Executive Roundtable on The Next Leap of Growth in the Indian Economy with Manoj Kohli
(Groundbreaker and Innovator Member Event)
On Tuesday, February 23, 2021 Asia Society Northern California hosted an Executive Roundtable with Country Head of Softbank India and Asia Society-Victoria Distinguished Fellow Manoj Kohli on The Next Leap of Growth in the Indian Economy with colleagues from our Australia Center and India Center. Some of the topics addressed included technological and AI growth, industry shifts needed to create a more robust digital India, infrastructure challenges and obstacles heading economic growth, as well as leveraging opportunities for investment. The conversation was moderated by Naren Gupta, Asia Society Northern California Board Member and Co-Founder and Managing Director of Nexus Venture Partners.
Manoj Kohli is one of India’s most respected business leaders with an extensive global experience. Over four decades he has held top leadership positions across a wide range of industries, including engineering and mobile internet, in India, Asia, Africa, the U.S. and Europe.
Mr. Kohli is currently responsible for SoftBank Group International in India, supporting over 20 portfolio companies to address public policies issues and government approvals to enable them to achieve their full business potential. Japan’s second largest publicly traded company, SoftBank Group is a multi-billion-dollar conglomerate with global interests. It runs the $100 billion Vision Fund, the world’s largest technology-based venture capital fund. This follows his role as Executive Chairman of SB Energy, a pioneer in India’s renewable energy industry.
Previously as CEO of Bharti Airtel, Mr. Kohli helped build it into the third-largest mobile company in the world with over 400 million customers.
Naren Gupta (Moderator)
Naren Gupta co-founded Nexus Venture Partners in 2006 to fund early and early-growth stage companies in India and the U.S. that serve consumer, business and enterprise needs using innovative technology. Nexus partner companies cover a broad range of technologies including Data Science, DevOps, automation, security and collaboration. In addition to software and enterprise technology, Nexus companies address opportunities in Logistics, Education, Healthcare and Financial Services. Prior to launching Nexus, Naren cofounded Integrated Systems Inc. (ISI), a leading embedded software company in 1980 and took it public in 1990. At various times, Naren served as ISI President/CEO and Chairman till 2000. He subsequently served as Vice-Chairman and CEO of Wind River Systems.
Naren is currently a trustee of the California Institute of Technology and was the Chairman of the Board of Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) till its merger with IBM in 2019. He has served on numerous public and private company boards and has been an active advisor to entrepreneurs, technology companies and corporate leaders worldwide. Naren holds a B. Tech. from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) where he received the President’s Gold Medal, an MS from the California Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. from Stanford University, all in engineering. He has been named distinguished alum by IIT and Caltech and has received numerous other awards.