering in R&D and development as well as operations including HR, IT, and operations. Prior to joining SPAN, Naganand was co-founder of Lexar Networks, MA, USA working on an idea in cellular and Wi-Fi convergence. Prior to that, he was the Director of Software at PhotonEx Corporation, MA, USA where he built carrier class software for long haul transmission systems. He was one of the very early hire into the company that raised over $160 million in funding.
Naganand has a Masters in Computer Science from Virginia Polytechnic and State University. He got his Bachelors in Computer Science from U.V.C.E, Bangalore, India. Naganand is married with two kids. He loves playing tennis and occasional golfing. He enjoys reading fiction.
Ganapathy Venugopal, Co-Founder & CEO, Axilor Ventures
Ganapathy Venugopal (VG) is Co-founder and CEO of Axilor Ventures. Axilor Ventures is a platform for supporting innovation and entrepreneurship. Through its programs which include Accelerator, Scale-up and Early Stage Funding, Axilor aims to support early stage entrepreneurs improve their odds of success in e-commerce, healthcare and clean-tech.
VG has over seventeen years of experience in the areas of strategy, finance and consulting. Prior to co-founding Axilor Ventures, VG was Head of Strategy & Planning at Infosys. VG serves on the boards of several companies. Ganapathy holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a post graduate in management from IIM Lucknow.
Shubhankar Bhattacharya, Venture Partner, Kae Capital
Shubhankar Bhattacharya is a Venture Partner at Kae Capital. Prior to joining Kae, Shubhankar was the Co-Founder & CEO of Yaqsh.com, an online store for diamonds & diamond jewellery. He has also played various roles at CMS Info Systems & Technip. Shubhankar holds a Bachelors in Technology degree from NIT Trichy, and an MBA degree from ISB Hyderabad, where he graduated with “Dean’s List” honours. His debut book, “VCs are from Venus, Entrepreneurs are from Mars” launched on the Juggernaut app.
Vikram Gupta, Founder & Managing Partner, IvyCap Ventures
Mr. Vikram Gupta is the Founder & Managing Partner of IvyCap Ventures Advisors Private Limited that manages around Rs 900 crores across two Funds that have been raised almost entirely in India. Started in 2011, IvyCap has now become the largest home-grown Venture Capital Fund in India. IvyCap has made substantial investments in the Indian Startup ecosystem and has a sector agnostic investment approach. The current portfolio includes Leixir, RML AgTech, Aujas, Vinculum, Sokrati, FTCash, FieldEZ, Clovia, eShakti, Bluestone, Purplle & GrabOnRent.
Mr. Gupta has over 20 years experience in Venture Capital, Business Consulting, M&A, Strategy and Technology across multiple sectors. He is also known for setting up India’s First Healthcare and Life Sciences Venture Capital Fund where Ajay Piramal was the sponsor. Previously, he also managed the Clinical Genomics practice for IBM’s Healthcare and Life Sciences vertical in the US. He has also been an entrepreneur himself in the areas of technology and healthcare.
Mr. Vikram Gupta has completed his B.Tech. in Chemical Engineering from IIT Delhi and has an MBA degree in Strategy and Finance from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
Srikanth Narasimhan, co-founder, Veda Corp
Srikanth is a co-founder of Veda and has over sixteen years of well-rounded experience in investment banking, private equity and corporate planning. He has advised and assisted many companies in their funding plans and M&A. He has also invested in companies, been on their boards, taken part in their growth strategies and successfully raised funds/acquired businesses for growth.
Earlier, Srikanth was with Ernst & Young, leading the private equity and M&A activities in the technology & services sectors. Prior to that, he was with ICICI Venture, the private equity arm of ICICI Bank (listed on NYSE), investing and managing a portfolio of investments in the IT/ITES sectors. He was also with RelQ Software, the leading software testing services firm in India, managing their corporate planning activities including acquisitions and fund raising. He has corporate experience as well, having worked with companies like TATA Motors and TATA Technologies.
Srikanth has an MBA from IIM Bangalore and holds an Engineering degree from BITS Pilani.
Prashant Mehta, Partner, Lightbox VC
After Wharton, Prashant cut his teeth in the dog-eat-dog world of finance at Lehman Brothers where he understood the art of investing in emerging markets. Keen to learn more about how technology was changing the world, he moved to Silicon Valley to join Yahoo! where he ultimately led the commercial operations of the Emerging Markets group to generate over $150 million in annual revenues.
