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Fueling entrepreneurship to create employment

About Wadhwani Foundation

Wadhwani Foundation is a not-for-profit with the primary mission of accelerating economic development by driving job creation through large-scale initiatives in entrepreneurship, small business growth, innovation, and skilling. Founded in 2000 by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Dr. Romesh Wadhwani, today, the Foundation is scaling impact in multiple countries across Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the US.

Founder and Chairman

Romesh Wadhwani

Inspires, educates, and enables startup entrepreneurs.

  • 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
  • Founder and Chairman of Wadhwani Foundation (2003)
  • Founding Chairman of enterprise AI software firm Symphony AI (2017)
  • Founding Chairman of AI life sciences firm ConcertAI (2017)
  • Founding Chairman of SAIGroup investment firm (2021)
  • Member of the Gates Buffet Giving Pledge
  • Padma Shri 2020 awardee
  • 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.

Leadership Team

President and CEO
Wadhwani Foundation
Chief Operating Officer,
India/SE Asia
Executive Vice President,
Latin America
Executive Vice President,
Wadhwani Entrepreneur
EVP, Wadhwani Foundation and
Co-founder, NEN

Ajay Kela

President and CEO
Wadhwani Foundation

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
Sanjay Shah

Sanjay Shah

Chief Operating Officer, India/SE Asia

Based out of Bangalore, Sanjay heads the India/SEA operations of the Wadhwani Foundation.

  • Over three decades of experience in founding and steering software product companies to the global market
  • Founded Zapty, Instavans Logistics, Skelta, Everest Software and Accel Computers, some of which were successfully acquired
  • Last stint was with iManage as its Managing Director for Asia responsible for business development of its solutions in Asia
  • On the board of Sasken Technologies and Instavans Logistics as an Independent Director, and on the advisory board of Avo Automation
  • Member of iSpirt (Indian Software Product Industry Round Table), Young President’s Organization, and currently on the board of the Bangalore chapter
  • M.S. in Computer Science from Virginia Tech and a B.Tech in Aeronautical Engineering from IIT, Bombay

Javier Campos

Executive Vice President, Latin America

Based in Mexico City, Javier heads the Foundation’s Latin American Operations.

  • Expanded Schneider Electric CST and Stanley Security operations in Europe, Middle East, and Latin America
  • Multi-million dollar product development of Solid State and Automation Components for Schneider Electric
  • Founder & co-founder of ventures on mobility, health, and energy across markets in Latin America
  • Specialist in global expansion of multi-cultural teams with a focus on talent management across emerging markets
  • Expanded Wadhwani Initiatives to 5-countries in two years
  • Bachelor of Electronic Engineering from Universidad Iberoamericana & Marketing Specialization from ITAM in Mexico

Rajeev Warrier

Executive Vice President, Wadhwani Entrepreneur

Rajeev is working towards enabling a vibrant Wadhwani Foundation Ecosystem Platform which will connect WF beneficiaries (across the WA, WE and WO Initiatives) to peers, mentors, experts, service providers, customers, and others.

  • A software professional with engineering, business development and management experience in India, Australia, Canada and US
  • Has varied experience in general management, entrepreneurship, information technology, software development, consulting, and planning of technology for enterprise & e-commerce companies
  • BE in Mechanical Engineering from NIT Bhopal and Post Graduate Diploma in Software Enterprise Management from IIM Bangalore

Sunita Singh

EVP, Wadhwani Foundation and Co-founder, NEN

Sunita drives the Foundation’s global expansion.

  • Co-founded, modeled and led the Foundation’s entrepreneurship education program covering over 500 higher education institutes for over a decade
  • Led and executed the expansion of ‘Wadhwani Entrepreneur College’ and ‘Wadhwani SkillUp’ initiatives across 20-countries and 4-continents in 5-years
  • 25-years of experience with 15-years in leading operations and new market expansions in Asia and Africa
  • Led and executed strategic and creative PR campaigns for several multinational clients including Atos Origin, Lego, Mahindra Intertrade, Baskin Robbins, Netmagic, Mastek, Onward Technologies, TiE for over 3-years at Litmus PR, Mumbai
  • M.A. from Andhra University and MPhil from Sukhadia University

If you have a validated idea, then you can apply to the NEN IGNITE program

Are you looking to fine-tune strategy, organization & performance to get seed capital? You can apply to the WE Liftoff program.

If you have a well-developed MVP, a small team and demonstrated customer traction, then check-out your full eligibility for the WE VFT program here.

rocket ship

If you have a validated idea, then you can apply to the NEN IGNITE program

investment

Are you looking to fine-tune strategy, organization & performance to get seed capital? You can apply to the WE Liftoff program.

Here is what we mean by a Validated Idea:

  • You have identified a ‘customer type’ that you are dealing with.
  • You have identified a problem that is critical for the that customer type
  • You have validated this problem with a ‘sizable’ set of customers so you know that it is a ‘real problem’
  • Your research and customer discussions shows that There is a large enough number of customers that are looking for a solution to this particular problem, and the venture can be financially viable and feasible
  • There are no apparent existing solutions or good enough solutions that are serving your customer type at this time for the problem
  • May have started working on a website/facebook/Instagram page to get customer reactions
  • May have worked on a prototype solution already
  • May have early traction with some customers