Our Mission

Accelerating economic development in emerging economies through high-value job creation

Board of Directors – Global

Dr. Romesh Wadhwani

Founder and Chairman

  • Silicon Valley entrepreneur and philanthropist
  • Until 1999, built three successful companies, the last of which was exited at over $9 billion
  • Founding Chairman and CEO of $3.5 billion Symphony Technology Group (1999)
  • Founder and Chairman of Wadhwani Foundation (2003)
  • Founding Chairman of PE firm Symphony AI (2018)
  • Member of the Gates Buffet Giving Pledge
  • President Obama appointee to the Board of Trustees of the John. F. Kennedy Center
  • Board Member of Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C.

Dr. Ajay Kela

President & CEO

Dr. Kela leads the Foundation’s initiatives globally and is driving its expansion across Asia, Africa and Latin America.

  • Expanded Foundation’s initiatives across 20 countries and enabled over $100M of Govt. investment during the past eight years
  • Scaled startup Symphony Services to $175M with eventual exit at $780M
  • Grew AutoCAD business from $170M to $850M during 10 years at Autodesk
  • PhD research on computer graphics lead to multi-million dollar products at GE and Autodesk
  • B-Tech, IIT Bombay, India and Ph.D from University of Rochester, USA

Board of Directors – India

Harsh Mariwala

Chairman, Marico Limited

  • Harsh Mariwala leads Marico Limited as its Chairman. He is also Chairman & Managing Director of Kaya Limited.
  • Over the past three decades, Harsh Mariwala has transformed a traditional commodity-driven business into a leading consumer products and services company in the Beauty and Wellness space. From a turnover of INR 50 Lakhs in 1971, Marico generated a market capitalization of INR 42,089 crore on March 31, 2018. Further, the skincare and solutions business under Kaya generated a turnover of INR 400 crores for FY 2017-18.
  • Harsh Mariwala’s established the Marico Innovation Foundation in 2003. The Foundation acts as a catalyst to fuel innovation in India.
  • Harsh Mariwala started ASCENT in 2012 to create a unique trust-based peer-to-peer platform for high potential growth-stage entrepreneurs that leverage the “power of the collective” and enables them to share and exchange experiences, ideas, insights and create a healthy ecosystem to learn from each other and grow their enterprise.
  • He also founded the Mariwala Health Initiative (MHI) in 2015, a leading funding body in the field of mental health in India.
  • Under Harsh Mariwala’s leadership, Marico & Kaya have received more than 280 awards in the last few years.
  • Harsh was the President of The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in 2011. He has served as a Non-Executive Director to many leading companies. He is also a part of the Young President Organization (YPO) and World Presidents Organization (WPO).
  • He has a degree in commerce from Sydenham College in Mumbai.

Sanjeev Bikhchandani

Founder & Vice Chairman, Naukri.com

  • Sanjeev is the founder of Naukri.com, India’s leading job site. The company also runs Jeevansathi.com, 99acres.com, and Shiksha.com. In addition, it has made strategic investments in promising web start-ups such as Zomato, Policybazaar, Shopkirana and Ustraa.
  • In 1997 the company launched Naukri.com and transformed itself into an Internet company. Starting off from a servant quarter above a garage and seed capital of two thousand rupees, the company grew and attracted investment from leading venture capitalists. It was the first Internet company to list on Indian stock exchanges. Today The company employs over 4000 people and has a market capitalization of over USD 3.0 bill.
  • Prior to starting Naukri, Sanjeev had worked in advertising with Lintas and in consumer marketing at Glaxo SmithKline.
  • He along with his partner Hitesh Oberoi won the “Ernst and Young – Entrepreneur of the Year” award in 2008 for Business Transformation. He also won the Dataquest Pathbreaker Award & the Teacher’s Achievement Award for Business in the same year.
  • In 2011 he was conferred the Distinguished Alumnus award by IIM Ahmedabad and in 2012 he was honoured with the CF Andrews Distinguished Alumnus award by St. Stephen’s College. In April 2017, Outlook Magazine selected him as one of India’s fifty greatest CEO’s ever.
  • He is a member of the Board of the Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship at IIM Ahmedabad.
  • Sanjeev has served as the President of the Delhi chapter of TiE `{`The Indus Entrepreneurs`}`. He has also served as a member of the Global Board of Trustees of TiE. He serves on the National Council of AIMA. He has been Chair of the Internet Council of NASSCOM.
  • Sanjeev is a founding trustee of Ashoka University. He has also served on the expert committee for the SIDBI Fund of Funds for startups.
  • Sanjeev obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from St. Stephen College, Delhi University and a PGDM from IIM-Ahmedabad.

Ganesh Krishnan

Chairman, Portea Medical

  • Ganesh is a successful serial entrepreneur. He currently runs GrowthStory.in, a leading venture builder platform that promotes and incubates new ventures along with great entrepreneurs.
  • GrowthStory has promoted leading companies like BigBasket, BlueStone, Portea Medical, HomeLane, FreshMenu, HungerBox, Housejoy and Verloop.
  • His last venture, TutorVista was acquired by US and UK listed education leader Pearson for $ 213 MM.
  • Previously, Ganesh was the chairman of data analytics BPO firm Marketics, the company was acquired by NYSE-listed WNS. His previous venture, CustomerAsset, was started in mid-2000 and later acquired by ICICI and is now publicly listed in India as First Source Solutions.
  • In 1990, he founded his first company - IT&T, one of India’s top multi-vendor IT service and support company. The business was acquired by iGate (a listed company) in 2003.
  • Ganesh has also worked as the CEO of Wipro/Bharti British Telecom – a British Telecom JV in India, and held a senior management position in HCL Ltd.
  • He is also a popular speaker in entrepreneurship, start-up and technology events and has been recognized as one of the ``Iconic Entrepreneurs of India`` in a document published by National Knowledge Commission, GOI.
  • Ganesh is a post-graduate from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, and has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Delhi University.

Musthafa P.C

CEO & Co-founder, iD Fresh Food

Musthafa is the CEO & Co-founder of iD Fresh Food.

  • Musthafa PC’s love for traditional Indian food complements his penchant for technology and innovation. In 2005, he joined hands with four of his cousins in Bengaluru to start iD Fresh Foods.
  • PC was born and brought up in a remote village in Wayanad district of Kerala, where his father worked as a daily wage labourer. His humble beginnings strengthened his social consciousness and resolve to help build a world, where everyone has equal opportunities.
  • He spent initial years of his career at top MNCs in India and abroad, becoming an entrepreneur was a natural progression for PC. His aim was to provide employment opportunities to aspirants from rural India.
  • With iD Fresh Food, PC’s endeavour was to make fresh, home-made food accessible to one and all. In 2005, the company was the first in India to promote authentic Indian foods that are 100% natural and preservative-free. It currently operates in 24 cities across India and the UAE.
  • As the brain behind India’s largest fresh food brand, PC has been lauded with many prestigious awards, such as the Forbes Tycoons of Tomorrow, India Today Make in India Award, JCI National Award, Vocational Excellence Award and Entrepreneur India Award, IIMB distinguished Alumni award, to name a few.
  • PC is part of Indian Philanthropy Initiative, he works closely with Directorate of Indian Army Veterans (DIAV) for the welfare of Army Martyrs’ kin. He is also part of the Prime Minister’s ‘Champions of Change’ team with a vision to build a new India by 2022.
  • A school dropout, who went on to do his Engineering in Computer Science from NIT Calicut and MBA from IIM-Bangalore.