Having seen the promise of technology in emerging markets, Prashant and his family moved to Mumbai in the midst of the world financial crisis to lead an early stage technology start up – Komli Media. Over the next five years, first as COO and then as CEO, Prashant led an incredibly talented team to position Komli as Asia’s leading advertising technology company. Along the way, they grew revenues 50x and expanded into 10 new international markets. Prashant now spends his days chasing down the next big thing.
Dr. Vivek Mansingh, General Partner, YourNest India VC Fund
Dr. Vivek Mansingh is currently a General Partner at YourNest, an early stage Venture Capital fund. He is also Chairman of AxisCades, India’s leading engineering services company listed on BSE. In addition, he is Board member at Royal Orchid Hotels, Innovatia (A Canadian Knowledge Management Company), Janaagraha (India’s leading Non Profit Organization) and several startups.
Dr. Mansingh has incubated and invested in several startups including Arthayantra (Fintech), EnCloudEn (Cloud Infrastrucre based on Open Stack), Wolken Software (SaaS based enterprise service desk and customer service), Golflan (SaaS based Golf Software/Harware and Tee time aggregation) and KlickH (Home automation).
Previously, he was the Vice President at Cisco Systems, Communications & Collaboration Group – India. He was also member of the Cisco India Venture Capital team to review and manage investments. Before joining Cisco in 2010, he was the Country Head, Dell India R&D Center. Dr. Mansingh moved to India in 2000, and worked first with Ishoni Networks (Acquired by Philips) and later Portal Software (Acquired by Oracle), serving as the Managing Director. Prior to 2000, Dr. Mansingh was at senior technology and leadership roles in top technology organizations in USA for 15 years.
He holds 6 US patents, has published 100s of articles and technical papers, and has contributed to two books. Dr. Mansingh is a Gold Medalist from NIT Allahabad. He obtained his Ph.D. from the Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada in 1986 and completed an Executive Business Management Program with the Stanford University in 1996.
Dr. Mansingh was listed as honored professional in “National Who’s Who for the United States” in the year 2000. He is the recipient of: Rotary Club’s prestigious Paul Harris Fellow Award for contribution to community service, Public Relations Council of India’s highest Chanakya Innovative Leadership Award and I T Man of the Year 2015 from Enterprise Connect, for his contribution to the use of technology for driving social change through two world class initiatives, ichangemycity.com and ipaidabribe.com.
Siddhartha Das, General Partner, Ventureast
Siddhartha Das has been a General Partner with Ventureast since 2006. With over 19 years’ corporate and venture capital experience with Intel Corporation, Siddhartha oversees technology related investments of the Ventureast Proactive Fund. Siddhartha had previous stints with the corporate research and product development teams at Intel Corporation where he managed groups which developed cutting-edge semiconductor technologies. He has been granted 5 US patents for his inventions in semiconductor and optical technologies.
Siddhartha was also part of the investment arm Intel Capital and has worked on some of the most successful venture investments in the telecom, consumer Internet and software technology sectors. Through his career at Intel Capital, he has been involved in over 40 investments in India, US, and Europe. As the Head of Intel Capital in South Asia, Siddhartha oversaw more than 15 investments resulting in 9 exits that established the company as the leading technology investor in the region.
Siddhartha was an active technical advisory board member at Sematech, the consortia which drove the strategy for US industry competitiveness in semiconductors, and the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC), an industry consortium which drove excellence in research programs of leading US universities. He was also a member of the Cornell University Industrial Affiliates program. He has been an executive member of the Manufacturers Association of Information Technology (MAIT) of India, was a member-representative of the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) in India, and a Charter member of the Bangalore Chapter of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), a global non-profit organization for fostering entrepreneurship.
Siddhartha completed a B.Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, and a PhD from Cornell University, New York. He is a mentor to many India based entrepreneurs, and is a speaker at forums organized by NASSCOM, CII, Asian Venture Forum, and IVCJ
Amuleek Singh Bijral, Co-Founder and CEO,Chai Point
A Harvard Business School graduate, Amuleek Singh Bijral is the co-founder and CEO of Chai Point, a retail chain which specializes in retailing tea and refreshments in India. Founded in 2010, the company has thus far raised US $10 million from DSG Consumer Partners, Eight Roads Ventures and Saama Capital.
Prior to turning entrepreneur, Bijral was the Managing Director for India and SAARC in RSA Security LLC.
