MIT India 2017

Cambridge MA

Apr 9, 2017

The MIT India Conference 2017 aims to highlight the key social, business, and political challenges, practices, and innovations that are shaping India today and tomorrow. Through discussion and dialogue, we endeavor to create a platform that connects East and West, with the aim of educating and preparing the next generation of world leaders.

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Ananth Narayanan

CEO, Myntra and Jabong

Bio: Ananth Narayanan is the Chief Executive Officer at Myntra and Jabong, the country’s largest online platforms for fashion and lifestyle products. He leads the team with a dedicated mission to disrupt and transform the way fashion is sold and consumed in the country. His aim is to make Myntra the first profitable ecommerce company in India. Under his leadership, Myntra has made two strategic acquisitions – Cubeit, a Bangalore based start-up that facilitates content aggregation on mobile devices and Jabong from Global Fashion Group; making it India’s biggest fashion shopping destination. Featured as one of “India’s Hottest 40 under 40 Business Leaders” in 2014, Ananth has deep expertise in driving performance improvement and product development. He started his career with Mckinsey & Company where he worked for 15 years across four offices (Chicago, Shanghai, Taipei and Chennai). In his most recent role as Director in the company, he was responsible for leading the Product Development practice in Asia and worked with several companies on strategy, operations and organizational models. Ananth leverages his vast experience and knowledge from years in consultancy and managing operations to mentor start-ups. With his financial acumen and marketing insights, he has helped start ups create systems and processes, build stakeholder communities, effectively reach out to markets and scale up their business. A person with a strong commitment to building an entrepreneurial environment in the country, Ananth has helped shape many a new enterprise from seed stage to commercial success. He is also a speaker at various summits organized by premier institutes such as The Economist, Harvard Business School, University of Michigan among others. Ananth has a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from University of Madras and a Masters from the University of Michigan, in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research. He is on the Industry Advisory Board of University of Michigan’s Tauber Institute.

Anish Shah

Group President (Strategy), Mahindra Group

Bio: Dr. Anish Shah is the Group President (Strategy) for the Mahindra Group and a Member of the Group Executive Board. His primary focus areas are strategy development and implementation; building capabilities such as digitization, IoT and analytics; enabling synergies across Group companies; and driving international growth. He also leads the Risk Management and Performance Review organizations. The Group Strategy Office plays a key role in developing talent for leadership roles across the Group. Anish’s prior role was President and CEO of GE Capital India, where he led the transformation of the business, including a turnaround of its SBI Card joint venture. His career at GE spanned 14 years, during which he held several leadership positions at GE Capital’s US and global units. As Director, Global Mortgage, he worked across 33 countries to drive growth and manage risk. As Senior Vice President (Marketing and Product Development) at GE Mortgage Insurance, he led various growth initiatives and played a key role in preparing the business for an IPO, as a spinoff from GE. In his initial years with GE, Anish also led Strategy, eCommerce and Sales Force Effectiveness and had the unique experience of running a dot-com business within GE. Anish also received GE’s prestigious Lewis Latimer Award for outstanding utilization of Six Sigma in developing a “Digital Cockpit.” He also has diverse experience with global businesses beyond GE. He led Bank of America's US Debit Products business, where he launched an innovative rewards program, led numerous initiatives in payment technology and worked closely with various teams across the Bank to enhance value for the customer. As a strategy consultant at Bain & Company in Boston, he worked across multiple industries, including banking, oil rigs, paper, paint, steam boilers and medical equipment. His first role was with Citibank in Mumbai, where he issued bank guarantees and letters of credit as Assistant Manager, Trade Services. Anish holds a Ph.D from Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business where his doctoral thesis was in the field of Corporate Governance. He also received a Masters degree from Carnegie Mellon and has a post-graduate diploma in Management from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. He has received various scholarships, including the William Latimer Mellon Scholarship, Industry Scholarship at IIMA, National Talent Search and Sir Dorabji Tata Trust.

