Priyank M. Kharge, Honourable Minister of State for Information Technology & Bio Technology and Tourism , Government of Karnataka

Mr. Kharge is an Indian Politician and a member of the Indian National Congress from the state of Karnataka. Kharge holds the Information Technology and Bio-Technology, Science and Technology Department portfolio in the Government of Karnataka. Kharge is also the youngest minister to be sworn into the Karnataka Cabinet. Apart from excelling in his political career, Kharge has also been educated in Graphic Design & Animation, and is an entrepreneur and consultant

As the Information Technology Minister, Kharge has introduced a Start-up Booster Kit, ELEVATE 100 . ELEVATE is the brainchild of the Start-up Cell, Karnataka Biotechnology and Information Technology Services (KBITS), and Government of Karnataka. It will enable startups across Karnataka by providing them access to mentors, networking opportunities, idea validation, incubation facilities. Apart from this, the ELEVATE programme will also provideaccess to about $61.7 Mn (INR 400 Cr funds)

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K Vaitheeswaran (@vaitheek) Author. E-commerce pioneer. TEDx Speaker.


K Vaitheeswaran is the author of the just released book “Failing to Succeed - the story of India’s first e-commerce company” (bit/ly/ftsaz) and is widely hailed as the “father of e-commerce in India”

He is a serial entrepreneur and an internet industry veteran who pioneered the e-commerce industry in India when he co-founded India’s first pure-play online retail company (later rebranded in 1999. In 2001 he co-founded Fabmall – the world’s first online to offline hyper-local, omni-channel grocery retail company. Fabmall grew to become India’s largest supermarket chain and in 2006 was acquired by the Aditya Birla Group and later re-branded as the More chain of stores.

K Vaitheeswaran has advised global brands like Deloitte, Diageo and the Tata group in their digital initiatives. He is well known in the Indian startup scene and also advises several technology and consumer ventures.

K Vaitheeswaran is a TEDx speaker and speaks regularly on entrepreneurship, internet, e-commerce and consumer marketing related subjects at various industry forums and leading educational institutes including the IITs, IIMs across India. He served on the CII National Committee for Marketing for the period 2012-13 and on the e-commerce committees of FICCI (Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry), IAMAI (Internet & Mobile association of India) and the RAI (Retail association of India). He is a charter member of TiE Bangalore and also associated with Microsoft Ventures, The National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) and Headstart / Start-up Saturday. K Vaitheeswaran holds an electronics engineering degree from Government College of Engineering, Tirunelveli affiliated to the Anna University. He began his career with Murugappa Electronics (1985-89), part of the Murugappa & Parry Group and then spent a decade in Wipro (1989-99) where he held various positions in sales, marketing and business planning. He is a voracious reader, keen sports enthusiast and was a registered umpire with KSCA for a few years. He lives in Bangalore with his wife and son and tweets @vaitheek

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Lavanya Nalli , Vice Chairperson Nalli group


Lavanya Nalli is a hands-on leader with 10 years of experience across retail, e-commerce, strategy and operations. She started her career with the Nalli Group – a $100M national retail chain - focusing on new business development and growth opportunities, retail store operations, and a private-label. She later launched a sub-brand that penetrated untapped markets, and incubated a venture that empowered artisanal communities by bringing design-led products to market. During her tenure, Nalli doubled its revenues, and expanded from 14 to 21 stores.

Lavanya graduated from Harvard Business School with an MBA in 2011, and worked at McKinsey & Company (Chicago) advising CXOs of Fortune 500 companies on issues ranging from top-line growth and profit improvement initiatives, change management programs and multi-channel strategy. She moved to India in 2013 into the e-commerce world as VP, Revenue & Shopping Experience at Myntra (Flipkart Group) and is now leading the ecommerce, private-label and expansion efforts at Nalli Group of companies. The Economic Times named Lavanya as among corporate India’s fastest rising women leaders.

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Ambiga Subramanian, Co-Founder of a stealth mode social networking startup, and an angel investor.


Prior to this, she was the CEO of Mu Sigma, one of the largest pure play data analytics companies. During her tenure of 10 years at Mu Sigma, she helped the company grow from a small startup to a unicorn. She was responsible for client engagements and growth across the globe, talent management, marketing and all other operations out of India.

Previously, she was in user experience research at Motorola, applying learnings from psychology and anthropology in software product development.

Ambiga studied Electrical Engineering from College of Engg. Guindy and subsequently received her M.S in Computer Engineering from Wayne State Univ. Michigan.

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Sanjay Jain, Chief Innovation Officer at CIIE.


Sanjay is the Chief Innovation Officer at CIIE, where he leads efforts to help create, promote, and encourage entrepreneurship in areas around digital technology.

