Professor Anil K. Gupta at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business will join Ratan Tata plus leaders from Google, Airbnb and NextEV in mentoring India tech startups through KStart, an initiative of Bangalore-based VC firm Kalaari Capital.
The move follows the Jan. 16 unveiling of the government’s “Start Up India Stand Up India” initiative. Kalaari aims to incubate 20 companies by the end of 2016.
Bloomberg TV India reports on Kstart as “a unique seed program designed to empower next generation startups and accelerate disruptive ideas to become market-leading companies.”
Gupta, the Smith School’s Michael D. Dingman Chair in Strategy and Entrepreneurship, will guide the development of the project’s “Kstart Institute curriculum.” This is in addition to serving as a “catalyst” along with other such mentors as Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons; Varsha Rao, Head of Global Operations, Airbnb; Padmasree Warrior, CEO of NextEV USA; and Rajan Anandan, vice president and managing director of Google Southeast Asia and India.
Bala Srinivasa, a partner at Kalaari, says Kstart, with its mentor network, can give seed companies “tremendous acceleration in their growth curve by helping them leverage technologies and capabilities that they wouldn't find normally.”
Gupta is on the Thinkers50 list of the world’s foremost business thinkers, while Thinkers50 India has listed him as among the best of management thinkers across India and the Indian diaspora. In 2010, Economist magazine identified Gupta as one of the world’s “rising superstars” in the area of innovation in emerging economies.