Kartik Varma


Bio: Kartik Varma is currently an investor based in London. He is the co-founder of, India’s largest digital real estate services company backed by Accel, News Corp, SAIF and Softbank. Prior to starting PropTiger, Kartik co-founded, India’s first open architecture online financial supermarket providing financial products and advice to the mass affluent, which was backed by Softbank and acquired by Karvy Group. Kartik has also worked extensively in the business of sports and built Rush Sports & Entertainment’s practice in India, especially in motorsports. He was influential in helping Rush work with Mahindra Racing, one of the ten teams in Formula E, the global electric vehicle street racing series. He is the author of the Harvard Business School case study on Formula 1 motor racing. Kartik is currently writing his first book, to be published by Harper Collins. He has written over 200 articles on personal finance, real estate and online marketing for the Economic Times, Mint, Money Today, Outlook Money, Times of India, Indian Express, Financial Express, Reuters Money, Yahoo! Finance and other mainstream and financial journals. Kartik helped define and build the PropTiger brand through thought leadership in real estate through weekly TV shows on ET Now, Bloomberg TV and CNN-IBN on helping first time home buyers make their housing decisions. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Kartik worked as an investor at Ziff Brothers Investments in New York and London, and at The Children’s Investment Fund in London. He started his career as an M&A banker at James D Wolfensohn in New York. Kartik has also been an actor with Stagedoor, India’s largest professional theater group, and has acted in 11 productions. He has an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he was a Co-President of the Business of Sports Club, and an LLB from London School of Economics.

Mahesh Murthy

Keynote Speaker, Keynote Speaker

Bio: Mahesh Murthy is a marketer, investor and widely-followed commentator on both those disciplines. As a marketer for over 33 years, Mahesh has worked on Pepsi and Unilever apart from helping launch Amazon and Yahoo globally. Mahesh also helped bring youth television to India, launching MTV and later running its rival Channel [V]. Mahesh is considered one of India's leading early-stage investors, both as an angel and through his VC firm Seedfund. His investees include industry-leading brands like Pinstorm, RedBus, CarWale, Chumbak, CareerLauncher, Doolally and MyDentist. Seedfund has twice been awarded “Indian VC Fund of the Year”. Mahesh has consulted on entrepreneurship policy matters with several governments, and is a sought-after speaker on digital transformation. Mahesh is now in the midst of launching his next fund. His somewhat outspoken views have attracted a following of more than 500,000 people on social media. You can find Mahesh on Twitter @maheshmurthy

Robert Stoner

Deputy Director for Science and Technology, MIT Energy Initiative

Bio: Robert Stoner is the Deputy Director for Science and Technology of the MIT Energy Initiative, and Founding Director of the Tata Center for Technology and Design. He currently serves on the Science and Technology Committee of the Alliance for Sustainable Energy which oversees the National Renewable Energy Lab, and is member of the board of directors of the Tata Center at IIT-Bombay. His current research interests include energy technology and policy for developing countries, and design for resource constrained settings. Dr. Stoner has worked extensively in academia and industry throughout his career. He is the inventor of numerous optical measurement and computational techniques, and has built and managed successful technology startups in the semiconductor, IT and optics industries. From 2007 through 2009 he lived and worked in Africa and India while serving in a variety of senior roles within the Clinton Foundation. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in engineering physics from Queen’s University, and his Ph.D. from Brown University in condensed matter physics.

