Born in the financial capital of India, I was bred amongst the ambitious hustlers of Mumbai. I realized early in my life that my worst punishment would be to remain idle for longer than 12hrs. This meant hacking on a lot of projects as an effort to fix things. Technology found me, when my father brought home a Compaq PC in the mid-90s. I built my first piece of production software at the age of 14 while visiting my brother in New York. I called it Limelight, a scraper for buyer-side marketplaces which I licensed to brick & mortar wholesalers as a lead gen tool. Easy hack for some extra cash.
My parents were supportive of my irrational need to work on ’stuff’ while my friends played PlayStation. At 16, I generated $1M in sales during my summer internship at L Nagpal Developers. My degree in finance was the promise I made to my mom in lieu of her permission to let me work at IGSL, a company that I represented during their IPO which oversubscribed 4.5 times. At 18, I co-founded ION Education, a technology company in the education space. Over the course of three years, we conducted vocational training for 10,000 students in 25 universities. We then put together a team of 32 crazies working 15-hour days to build India’s first consolidated student RFID card. Systematic student management & real time analytics for higher education in India was our brain-child. Two years in, we collected 500,000 unique attendance records every day and saved each college an average of $20,000/year by cutting down over heads.
With an invitation from my mentor, Amit Singhal from Google, I decided to visit San Francisco in March 2012, at the age of 21. The city introduced me to some of the smartest people I know today and stimulated my understanding of reality. This led me on to start the Megalomaniac Movement in 2012. The MMM is my effort to showcase the power of self-belief and cultivated craziness. It continues to remain a side project, taking me around the world to deliver thought-provoking talks on my understanding of megalomania & reality distortion. My return ticket from SFO was extended when I started working on OneShop, an adaptive algorithm that adds an online-store to any website within 60 seconds without seeing/touching code.
In 2014, I moved to London after winning the SIRIUS program run by the UK government. This helped me connect with a wide network of influencers and exposed me to the technology ecosystem in Europe. I had the opportunity to witness the nuances of startup culture across 3 continents.
2015 would bring me back home to India, the country which made me an entrepreneur. Working with some of the fastest growing startups in the ecosystem, I had the opportunity to pioneer conversational commerce with Haptik - Everyone's Personal Assistant. The journey from 10k to 1M+ conversations/month coming from 1M+ users gave me a deeper insight of the expectations Indian consumers have from their everyday assistant. Aakrit (CEO) and I worked closely to close our Series B round of $12M from Times Internet which helps the company invest further into machine learning, product development and growth.
In 2016 an epiphany helped me realize that my reason to exist is not to inflate human consumption but to make it efficient and sustainable. With this in mind, I've invested myself towards a problem that fundamentally impacts human existence and progress - Energy. An introduction to how this journey began was covered in my blogpost here. ION Energy Inc is an energy storage and infrastructure company building high performance systems that enable electric mobility and support the uptake of clean energy.
2017 brought into ION a plethora of investors including the founders of Nippo Batteries, OMC Power, Haptik, ScaleArc, Goqii and Sattva Capital. We have since scaled the team to 15 people spread across our offices in Mumbai & Grenoble, France.
My core expertise is the ability to build, manage and fuel the ambition of frighteningly smart teams towards a mission. There are other sides to me which include:
I don’t like resumes, but I love stories. I think structured pieces of documents, while nifty to browse through, are actually lifeless when looking for talent. Its difficult to showcase the passion behind one's work without giving it context.
I'm also a huge fan of Blue Bottle Iced Lattes.
The Battery Show - North America (Detroit, MI) - Here (No Video)
Million Install Meetup - Here (No Video)
MobileBeat 2016 (San Francisco, CA) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_xbKVyyUUk
LifeHacking @ Yellow Talks - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDgWiv1GCvU
Babson Alumni Meetup - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26-9fup6cSU
Aspenia 2015 @ Assolombarda (Milan, Italy) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHmMmQPZLI4
Megalomania at Pangea 2015 (Madrid, Spain)
ChatBots & the future of Apps in India - Akhil Aryan (Medium)
The 6 big takeaways from MobileBeat (#2) - John Brandon
Let's Brief - Jessica Bishop
Aspenia Media - Aspen Institute
DNA India - Kanchan Srivastava
Interview with YourStory for Ion Education - Jubin Mehta