AFI 3rd Annual Forum 2014

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Sam Pitroda, Honorary Chairman
Sam Pitroda

Adviser to the Prime Minister Public Information Infrastructure & Innovations Mr. Sam Pitroda is an internationally respected development thinker, policy maker, telecom inventor and entrepreneur who has spent over four decades in Information and Communications Technology and related human and national developments initiatives. Credited with having laid the foundation of India's technology and telecommunications revolution in the 1980s, Mr. Pitroda has been a leading campaigner to help bridge the global digital divide. During his tenure as Adviser to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in the 1980s Mr. Pitroda headed six technology missions related to telecommunications, water, literacy, immunization, dairy and oil seeds. He was also the founder and first chairman of India’s Telecom Commission. In these roles, he helped revolutionise India’s development policies and philosophies with a focus on access to technology as the key to social change.Mr. Pitroda was Chairman of India’s National Knowledge Commission (2005-2009), an advisory body to the Prime Minister of India, set up to provide a blueprint for reform of the knowledge related institutions and infrastructure in the country. The Commission has offered a series of recommendations on various aspects of the knowledge paradigm to help India meet the challenges of the 21st century.

He is currently Adviser to the Prime Minister of India on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations and has undertaken the ambitious task of providing a plan for creating digital infrastructure in the country for enhancing governance and improving delivery of public services. He is also the Chairman of the National Innovation Council (NInC) which is working on several initiatives to boost innovation performance in the country. Mr. Pitroda is also heading the Expert Group for Modernisation of Indian Railways constituted by the Ministry of Railways. He is also the Chairman of the Smart Grid Task Force set up under the aegis of the Ministry of Power, Government of India. He has also been appointed one of the founding Commissioners of the United Nations Broadband Commission for Digital Development.

Desh Deshpande

Gururaj Desh Deshpande is the President and Chairman of Sparta Group LLC, and Chairman of A123 Systems (AONE), Sycamore Networks (SCMR), Tejas Networks and HiveFire. Prior to co-founding Sycamore Networks, Dr. Deshpande was founder and chairman of Cascade Communications Corp. Dr. Deshpande holds a B.Tech. in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology – Madras, an M.E. from the University of New Brunswick in Canada, and Ph.D from Queens University in Canada.Desh Deshpande is the President and Chairman of Sparta Group LLC, and Chairman of A123 Systems (AONE), Sycamore Networks (SCMR), Tejas Networks and HiveFire. Prior to co-founding Sycamore Networks, Dr. Deshpande was founder and chairman of Cascade Communications Corp. Dr. Deshpande holds a B.Tech. in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology – Madras, an M.E. from the University of New Brunswick in Canada, and Ph.D. from Queens University in Canada.

Dr. Deshpande co-chairs a National Council to support President Obama’s innovation and entrepreneurship strategy. He also serves as a life-member of the MIT Corporation, and his generous support has made possible MIT’s Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation. Leveraging the experience gained at the MIT Center, the Deshpande Foundation has helped establish three other centers;, Merrimack Valley Social Entrepreneurship Sandbox in Lowell/Lawrence Massachusetts, Pond-Deshpande Center at the University of New Brunswick in Canada, and the Deshpande Center for Social Entrepreneurship in Karnataka State, India. The Deshpande Center initiated the Hubli Sandbox approach, with not-for-profits, academics, organizations and entrepreneurs working together to launch effective and scalable models of development in India.

Raju Reddy, Founder and CEO, Sierra Atlantic

Raju is the Founder and CEO of Sierra Atlantic, a company that has grown to be a best-in-class global services company. Under his leadership, Sierra Atlantic grew from a startup to over 2400 employees with operations in several countries and was consistently ranked amongst the best managed companies including the top 75 most admired companies in Silicon Valley, Top 25 great places to work in India and Top 10 best employers in South China.Sierra Atlantic was acquired by Hitachi Consulting in December 2010 and it is the largest ever acquisition by Hitachi Consulting to date. Prior to founding Sierra Atlantic in 1993, Raju spent 10 years at Intel in software development, marketing, and general management.Raju currently serves on the board of Hitachi Consulting and GharPay, a fast growing consumer internet company based in India.