Sanjay Jain is also a volunteer with iSPIRT, the software product industry think tank. He has been an active member of the India Stack, Open API, and Cashless teams. He has been working with the NPCI to define the next generation payment systems (the Unified Payment Interface), as well as with regulators and other bodies to help entire processes go paperless. He has been one of the key contributors to help create, and evangelize various government open APIs, which are collectively referred to as the India Stack.

During his career, Sanjay has been responsible for the development of many large scale, high impact systems. He was the Chief Product Manager at the UIDAI, where he led the product development efforts from its early days till well after the launch. The UIDAI has issued over a billion numbers to Indian residents. He was also responsible for the creation and launch of Google Map Maker - a crowd-sourced mapping product that is responsible for Google Maps data for 170+ countries (including India).

Sanjay has been a part of many entrepreneurial teams through his career, including most recently at EkStep, Khosla Labs, and as a founder of Novopay Solutions.

Sanjay holds an M.S. in Computer Science, from the University of California, Los Angeles and a B.Tech in Computer Science & Engineering, from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai.

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Mr. Nagaraja Prakasam, Angel Investor, Mentor, Fund Advisor


Nagaraja (Naga) Prakasam is a versatile and passionate leader with 2+ decades of global experience (decade in the USA and a decade+ in India). As a full time angel investor, invested in 21 start-ups and seen 4 exits. Spearheaded Impact thinking in Indian Angel Network and co-founded IAN Impact. His personal mantra is “Start-ups should focus on India’s strength – people, problems, Tech (PPT)”

He believes in hands on approach and travels extensively in rural areas understanding the need first hand. Sought after as thought leader in Impact space and inspired many students as a motivational speaker in number of colleges. Featured by Forbes magazine as Social investor engineering social change. Delivered C.K.Prahalad memorial lecture at WorldCoCreationDay. Chaired “Green Revolution 2.0 – Food Security and the role of innovation” at 10th CII Innovation Summit. Spoke at launch of Bank of Innovations and Ideas (BII) by Ministry of Rural Development along with Dr.Abdul Kalam. Awarded “Successful Person 2015/Vetri Tamilar” by Sangam4, Chennai. Proud to join CM of Rajasthan to unveil state startup policy.

Partner at Acumen – New York based $100M impact venture fund and serves as an independent director in one of its portfolio company, Guardian – a micro finance venture working in Water and Sanitation.

Founder Chairman of Native Angels Network (NAN) by Nativelead foundation (NLF) – enables entrepreneurship in non-metros of Tamilnadu, with the vision to Enable, Nurture, Incubate, Invest. NAN grown into 152 angels in Madurai, Trichy, Coimbatore, Erode, Tuticorin with 3 investments, touching 120 startups, 37 colleges.

Advisor and Mentor-in-Residence at NSRCEL, IIMB. Advisory Board member of Action for India. Mentor at CIIE, IIMA. Advisor – Change Alliance; VIT – TBI; CARE School of Business, Trichy; IIHR-Bangalore incubator for Agri-preneurs.

Investments – Carbon Masters, Nativespecial, Neurosynaptic, Lumiere Organic, Guardian, SP Robotics, Saahas, Freshworld (raising series A), Uniphore (raised series B), GoCoOp (raised series A), Happy Hens, Rain Stock, Sattva Consulting, GramVaani (merged with OnMobile), Consure (raised series A) , Orangescape, Gamiana (exited), Stayzilla (partially exited), UnBxd (exited), Druva (raised series D), Solaron (exited).

Serving the board of Carbon Masters – Waste to bio-CNG/Organic fertilizer, Neurosynaptic – telemedicine; Enabling access to quality and affordable healthcare to masses in rural and remote areas through technology, GoCoOp – online market place for co-operatives, Uniphore – voice recognition for 60+ languages and 100+ dialects. Pushes valuable information to 45Lakhs farmers a day. Freshworld – Farm to Home vegetables using cleantech smart carts. Saahas – Zero Waste Management; recycling 30 tons of waste a day . Rain Stock – affordable RWH, Gray/Black water recycling in Madurai, Guardian, SP Robotics, Lumiere Organic, Sattva Consulting.

Served as President of Atlanta and San Diego Chapters for the Association for India’s Development (AID). AID received Times of India Social Impact award in 2011 from the Prime Minister.

Earlier in his career, as President of CDC Software (world’s 12th largest enterprise software company) South & Southeast Asia, managed sales and India Engineering Centre of Excellence. During the 16 years tenure, grew from Systems Engineer to President involved in growing the company from $50M to $400M with ups and downs. At the age of 35, youngest executive to be given country head responsibilities. Intrapreneurial culture that he inculcated made the company to be shortlisted for prestigious NExT Practices Award for “Promoting Innovation & Entrepreneurship” by NASSCOM.

Currently residing in Bangalore, Naga holds a B.E. degree from Thiagarajar College of Engineering, India and an MBA degree from the San Diego/Kennesaw State University, United States.