Priti Sawant, Founder & CEO, Joulestowatts
Priti Sawant is a staffing Industry thought leader, who was earlier heading Magna Infotech as a CEO. She is widely recognized for her role in charting the growth of IT contract staffing in India and defining path-breaking staffing models for Fortune 500 companies. She brings over two decades of experience in managing strategic engagements and leverages her vast operational experience to advise companies on growing their business by uncovering new opportunities and identifying untapped revenue streams in addition to developing leadership capital. Priti is an active CII IWIN member and also channels her energies to mentor startups. She is also known in industry circles as a talent acquisition trendsetter and a gender diversity specialist. She has helped organisations articulate strategies for the development of diversity at the workplace by defining and addressing the challenges they experience.
Geetha Manjunath, Founder & CEO, Niramai Health Analytix
Geetha Manjunath is the CEO and founder of Niramai Health Analytix, a venture that’s developed a revolutionary non-invasive, non-touch, non-radiation approach to detect breast cancer early in women. Her expertise lies in the IT industry, and she has proposed and lead multiple research projects in data analytics, crowd sourcing, cloud computing, semantic web, mobile and distributed computing space. In fact, her research in these resulted in innovative prototypes, patents, publications, new products and some national and international recognition.
A winner of the NASCCOM IT Innovator Award (for SiteOnMobile) in 2009, and the winner of Grand Challenges for Technologists by MIT Technology Review in 2010, Manjunath holds an Executive MBA from Northwestern University and a PhD in Semantic Web and Data Mining from Indian Institute of Science.
Murugavel Janakiraman, Founder & CEO, Matrimony.com
Murugavel Janakiraman began his venture in 1997 as a small tamil matrimony community website, created to bring together this community with the NRIs in the US. Today, re-branded as Matrimony.com, it has transformed the way arranged marriages happen in India, not just in a particular community, but across religions and sects. The company is backed by 3,500 employees across 150 branches, in 20 major cities.
Ranked among Deloitte Technology Fast 50 companies in India in 2008, 2009 and 2011, and listed as one of the top 50 companies in NASSCOM’s 100 IT innovators, Matrimony.com currently comprises two business segments; matchmaking services and marriage services, and related sale of products. Recently, the company has announced the launch of its IPO, to be scheduled on September 11th, 2017.
Jyotsna Pattabiraman, Founder & CEO, Grow Fit (www.getgrowfit.com)
Grow Fit is a healthtech and wellness company that helps customers achieve peak wellness by using a combination of data science, medical science and behavioural insights. She is a Melton Fellow and has served on the Board of Directors of the Melton Foundation, twice.
A graduate of BMS College of Engineering and Stanford University, she has played leadership roles at marquee companies like Oracle, eBay and Yahoo in Silicon Valley during their growth phases. Jyotsna is an all-star internet and mobile maven, having spent her career on the frontlines of internet businesses. Starting her career at payments pioneer Cybercash (later acquired by Paypal), She has played leadership roles at marquee companies like Oracle, eBay and Yahoo in Silicon Valley during their growth phases .She went on the play key roles at venture-funded companies backed by the likes of Kleiner Perkins and Menlo Ventures before moving back to India in 2008.
Back home in Bangalore, Jyotsna has helped build businesses at scale, such as OnMobile and Knowlarity (Sequoia-funded) as well as advise smaller companies intent on making a dent in the universe. She is an advisor at Stanford Ignite and an active member of the Stanford community in India. She is a founder and leader of the Southern Chapter of Stanford OVAL and also a convener of the Ivy Club. Jyotsna is an active participant and speaker at mobile events across India. Her work has been covered at the Wall Street Journal, Femina, CNBC, Outlook
Nitin Saluja, CEO, Chaayos
An IIT Bombay graduate, Nitin Saluja realised very early on, the role that chai played in his life. Living away from home and unable to get that perfect cup, he decided to bring about a chai revolution that would become a force to reckon with. His passion for chai led him and his friend Raghav Verma to start Chaayos, India’s leading chai café. Nitin is the CEO of Chaayos and handles R&D for the products. He has also curated most of the Chaayos menu himself. Today, Chaayos has about 37 outlets in Delhi, Mumbai and Chandigarh and is expanding to other cities like Pune and Bangalore. However, this is not Nitin’s first shot at entrepreneurship – he co-founded a robotics education company (Think Labs) at IITB, which is today valued over $10 MM. Prior to Chaayos, he worked at Opera Solutions, a consulting firm.
