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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.

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Romesh Wadhwani

  • 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

EVP,
Wadhwani Advantage

WA Leadership Team

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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
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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
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Samir Sathe

EVP, Wadhwani Advantage

Samir leads the Wadhwani Advantage program in India, Egypt and provides global mentorship, focused on empowering small businesses with management capabilities and accelerating small business revenue and job growth. Since 2019, the program has helped ~600 SMEs impacting over 5,000 employees in India with Net Promoter Score of 73. In addition, he leads the effort of Academy in building over 50+ ‘Do-it-Yourself’ consulting tools. He also leads Talent Acquisition function at the Foundation.

  • Samir has 29 years of experience in India, Asia, Middle East, Hong Kong, Singapore, UK, and US in doing change management.
  • He is a ‘Master in Change’ from INSEAD, France, trained in studying psychodynamic principles that drive the decisions of the entrepreneurs, owners, leaders.
  • Samir has attended ‘Leading Professional Service Firms’ at Harvard Business School and ‘Challenges of Global Poverty’ at MIT.
  • Samir is an author of over 30+ articles in reputed Indian and International publications; he is a speaker at several recognised fora and platforms. Samir is a disruptive thought leader and practitioner of management science, to bring about systemic change in entrepreneurial leadership.
  • Samir is a recipient of 2 awards, ‘Brand Impact Award’ by Indian Achievers’ Forum and ‘Public Service Award’ by National Achiever’s Recognition Forum for contribution to society, in solving large scale society problems.
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