Sudhanshu Vats

Group CEO, Viacom18 Media Private Limited

Bio: Sudhanshu Vats is Group CEO, Viacom18 Media Pvt. Ltd., and responsible for all its lines of business – COLORS, Rishtey, Rishtey Cineplex, MTV, MTV Beats, Nickelodeon, Sonic, Nick Jr, Vh1, Comedy Central, COLORS Infinity, COLORS Kannada, COLORS Marathi, COLORS, Bangla, COLORS Oriya, COLORS Gujarati and COLORS Super in Broadcast Entertainment; Viacom18 Motion Pictures in Filmed Entertainment; LIVE Viacom18 and BE Viacom18 in Experiential Entertainment; VOOT in Digital Entertainment and Viacom18 Consumer Products. In the last four years, he has successfully steered the group into a profitable growth phase while expanding the channel network, driving content-led cinema, entering experiential entertainment through Live events across genres, opening up the Consumer Products business line and making the company future ready with Viacom18 Digital Ventures’ OTT platform VOOT. Under Sudhanshu’s leadership the group has grown from 6 to over 36 channels and opened up 3 more lines of business leading to a stupendous 40 X growth in topline. A Hindustan Unilever (Unilever India) veteran, Sudhanshu Vats has spent about 20 years at the organization in different assignments. A Management Graduate from the Indian Institute of Management - Ahmedabad, he joined Hindustan Unilever Limited as a Management Trainee and worked with them in various Sales & Marketing and General Management roles across categories (Home & Personal Care, and Foods) and in all four regions in the country. During his tenure he has shaped many popular household brands, most notably Lipton, Vim, Wheel, Surf, Rin, Lifebuoy and Lux. He has also done a short term assignment on Modern Trade (Organized Retailing) in Thailand. In his last assignment with Unilever as Vice President – Laundry, South Asia, he grew the South Asia Laundry business in strong double digits crossing the Euro 1 bn turnover milestone in 2011. In his earlier assignment as Vice President - Skin Cleansing and Laundry, and HHC, HUL India, he successfully led the Laundry and HHC categories doubling this large business segment in just four years. During 2004-2005, Sudhanshu worked with BP in India for about 18 months as Vice President Marketing and was instrumental in the Castrol Master brand re-launch in 2005. Sudhanshu leads industry thinking and brings fresh perspective to the Media & Entertainment sector. He is committed to the development and expansion of the sector in India. He is Chairman of the National Media and Entertainment Committee of CII (Confederation of Indian Industry), Vice President of IBF (Indian Broadcasting Foundation) and Chairman of BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council). He is an avid trekker and runs marathons regularly.

Amit Midha

President and EVP, Dell, Asia-Pacific and Japan Comm

Bio: Amit Midha leads the Commercial business of Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) region for Dell EMC, responsible for Sales, Business Strategy and Development, Operations, Marketing, and Government engagement throughout the region. Amit has been with Dell for 21 years and has held various leadership positions in sales, marketing and corporate strategy organizations in the Americas and APJ regions. Previously, he served as the president of APJ from 2012 to 2016 and APJ Consumer, Small and Medium Business from 2010 to 2012. He was also president of Greater China from 2006. Prior to joining Dell, Amit worked for Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Company, in Mumbai, India. Amit has been recognized for his contributions to China and the information technology industry on a number of occasions. He was honored in 2013 with the Magnolia Gold Award for his outstanding contributions to the city of Shanghai. He currently sits on the advisory board of Binhai district, city of TianJin and Chengdu Overseas Advisory Committee for the Chengdu Investment Promotion Commission. Amit is also a senior consultant for the Chengdu Government, Sichuan province. He is a vice chairman of CAFIE (China Association of Foreign Invested Enterprises) and a senior member of the advisory board of Xiamen University School of Management. At the 2010 CNBC China Business Leader Awards, Amit received the People’s Choice CEO of the Year Award and was named CEO of the year (IT category) by Bloomberg UTV in 2010. He serves as the member of the Board of Directors of the U.S.-India Business Council, which aims to foster a deeper strategic and economic cooperation between both countries. Amit is also a council member at the Singapore National Employers Federation that focuses on enhancing the flexibility of the labor market and a member of Young Presidents’ Organization, the world’s largest network of peers that connects members to exchange ideas, pursue learning, and share strategies to achieve personal growth and professional success. In 2016, he was recognized by the Economic Times Group as ‘The most promising business leader in Asia’. Amit is committed to helping the youth of today to have a more promising future and actively supports programs that help educate women in cultures where negative biases exist. He sits on the Dell Global Giving Council, Dell Global Diversity Council and Dell Entrepreneur Executive Council. He is also on the board of “Project Hope Magazine” sponsored by the CYDF (China Youth Development Foundation) and CYLCC (Communist Youth League (CYL) Central Committee) to bring schools into poverty-stricken rural areas of China. Amit holds a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Missouri, Columbia, US, and graduated with a first-class Honors degree in Engineering from the SGS Institute of Technology & Science, Indore, India. Amit resides in China with his wife and two children.