Karthik Jayaraman, Founding Team Member, Way Cool Foods & Products
Karthik Jayaraman of Way Cool Foods comes with over 19 years of experience across engineering, automotive and management consulting. In fact, he was most recently heading business transformation, new business development and corporate strategy at Ashok Leyland. Prior to this, Karthik drove large organizational transformation engagements at McKinsey and Company. He is an alumnus of IIT Madras, Purdue University and Indian School of Business.
S. Abinandan, Associate Director, Veda Corporate Advisors
Abinandan is an Associate Director at Veda and has over eight years of experience in investment banking and corporate planning. His areas of focus at Veda include consumer, healthcare, services, manufacturing, F&B and ITeS. He has worked on 30+ transactions across sectors advising companies in their fund raising plans and M&A.
Prior to joining Veda, he worked with Broadstripe USA, a leading telecom Company in their Corporate Development/M&A team
Abinandan has an MBA from Washington University, USA, an engineering degree from PESIT, Bangalore and has completed all 3 levels of the CFA program from CFA Institute,USA
Vikas Bagaria, CEO & Founder, Redcliffe Hygiene Pvt Ltd
A serial entrepreneur and a seasoned businessman with more than 18 years of experience in setting up and successfully growing his businesses, Vikas is Founder & Director at SafetyKart.com.
He has comprehensive experience in start-up environments right from inception, team building, business planning, operations, finance, purchase and HR. With his hands–‐on experience in three successful ventures, he has experience in building strategic alliances, operation (both domes/c & overseas), P&L management, supply chain management and driving sales organization. Vikas is credited with Consistently growing his business more than market.
Sanna Vohra, Founder & CEO, The Wedding Brigade
Sanna Vohra is the Founder and CEO of The Wedding Brigade, a online portal where users can discover the best wedding content, buy curated wedding fashion, and book verified vendors and services. Prior to The Wedding Brigade, Sanna worked in investment banking at Morgan Stanley in New York, and at the advertising agency Saatchi and Saatchi X. She discovered her passion for building businesses at Brown University, when she co-founded the largest student-run business at the time, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna cum Laude.
Tanaz Buhariwalla, Director India, IDA Ireland
Mahesh Natarajan – SVP, Ananda spa
Mahesh is Senior Vice President at award winning luxury destination spa, Ananda in the Himalayas and also manages the Ananda Spa Institute, the integrated institute for holistic spa and spa management training. Mahesh brings over 20 years of experience across Marketing, Brand Building, and Business Strategy across international and Indian companies.
Mahesh started his career in the hotel industry, training and working with luxury brand Oberoi Hotels where he learnt the fundamentals of hospitality and hotel operations. A subsequent Masters in Business Administration and Marketing degree led him to new and varied roles in marketing and business strategy. He has also been an entrepreneur, creating and successfully running a CRM consulting and services Company.
A return to the hotel industry after a decade brought him back to Oberoi Hotels as Vice President Marketing where he helped in creating a unique identity for the Oberoi brand and increased its visibility in the global luxury hotels marketplace. Subsequently he moved to his current role at Ananda, where his focus has been on growing its signature wellness offerings, customer relationships, developing new markets and expanding Ananda’s footprint in India and abroad.
His deep interest in the world of health and wellness started and continues through his association with Ananda. He is a follower of Ananda’s traditional Hatha Yoga practice and has worked to incorporate their core Ayurvedic principles into his daily life. Mahesh and his family live in Delhi and they share his passion for travel and discovering new places and experiences.
Prashanth Gowriraju, Co-Founder & CEO, Timla Foods Pvt Ltd
Prashanth Gowriraju is an innovator who has also founded two other startups Hooray, an on demand grocery delivery service in India and Kidloo, an online toy store which was recognized as India’s top 25 promising e-commerce companies by SmartTechie in 2011.
Holding a MBA from Institute of Finance and International Management, Bangalore, Prashanth has previously worked at Infosys Technologies Ltd and Monster.com India Pvt Ltd before co-founding Timla Foods Pvt Ltd
Akash Dongre, Co-Founder & CPO, Indus OS
Akash is the Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer at Indus OS. He is responsible for conceptualizing, selecting, and driving the development of products. A mobile technology expert, he has gained rich experience in the ideation, strategy and delivery of mobile devices, customized OS, applications and software solutions. Akash holds a B.Tech from IIT Bombay. He is a travel freak, a half marathoner, biker and a foodie. He was recently awarded Business World’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year award & was named as a Fortune 40 under 40 individual from India. Akash was also named as the Mint & MIT Technology Review’s Top Innovator from India under 35 in 2017