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Mr. Avnish Sabharwal, Managing Director in Accenture India


Avnish Sabharwal is Managing Director in Accenture India, responsible for Corporate Strategy, Ventures, and Open Innovation.

He has 25 years of distinguished track record of achievement and performance around developing, growing and turning around businesses for Top 500 Fortune clients in both mature and emerging markets

He served in Indian Armed forces & has performed the role of Aide-de-Camp of the Governor of MP

Open Innovation: In his current role at Accenture in India Avnish is responsible for designing and leading the Open Innovation programme for India including managing relationships with start-up eco- system, including VCs, PEs, Accelerators, Incubators, Industry bodies like Nasscom and iSprit as well as Academia

Ventures: His role includes scaling Accenture's digital and innovation capabilities and work extensively with the Indian start-up ecosystem to identify, invest and acquire leading edge technologies and digital platforms in the space of AI, IoT, AR/VR, Cloud, Block chain, Cyber Security, e-com, Gamification and Big Data.

Corporate Strategy: Avnish is responsible for building Accenture’s growth and profitability road-map with focus on corporate strategy, digital strategy, portfolio optimization, competitive positioning, mergers and acquisitions and leadership development.

Prior to joining Accenture, Avnish worked with IBM's Global Business Services in India and the United Kingdom for almost a decade in various leadership roles.

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Mr. Praveen Singh, Chief Creative Officer, Manas Marketing Services


Mr. Praveen Singh is an advertising professional and chief creative officer of Manas Marketing Services,Mentor & Investor in rural startup and certified tea sommelier from Mumbai.

He mentor and invest in rural business since last 6 years and has valuable insight about rural economy. Through future design he keeps bringing disruptive ideas and thoughts in Health, Agri and Edutech by bringing collaborative periphery innovation at core of policy design. He has been selected as one of 15 citizen advisor on myGov platform for suggesting innovative ideas which became part of policy design. Besides creating breakthrough ideas for his MNC's clients and myGov platforms he has equal interest in wine and coffee tasting.When not interacting with clients he delves into creativity through photography and poetry.

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Ms. Sumathy Anantharam, Partner, Manasum Buildtech LLP, Director, Webcom Information Technology Pvt Ltd


Ms.Sumathy completed her Women Entrepreneur program from ISB powered by Goldman Sachs. Featured several times in DQ channel, CRN and various IT magazines. Recently featured as TOP 10 DIGITAL DURGAS of INDIA, in the male dominated IT Hardware business.

Her passion is to serve elders and empower women. She has along with Anantharam and Managalchand started a company Manasum Buildtech LLP and started the their first project in jigani bangalore with high class living with motive of happy and pride living for the seniors. She is planning to multiply as much as projects possible throughout the world. During this process will adopt near by village and give vocational training for the women folks and provide employment opportunity in their project so that the entire village will elevate in their standard of living.

This couple has GOAL to create a Retirement home where 100 destitute people and 100 orphan children are taken care with new relationship formed between them.

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Mr. Bala Girisaballa, Managing Director at Microsoft Accelerator in India.


He leads Microsoft’s efforts to help later stage startups and entrepreneurs in India to scale up and become successful, sustainable businesses. He has over 20 years of global experience that spans across technology, product strategy, innovation and business development.

Prior to joining Microsoft, Bala was Partner & Practice Head of Zinnov, a leading management consulting firm helping MNC R&D companies. He has rich experience in building successful global products from concept to launch; having been associated with leading technology companies like Yahoo, Oracle and Infosys. At Yahoo, he was responsible for founding and growing the Yahoo! Entrepreneur Network. Bala is an entrepreneur himself, and has founded two startups - Purplefront and NineMotion. He has also mentored many startups over the years.

An alumnus of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and Osmania University, Bala lives in Bangalore with his family. In his leisure time, he loves coding, reading and traveling.

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Mr. Pratik Poddar, Vice President at Nexus Venture Partners


Nexus VP is an early stage investor in technology companies across India and US managing about $1.2b of assets. Pratik graduated from IIT Bombay with a Bachelors degree in Computer Science and Engineering. After graduation, he worked in Morgan Stanley Strats and Modeling team, and in Blackstone Private Equity team.

Prior to joining Nexus, Pratik spent three years working on his startups in social e-commerce and content platforms where he experienced firsthand the challenges of building a company. At Nexus, Pratik is committed to working alongside technology entrepreneurs and work with them to create large sustainable businesses creating impact in lives of millions of people.

He is particularly interested in content platforms, travel startups, health-tech and fin-tech companies. When not working, Pratik enjoys traveling, reading business books, cooking, and solving math puzzles.