Nish Acharya

CEO, Citizence; former senior advisor in Obama Administration and Author of “The India-US Partnership: $1 Trillion By 2030”

Bio: Nish Acharya is CEO of Citizence, a firm that consults with leading universities, governments, foundations and companies to assist them with innovation, entrepreneurship and philanthropic strategies. Mr. Acharya is also a Senior Fellow with the Center for American Progress, a contributor to Forbes and the author of the “The India-US Partnership: $1 Trillion By 2030” by Oxford University Press. Nish previously served as Director of Innovation & Entrepreneurship and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Commerce for the Obama Administration, and as Executive Director of the Deshpande Foundation, a prominent American philanthropy focused on innovation, entrepreneurship and scalability around the world.

Radhika Ghai Aggarwal

Co-Founder & Chief Business Officer, (India’s latest unicorn)

Bio: Radhika Ghai Aggarwal is the Co-founder and Chief Business Officer at She is also the first Indian woman founder to enter into the prestigious echelons of the unicorn club. As a Co-Founder of ShopClues and the driving force behind its go-to-market initiatives, she has carefully nurtured the brand to make it a house-hold name in less than 5 years. An alumnus of Washington University in St. Louis, Radhika holds an MBA in Strategy. She further went on to pursue a course in ‘Web 2.0 and Creative Writing’ in Stanford University. Having worked for Goldman Sachs in Wealth Management and Nordstorm in the Strategy Planning Department, Radhika has diverse experience across industry segments such as retail, ecommerce, fashion & lifestyle, advertising, and public relations, all summing up to 16 years. She started on her entrepreneurial journey with her first venture, FashionClues, a content portal for NRI women. Radhika was recently awarded the ‘CEO of the Year’ Award in the Start-Up category at the prestigious CEO India Awards, 2016. She is an accomplished speaker and is a staunch supporter of women entrepreneurship, having shared her thoughts on several fora including TiE and other industry events. Radhika is passionate about empowering women to assume leadership roles within her organisation as well within ShopClues’ vibrant community of merchant partners.

Sanjay Sarma

Vice President of Open Learning, co-founder of the Auto-ID Center at MIT and Fred Fort Flowers and Daniel Fort Flowers (1941) Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT

Bio: Sanjay Sarma is the Fred Fort Flowers (1941) and Daniel Fort Flowers (1941) Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT. He is the first Dean of Digital Learning at MIT. He co-founded the Auto-ID Center at MIT and developed many of the key technologies behind the EPC suite of RFID standards now used worldwide. He was also the the founder and CTO of OATSystems, which was acquired by Checkpoint Systems (NYSE: CKP) in 2008. He serves on the boards of GS1, EPCglobal and several startup companies including Senaya and ESSESS. Dr. Sarma received his Bachelors from the Indian Institute of Technology, his Masters from Carnegie Mellon University and his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley. Sarma also worked at Schlumberger Oilfield Services in Aberdeen, UK, and at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories in Berkeley, California. He has authored over 75 academic papers in computational geometry, sensing, RFID, automation and CAD, and is the recipient of numerous awards for teaching and research including the MacVicar Fellowship, the Business Week eBiz Award and Informationweek's Innovators and Influencers Award. He advises several national governments and global companies