Raju is active in not-for-profit initiatives and is currently Chairman of BITSAA Intl, the alumni body of BITS Pilani, India's #1 private university. He enjoys working with young entrepreneurs in a mentorship role and was instrumental in starting the TiE Chapter in Hyderabad. Raju also serves on the Board of India Community Center in Milpitas, CA. He previously served as a member of the Board of Trustees for Puente, a Wharton School non-profit program which helped under privileged communities worldwide gain access to technology. In November 2011, Raju was awarded the Pratham USA 'Glory of India' award for entrepreneurship and philanthropy. He also co-founded SIPA (Silicon Valley Indian Professional Association) in 1987.

Raju holds a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical and electronics engineering from BITS Pilani and a Master of Science degree in computer science from Virginia Tech.

Rita Soni, CEO, NASSCOM Foundation

Rita was appointed as the CEO of NASSCOM Foundation in October 2010. As part of the social development arm of NASSCOM, Rita aims at strengthening the efforts of the IT Industry towards inclusive growth, building strategic relationships and establishing effective linkages between industry, non-profits & government; to contributing to the cause of social development.

With 18 years of experience in both the private and non-profit sectors, Rita started her professional journey with General Electric; moving from an engineering management training program, to the Corporate Audit Staff followed by operations and finance at NBC.Prior to joining NASSCOM Foundation, she was the Country Head – Responsible Banking at YES BANK spearheading a pioneering business approach to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability and was part of the core team that offered innovative financial solutions to address a wide spectrum of issues regarding sustainable livelihoods, food security, public health, education & climate change. In her career stint, Rita has also worked with the American India Foundation (AIF) heading Communications & Advocacy for the India operations. Rita has a Master of International Affairs (MIA) degree from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) in New York City and a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering with Honours from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey.

R Chandrashekhar, President Elect, NASSCOM Foundation

Chandrashekhar has been the Chairman of Telecom Commission and Secretary in the Department of Telecommunications in the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology, Government of India since September, 2010 till his retirement from Government service in March, 2013. Earlier, he served as the Secretary in the Department of Information Technology from June, 2009 to September, 2010 and also held concurrent charge of this assignment from February, 2011 to March, 2012 in addition to his current charge. As the Telecom Secretary, he was responsible for driving several key policies and strategies covering licensing, spectrum management, National Broadband Plan, Convergence, Manufacturing, Investment, security, R&D and the National Telecom Policy 2012. He was the principal architect behind a triad of policies covering Telecommunications, Electronics and Information Technology that was unveiled in draft form by the Government of India in October, 2011. All the three policies were approved by the Government in 2012. The thrust of these policies is to optimally leverage Information and Communication Technologies to find innovative solutions in education, health care, financial inclusion, e-governance, skill development, employment generation, etc. As the Secretary of the Department of Information Technology, he steered the formulation of national policies for the IT sector and for promoting Electronic System Design and Manufacturing and R&D in the Electronics and IT sector. He was also responsible for overseeing implementation of a number of major national initiatives in the sector including the National e-Governance Plan, which he played a key role in designing and in formulating the Electronic Service Delivery Act. Earlier, he established the first Department of Information Technology in the country in the state of Andhra Pradesh and was Secretary of the Department from June, 1997 to December, 1999. The policies and strategies he formulated catapulted the state to the forefront of the country in the sector and became a role model for several states and countries.

Raj Melville, Executive Director, Deshpande Foundation
Raj Melville

As Executive Director at the Deshpande Foundation, Raj develops overall strategy, and channels the Foundation's efforts to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation. Previously as Principal at Ambient Engines, Raj Melville provided marketing and strategy consulting to emerging social entrepreneurs. He founded the annual Forum for Social Entrepreneurs, organized and moderated numerous panels and workshops on social entrepreneurship, and currently mentors several startups focused on addressing key social issues.

Raj has over 25 years of product management, marketing and consulting experience including managing overall product strategy and features as Vice President, Product Management for nTAG Interactive, a spin off from the MIT Media Lab. As V.P. Product Management and Marketing, and later V.P Client Services, at mobile software vendor Vaultus, another MIT spinoff, (now part of Antenna Software) he provided marketing, product management and client services direction. Prior to that he was Sr. Director, Product Management at Be Free Inc. (now Valueclick), a market leading affiliate marketing ad server and e-commerce solution. Earlier he managed the launch of two high-end Internet server products at Electronic Book Technologies (later acquired by Inso). His early career included working at Microsoft Corp., Digital Equipment Corporation, and Booz Allen & Hamilton.

