It is the dream of many Indians to study, work and settle abroad. All of us would have that uncle or aunt who’d be living in the U.S., U.K., or Canada. This yearning to taste and live life in a Western country is not from the bygone era. According to recent information from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), more than six lakh Indians renounced their citizenship in the past five years. In 2021, till September 30 around 1,11,287 Indians have given up their citizenship. In the past two decades, there has been a continuous outflow of Indians, except during the 2008 financial crisis and in 2020-21 due to Covid-19-related travel bans. While brain drain has been a phenomenon plaguing India and other emerging economies for ages there are a select few who find India closer to their heart than anything else. They relocate to India from top-notch universities and blue chip corporates and the most important factor in the return of such skilled technologists is the huge opportunity that India has to offer for entrepreneurs. Apart from the market opportunity, there is also the strong lure of family and a well-developed informal support system that can help new entrepreneurs build a company.
Mentioned below are the top 5 highly skilled professionals building ventures, who have flourished exceptionally since their return to India:
Upasana Taku – MobiKwik
Upasana Rupkrishan Taku is the chairperson of the MobiKwik Board and the Executive Director, Co-Founder, and COO of the Mobikwik Group. She was featured amongst the top 15 richest self-made women in India in the Kotak Wealth Hurun – Leading Wealthy Women List 2020 and 2021.
In 2018, she was felicitated by the President of India as the First woman to lead a Payments Startup. In 2019, she was featured in the top 25 accomplished women shaping Asia’s business landscape in Forbes Asia’s Power Businesswomen list.
She co-founded MobiKwik with a vision to transform the digital financial services and payments landscape in India. She believes that the India Fintech opportunity will be at least 1TN$ by 2025 and that MobiKwik will be a significant part of it.
She has always been passionate about creating an impact at the grassroots level, which brought her back to India from the US in 2008. Her hard work and desire to serve the community have made her an inspirational figure who has been recognized many times as one of India’s leading Tech founders.
She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Punjab Technical University and a Master’s degree in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University. She has 18+ years of experience in product, payments, and financial services. Prior to her entrepreneurial journey, she worked as a Product Manager at PayPal, San Jose, in the Financial Services, Global Payments, and Risk divisions. She also had a stint with HSBC, San Diego, working in the Product team of their auto finance division.
Peeyush Misra – Protium
Peeyush Misra is a partner and director at Protium, a market leader in India’s fast-growing fintech space that empowers millions of credit-seekers through the power of cutting-edge technology and smarter risk assessment.
Prior to Protium, Peeyush was a Partner at Goldman Sachs, where he successfully managed businesses like US Interest Rates and Securitized/Mortgage products, and with his diligent expertise of over two decades of risk management experience across global markets. He is a precious asset to Protium. At Protium, he impeccably handles Credit, Risk, and Strategy, introducing innovative lending features to assist business finance for MSMEs, educational institute finances, consumer finance, etc.
He is on a mission to further existing customers amounting approximately to 5 million customers across more than 15,000 pin codes., which accentuates Protium’s sturdy presence in the financial market. He is a dedicated board member of the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation, New York, as well as the Misra Centre for Financial Markets and Economy at IIM Ahmedabad.
Vani Kola – Kalaari Capital
Vani Kola is an Indian venture capitalist. She is the founder and managing director of Kalaari Capital, an Indian early-stage venture capital firm. She was listed as one of the most powerful women in Indian business by Fortune India in 2014.
She attended Osmania University in Hyderabad, where she studied electrical engineering. She earned her Bachelor of Engineering before leaving India in the late 1980s to pursue her Master of Engineering from Arizona State University in the United States.
Vani had a 22-year career in Silicon Valley. She returned to India in 2006, after her successful career as an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, to start a venture capital firm in India, drawn to the growing Indian opportunity. She and Vinod Dham founded Indo-US Venture Partners (IUVP) in 2006. A partnership with New Enterprise Associates (NEA), it was her initial undertaking to venture capital in India. In 2012, it was rebranded as Kalaari Capital.
Vani is the managing director of Kalaari Capital. She is a technology-focused early-stage investor and works with entrepreneurs to build global companies, leveraging India’s domestic growth to create high-growth enterprises. She has led investments in e-commerce, mobile services, education, and healthcare. Some of her notable venture capital endeavors include Dream11, Urban Ladder, Snapdeal, and Myntra.
Anupam Mittal – People Group, Shaadi.com
Anupam Mittal is an Indian entrepreneur, angel investor, former actor, and business executive. Mittal is best known as the founder of the matrimonial website Shaadi.com, and real-estate platform Makaan.com.
He decided to move to the United States in 1994 to complete his MBA in Operating and Strategic Management from Boston College, United States. He started his career as a product manager at MicroStrategy in 1998. He remained with the company for four years.
Anupam is one of India’s early techpreneurs in India who founded internet companies even before the internet bubble. Under his parent company People Group, he has also produced movies namely, Flavors and 99.
Anupam is noted as a popular entrepreneur of Shark Tank India and has openly expressed his ambition to help young Indian entrepreneurs.
Naveen Tewari – InMobi
Naveen Tewari is an Indian entrepreneur who is the founder and CEO of technology companies – InMobi and Glance. His philosophy of constant innovation and disruption is embedded deep into the DNA of InMobians and resonates across InMobi. His dream is to re-imagine advertising in a truly ‘user-first’ way and unlock the true potential of the mobile ecosystem. He completed his Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT) in 2000.
His professional journey began with McKinsey and Company as a business analyst from 2000 to 2003 followed by a stint in 2004, at Charles River Ventures as an Associate. From 2003-2005, he studied at Harvard Business School for a master’s degree in Business Administration, where he was awarded the Dean’s Award, for exceptional leadership and contribution.
While at HBS, he also founded a U.S.-based nonprofit called India Schoolhouse Fund which funds and sets up schools in rural India. Recently in 2015, Naveen Tewari along with IDG Ventures invested $1.2M in NestAway, which is considered India’s largest home rental network.