Shekhar Kapur

Film Maker

Bio: Shekhar Kapur is an Indian film director, producer and storyteller. His directorial debut with cult Bollywood film Masoom won the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Movie of the year while Mr. India was declared one of the ‘100 Greatest Indian Films of All Time’ on the centenary of Indian cinema. He’s also made several documentaries and short films. Shekhar gained global recognition with the film Bandit Queen, a biopic of Indian bandit and politician Phoolan Devi, which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi and the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Movie and Best Direction for that year. Premiering in the Directors’ Fortnight section of the 1994 Cannes Film Festival, the film caused a furore, catapulting Kapur into international success. Kapur introduced Cate Blanchett to the world in his two historical biopics of Queen Elizabeth, which were nominated for 7 Academy Awards, including Best Film, and won 2; also winning 5 BAFTA Awards, including Best Film, between them. Kapur co-created the hit West-end show Bombay Dreams with Andrew Lloyd Webber and has been the recipient of the Indian National Film Award, the BAFTA Award, the National Board of Review Award, and three Filmfare Awards. In 2010, he served as one of the Jury Members (International Competition) at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival. He’s also been on the jury of the London Film Festival, the Tokyo Film Festival, acted as sponsor for the International Indian Film Festival in Goa and was head juror of the inaugural Macau International Film Festival in 2016. Aside from his professional work in film, Kapur is one of India’s foremost activists on environmental and water sustainability issues. He is also a digital media entrepreneur, founding ‘Qyuki,’ one of India’s most successful online platforms for young Indian creators. Kapur is now directing and producing a captivating series exploring the trials and tribulations, temptations and brilliance of the young genius, Will Shakespeare, for TNT. He remains ever inspired by the world around him.

Shraysi Tandon

Filmmaker and Journalist

Bio: Shraysi Tandon is a New York based documentary filmmaker and journalist. She started her career as a business reporter for the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) and at 25 became the youngest business reporter at Bloomberg Television, covering breaking financial and political news stories. Most recently, she was an anchor and business reporter for CCTV America. Over the course of her career, Tandon has covered global events such as the World Economic Forum in Davos and the annual World Bank and International Monetary Fund conferences in Washington D.C. She has also interviewed hundreds of people, including CEOs, Nobel laureates, heads of state and leaders such as Israeli President Shimon Peres, U.S. Vice President Al Gore, billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson and Academy Award winning actor Matt Damon. A passionate human rights advocate, she is on the advisory board of the American India Foundation. Tandon is currently in production on her directorial debut - a documentary focused on child labor and child trafficking. Born in New Delhi, India and raised in Indonesia, South Africa and Australia, she considers herself a global citizen who remains Indian at heart.

Sumant Sinha

Founder, Chairman and CEO of ReNew Power Ventures - a leading Indian

Bio: Sumant Sinha is the Founder Chairman and CEO of ReNew Power, one of India’s largest clean energy companies. In a matter of six years since the company was founded, ReNew Power has organically grown to own 3,000 MW of commissioned and under-construction clean energy assets -- for perspective, India’s cumulative energy capacity across all energy forms is 310,000 MW. To fund this growth, Mr. Sinha has raised close to $1 billion in equity and $ 2 billion in debt, making ReNew one of India’s most well capitalized companies. After graduating from Columbia SIPA in 1992, Mr. Sinha worked as an investment banker with Citi and ING Barings in the U.S. and the U.K; following which, in 2002, he moved to India to become Group Chief Financial Officer of India’s third-largest conglomerate, the Aditya Birla Group. In 2007, he became Founder CEO of Aditya Birla Retail and scaled the company to make it one of India’s largest retail businesses. Following this, he served as the Chief Operating Officer of India’s then largest wind energy company, Suzlon, until 2011. Mr. Sinha is a frequent public commentator and has written columns and delivered lectures on market reforms, economic policy, governance, and climate change. He is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology, Indian Institute of Management, and Columbia University.

Venkat Srinivasan

Vice-Chair of the Board of the American India Foundation [AIF]; CEO & Chairman RAGE Frameworks