He is an active member of TiE Boston and the India Society of Worcester and co-founded the TIE Social Entrepreneurship Group. He has been a mentor and judge for several entrepreneurial competitions such as MassChallenge, MIT 100K, and the MIT IDEAS competition. Raj has a Doctor of Science in engineering from MIT focusing on optimizing the operation of computerized manufacturing systems; a Master's from MIT’s Sloan School; and a Bachelor’s from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.

Naveen Jha, CEO, Deshpande Foundation
Naveen Jha

Naveen Jha is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Deshpande Foundation, India. He has been with the foundation since its inception in India bringing a vision of enabling local solutions through a bottom-up approach. Naveen graduated from Brandeis University, a top ranked university in the USA, with a Masters in International Development and was the recipient of the prestigious Ford Foundation Fellowship. He has also taken numerous courses at MIT’s Poverty Lab and Harvard University.

Under Naveen’s leadership, the Foundation has touched thousands of lives including non-profits, students, youth, academics and universities. A serial entrepreneur himself, Naveen has launched several initiatives within and outside of the Deshpande Foundation. Naveen is passionate about mentoring youth who are interested in social entrepreneurship. This has led to the launch of several highly successful fellowship programs that has produced hundreds of graduates now working with social enterprises all over India. Naveen has also pioneered a series of youth development programs that helps transform the attitudes of young people into solving problems locally. One of these programs, LEAD, has more than ten thousand students engaged in problem solving in their communities and has unleashed the power of social change within their neighborhoods. Under his direction, within the Northwestern Karnataka footprint of the foundation, an innovative grant making program has led to several effective and scalable models of development.

Naveen has helped build a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Hubli Sandbox consisting of the Greater Hubli/Dharwad area. He has been instrumental in founding the local chapter of TiE, one of the largest international non-profits promoting entrepreneurship, and serves as its current President. In addition to TiE, Naveen also serves as a board member of several for profit and non-profit organizations.

Prior to his work with the Deshpande Foundation, Naveen worked for six years at PRADAN, a pioneering livelihoods organization where, as Team leader, he helped create usable and sustainable prototypes of livelihoods programs and water resource management.

Dr. R K Shevgaonkar, IIT Delhi
Dr. R K Shevgaongar

Dr. R K Shevgaonkar, presently on lien: Director IIT Delhi , has held various prominent positions in past including: Vice Chacellor of University of Pune ; Visiting Professor, ISEP, Paris ; Deputy Director (Finance and External Affairs), IIT Bombay ; Dean, Resource Mobilization, IIT Bombay; Head, Electrical Engineering Department, IIT Bombay ; Visiting Professor, ETH Zurich.

Dr. Shevgaonkar completed his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Electrical Engineering from I. I. T., Bombay/ (Indian Institute of Astrophysics/Raman Research Institute, Bangalore) on Maximum Entropy Restoration of Astronomical Images in 1985. He also garnered a Master of Technology (M.Tech) in Electrical Engineering from IIT, Kanpur with specialization in Electromagnetics and Optical fibres.

Arun Maira, Member, Planning Commission, Government of India
Arun Maira

Arun Maira was appointed a Member of the Planning Commission in the Government of India in 2009. In this ministerial level of position, his responsibility is to facilitate the shaping of policies and programs relating to industrialisation and urbanisation in the country, and tourism.He is a thought leader and writer on the subjects of transformational change and leadership. He is a frequent speaker at international forums on the future of India.

He is the author of several books including "Transforming Capitalism: Business Leadership to Improve the World for Everyone", and "Shaping the Future: Aspirational Leadership in India and Beyond".

He worked for 25 years in the Tata Group in India in senior management and board positions. He worked with Arthur D. Little Inc, the international management consultancy, in the USA from 1989 to 1999, and consulted with companies across the world on issues of growth strategies and transformational change. He returned to India in 2000 and was Chairman of The Boston Consulting Group in India prior to joining the Planning Commission.