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Mr. Paritosh Sharma, GM, Digital Desh, by NowFloats Author, Patanjalize Your Brand


He is on a mission to empower 100 million people in India with digital tools and technologies. He leads Digital Desh by NowFloats, taking small entrepreneurs across India into the digital future.

His book Patanjalize Your Brand is India's first business book on Patanjali.

He is a strong believer in the Indian culture, science and arts.

He comes from a family of teachers and is passionate about helping the youth go beyond their comfort zones and be fearless.

He has been an active part of the Indian startup ecosystem and has worked with high growth companies like hike, Jabong, PayUmoney, TiE.

He is reachable at:

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Mr. Manish Saxena, Vice President - WFM


Manish has over 22 years of work experience in manufacturing, and BPO outsourcing enviornments. He works in the capacity of Global Workforce Management Leader at Firstsource.

He has worked in areas of Workforce management, Operations and Strategic Quality in the BPO space. He has led teams across Asia, Eupore, America and Australia. He has track record of delivering cost + channel optimization, automation and business process reengineering projects across telecom and BFSI verticals, He past experience includes stints with IBM,Hitachi, Honeywell & Allied Signals.

Manish graduated with a degree in Electical Engineering from Malviya Regional Engineering College and hold a postgraduate degree in Master of Business Adminstration (Technology Management) from LA TROBE UNIVERSITY, Australia . He is a certified Black belt. Manish enjoys driving, music and reading.

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Mr. Musthafa PC, CEO & Co-founder iD Fresh Food (India) Pvt. Ltd.


Born in a remote village in Kerala to a coolie dad, Musthafa PC was a school dropout who later did his Engineering in Computer Science from NIT Calicut & MBA from IIM-Bangalore

During his childhood, breakfast was a luxury & three-time meal was a dream. He co-founded iD Fresh Food in 2006 with his cousins and currently employs 1500+ youngsters from rural India and is feeding millions with healthy idli and dosas and other fresh, preservative-free products on a daily basis.

Inspired by traditional Indian values iD promotes authentic Indian foods which are fresh, 100% natural and preservative-free. Today iD is a 1000cr band.

PC is driving the passion of all the five co-founders in building a unicorn fresh food company.

PC has been lauded with many prestigious awards like India Today Make in India award, JCI National Award, Vocational Excellence Award and Entrepreneur India Award among others. He is part of Indian Philanthropy Initiative & also works very closely with DIAV for the welfare of Army Marty's kins. He is also part of Prime Minister's "Champions of Change" team with a vision to build a new India by 2022. His idea of traffic system automation is part of "new India synopsis"

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Dr. Chenraj Roychand, Founder Chairman of the Jain Group of Institutions


Dr. Chenraj started The Sri Bhagawan Mahaveer Jain College in Bangalore in the year 1990 at VV Puram which till date remains as the well known colleges in the city.

He went on to establish schools and colleges across the country in a matter of two decades Jain University was declared Deemed University under the UGC Act,1956.

Chenraj who aspired to actively empower rural and urban populace established Chenraj Roychand Center for Entrepreneurship which continues to be one of his notable achievements. The center aims to create an ecosystem to produce successful social entrepreneurs. He who became an entrepreneur at a very young age has his experience behind him to recognize the real creative minds who can work with passion and yield turbulent growth.

His benevolent attitude towards his underlings encourages many to follow their passion. The centre has so far incubated 50 companies where the companies are trained to identify an idea, understand hi-tech markets and emerging technologies. Chenraj Roychand has plans of creating 500 entrepreneurs in the next five years.

T.V. Mohandas Pai, Chairman of Manipal Global Education said about Chenraj Roychand,"He is the Indian version of an angel investor with a lot of mentoring and support, where you treat it as a family business and the entrepreneur becomes part of the family. It is not like the Western model of high growth and high return. Here, the person who is mentoring is more important than the investment.

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Mr. Z Mohammad Nassar


Z Mohamed Nassar is the Co-founder and Director of E2E – Excite Marketing and Training Services that provides business consultancy on growth strategies and building world class systems.

His clients have ranged from small entrepreneurial organizations to international corporations. Nassar has assisted over 150 clients globally in diverse sectors. Many of his strategies are focused on helping companies to communicate effectively to its stake holders using time tested and proven methods.

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Ms. Archana Priyadarshini


Archana is Venture Partner at Unicorn India Ventures. She heads Unicorn’s Bangalore operations and engages with portfolio entrepreneurs for performance monitoring, capital raising, and strategic decision making.

Archana has over 15 years of experience in the IT industry, where she has worked in leadership roles in various consulting companies and banks. She was very instrumental in defining equity based lending products for Wells Fargo.

After her corporate stint, Archana started Bootcamp Fitness Studio (Bangalore based chain of gyms) which ran successfully for a couple of years before taking an exit. Archana became an active angel investor afterward and had invested in various sectors.

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