Bio: Dr. Venkat Srinivasan brings his rich academic background in finance and technology along with his entrepreneurial successes to lead RAGE Frameworks as its Chairman and CEO. Venkat founded Rage Frameworks, Inc., to enable the creation of intelligent, live, automation systems based on artificial intelligence and knowledge-based technology. Venkat has also incubated several ventures in addition to Rage including EnglishHelper, Teranode and Corporate Fundamentals [sold to IPreo and eventually to KKR in 2011]. Between 1992 and 2000, Venkat was the founding CEO of, the leading provider of credit, financing and receivables management technology solutions for the enterprise. eCredit solutions were in use in many leading global corporations including Apple, Cargill, P&G, ChevronTexaco, Ryder, Bayer, GE, Weyerhaeuser, amongst others. In 2000, was sold to the Internet Capital Group. Among many firsts, Venkat innovated the real time digital financing model in its Global Financing Network which connected buyers and sellers of credit. Venkat is a uniquely experienced individual with expertise in multiple functional areas. Having started his professional career as a public accountant, he completed his doctoral work related to implications of knowledge-based technology for credit and working capital, and is an expert in knowledge-based systems architectures, computational linguistics and natural language processing. He has over 30 peer reviewed publications and 2 edited volumes to his credit. His research has appeared in a number of prestigious academic journals including the Journal of Finance, Management Science, Financial Management, Decision Support Systems, European Journal of Operations Research, and the Journal of International Business Studies as well as business and news publications such as The Wall Street Journal. Venkat holds several patents related to flexible technology architectures. He is the author of a forthcoming book titled, The Intelligent Enterprise in the Era of BigData, to be published by Wiley. Prior to founding in 1993, Venkat served as an Associate Professor of Finance at Northeastern University’s Graduate School of Business in Boston, MA. Venkat holds a Ph.D. in Finance from the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, and is a Certified Chartered Accountant [equivalent to a CPA] in India. Venkat and his wife, Pratima, are active in the community. He is a Vice-Chair of the Board of the American India Foundation [AIF] dedicated to catalyzing social and economic change in India. Venkat is also a Trustee of BUILD, a non-profit organization focusing on entrepreneurship to excite and propel disengaged, low-income students through high school to college success in the U.S. He is a member of the Boston Harbor Island Alliance’s Advisory Board.

Vish Mishra

Venture Capitalist, Seasoned Entrepreneur, Director & Charter Member - TiE

Bio: Vish is a well-known veteran of Silicon Valley with a strong network and solid relations with entrepreneurs, executives and venture capitalists. Vish brings over 35 years of progressive business experience in the technology industry, as an Entrepreneur, CEO and Venture Capitalist. Vish's background includes: • Venture Capitalist for 15 years at Clearstone Venture Partners with $660M in committed capital with offices in Palo Alto, Santa Monica and Mumbai with investments in over 100 technology companies and multi-billion exits through IPO’s and M&A’s. such as PayPal, (US) BillDesk ( India). • Founding VP of Operations at Excelan, a pioneering venture-backed networking company that merged into Novell post IPO, generating over $1B in revenues. • Co-founder and board member of Telera, a cloud software company funded by Accel and Sequoa, merged into Actatel. • Investor and board member of CloudVolumes, acquired by VMware. • Investor/Advisor in InMage acquired by Microsoft, CRISI Medical Systems acquired by Beckton-Dickinson, and Cognilytics acquired by CenturyLink Communications. • Board of Advisors at The Vijay Amritraj Foundation. • Active in TiE, the world’s largest professional entrepreneurship society, from inception and President of TiE Silicon Valley, Global Trustee • Director at India Community Center. Vish is a frequent speaker at industry and academic gatherings on entrepreneurship, business-building and global investing. He is featured in numerous periodicals, articles, books and newspapers. Voted as the top 10- Influencer of Silicon Valley by San Jose Mercury News and 51 most influential global Indian Men by Times of India. Vish earned his BSEE from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology and MSEE from North Dakota State University in USA.

Karl Mehta

Presidential Innovation Fellow, White House

Ravi Shankar Prasad

Union Minister of Information Technology and Law and Justice, Honorable Minister, Govt. of India


Professor, MIT

Anurag Kashyap

Film Maker

Gita Rao

Senior Lecturer in Finance at the MIT Sloan School of Management; Founder and President of Aspari Capital

Montek Singh Ahluwalia

Renowned Indian Economist and Former, Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission

Santosh Mathew

Former Joint Secretary of Ministry of Rural Development and current chairperson, National Council for Teacher Education of Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India

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