Ronnie Screwvala, Founder & CEO, UTV

Ronnie Screwvala is an Indian entrepreneur and social. He is the founder and CEO of Group (UTV Software Communications, Bloomberg UTV, and UTV Motion Pictures), which was founded in the year 1990. Screwvala is the Managing Director of Disney- UTV India, Managing Trustee of the Swades Foundation and Founder & Advisor: at Unilazer Ventures Ltd., (a privately held PE/VC & Business Company).He has been named on Esquire’s List of the 75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century (September 2008) and ranked 78 among the 100 most influential people in the world on the Time 100 (complied by Time Magazine, 2009). He was also listed amongst 25 Asia’s Most Powerful by Fortune Magazine, titled the Jack Warner of India by and named Entrepreneur of the year by Ernst & Young.

Screwvala laid the foundation of Society to Heal Aid Restore Educate (SHARE) for rural development in Maharashtra. Swades, under his former brand name SHARE, in the last five years has provided 39,000 people in 139 villages in rural Maharashtra with drinking water. Through Swades, Screwvala sees empowering communities with choices for themselves and their families, the capability of transforming their own lives.

Sanjay Kadaveru
Sanjay Kadaveru

Sanjay has two decades of international experience spanning the domains of investments, management consulting and business development. He has extensive business and personal relationships with leading executives, investors, and institutions in the US-India corridor, including a significant concentration of high net worth individuals, family offices, and venture capital/private equity firms.

Sanjay is the Founder & President of Action For India (AFI), an initiative to help social innovators in India overcome barriers to scale and achieve greater impact at the Bottom of the Pyramid. AFI connects social innovators with impact investors, mentors, technology resources, government contacts and local partners. AFI is headquartered in New Delhi, India and has a chapter in Silicon Valley, California. Launched in 2012, AFI is inspired and guided by Sam Pitroda, Adviser to the Prime Minister of India and Chairman of India’s National Innovation Council. AFI’s financial supporters include Desh Deshpande, Adviser to the US President Barack Obama & Founder of the Deshpande Foundation.

Sanjay is also a co-founder and Board Member at the Center for Healthcare Innovation, a best in class US based research center and thought-leadership institution focusing on the life sciences. He leads CHI’s effort to engage top healthcare, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical executives, entrepreneurs, and investors, with a concentrated focus on the US and India. Sanjay's achievements include creation of the preeminent CHI Global Advisory Committee and co-leading the annual "China, India, and US Life Science Markets" symposium in Menlo Park, CA.

Previously, Sanjay served as a Senior Advisor for Strategic Initiatives at Hetero Drugs, India’s largest privately held pharmaceutical company. Sanjay was also with The Seven Hills Group, a US based family office making investments in the US-India corridor. During his five year tenure with the firm, The Seven Hills Group has invested more than 50M USD across a variety of sectors including Media & Entertainment, Healthcare, Technology, Clean Tech, Education and Real Estate.

Sanjay is a Charter Member of The Indus Entrepreneurs, the world’s largest network of entrepreneurs, and served as a Co-Chair for TiECon East, one of the largest innovation focused conferences in the US. Sanjay founded the AP Technology Leadership Council, a non-profit networking organization created to provide pro-bono business consulting services to civic and governmental causes in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India.In an earlier role, Sanjay served as the Chairman of the Editorial Board of IIT Maanas, the alumni magazine of IIT Madras.

Sanjay is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology at Madras and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Digbijoy Shukla

Digbijoy has over ten years of experience spanning diverse high-growth entrepreneurial startups. Within Ennovent, Digbijoy is the Director of the Ennovent Impact Circle, an exclusive network of individual and institutional members looking to invest and support for profit companies making an impact at the base of the pyramid. Here, he works to supports early-stage enterprises in scaling up by providing capital, expertise and access to mentors via the Ennovent Global Network. Prior to this, he worked with techTribe – India largest Career Networking platform where he served as director strategic relations and drove unique initiatives and partnerships for building and sustaining community engagement. Digbijoy has also worked with The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE Delhi) where he drove various key initiatives like mentoring, deal flow, marketing, sponsorships etc. in his position as Associate Director of the chapter. He was also the co-founder of an online supplemental education start-up, which serves over 100K US students.

AFI SVC Trek will include visits to the following Organizations