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Board of Directors

Venture Center is governed by a Board of Directors, whose members include:

Director, NCL Pune

Dr. Ashish Lele
(Chairman - Venture Center)
(Director CSIR-NCL)

Dr. Ashish Lele holds a B. Chem. Engg. from the University of Bombay, Department of Chemical Technology and a Ph.D. from the University of Delaware, USA. He has also been a Research Associate, University of Cambridge, UK. He brings with him considerable experience in technology development and commercialization. His current Research, Innovation and Technology Interests are in advanced materials for alternative energy systems, particularly for hydrogen ecosystem, advanced materials for new manufacturing paradigms, sustainability and circular economy and structure-processing-property-performance relations in advanced materials.

Dr. Ashish Lele is the Director, CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory. He was previously, Senior VP and Head-Advanced Materials and Alternative Energy Group, Reliance Industries Ltd. He has led efforts for developing PEM fuel cell technology in a consortium of three CSIR laboratories and three Indian industries, set up research group on rheology of complex fluids, polymer dynamics and polymer processing; lead many industrial sponsored research projects at NCL; drove product development activities; participated in CSIR’s mission-mode programs.


Shri. H K Mittal
(Head - SERC Cell, DST)

Mr HK Mittal currently heads the Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) Cell of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.
Shri Mittal has over two decades of experience in technology based entrepreneurship development; skill development; trainers training and faculty development; establishment of entrepreneurship development institutions like institutes of entrepreneurship development at the state level, Technology Business Incubators, Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Parks, Entrepreneurship Development Cells in the educational institutions; development of micro-enterprises; working for income generation activities for underprivileged sections like: women, scheduled castes/tribes, physically challenged etc.
Mr Mittal is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management , Ahmedabad. He has previously worked with the Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India - Ahmedabad and also served with UNIDO.

Advisor, ICICI Bank

Shri. Anand T Kusre
(Professor, IITB)

Mr Anand Kusre has over 30 year's experience in commercial and development banking. He has been responsible for formulation and implementation of national and international programmes aimed at development and commercialisation of new technologies. He has been associated with more than 250 companies and technology institutions engaged in development of innovative products and processes including large number of first generation entrepreneurs. Currently, Mr Kusre is Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. In addition, Mr Kusre is Chairman, MITCON Consultancy Company Limited. Mr Kusre is actively engaged in the fields of Innovation and Entrepreneurship being Member, Governing Board, Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India and Member, High-Powered Committee, New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative.

Director Impact Lab at PATH

Dr. Satya Dash
(Ex - Director Impact Lab - PATH)

Dr Dash is Ex - Director Impact Lab at PATH India with the mandate to propel innovations in public health emerging from India to the next level. Formerly as Head Strategy Partnerships & Entrepreneurship Development at BIRAC (the nodal Indian biotech innovation agency) & as the 'Co-ordinator' of Make in India Cell in BIRAC- his portfolio included overall strategy formulation & implementation for BIRAC, early stage funding, biotech incubators, and business development & communication. He is also a Consultant (pro-bono) to KBITS, GoK advising on Biotech Policy 3.0. Previously he was a Senior Consultant at IIM Bangalore & COO of nodal biotech industry association- ABLE.

While at BIRAC, he designed and implemented more than half a dozen national programs such as Biotech Ignition Grant-BIG (India's largest early stage biotech startup funding program), SPARSH (social innovation program), BioNEST (incubator program), University Innovation Cluster (UIC),SoCH, SEED Equity & AcE equity funding. He led the establishment of BIRAC Regional Innovation Centre (BRIC) at IKP Hyderabad & BIRAC Regional Entrepreneurship Centre (BREC) at C-CAMP. In 2017, he was part of the GoI's Industrial Policy (Technology & Innovation vertical) deliberations.

He holds triple masters from University of Leicester (UK), Cambridge (UK) and Sambalpur (India) and a PhD from University of East Anglia, UK. His interests are in S&T policy design, implementation and outcomes, business of science, early stage funding, entrepreneurship, and catalysing for positive serendipity across innovation communities.

Experienced entrepreneur, investor and startup mentor

Mr.Srikant Sastri
(Experienced Entrepreneur, Investor and Startup Mentor)

Srikant Sastri is an experienced entrepreneur (who has built startups and exited from them successfully), an angel investor (a member of IAN), a champion for innovation and entrepreneurship in India (as a Charter member of TiE-NCR, creator of YouTube channel Chalo Startup, active mentor and board committee member for IIM Calcutta Innovation Park, FIRST at IIT Kanpur, Venture Center, Pune and committees for BIRAC and NSTEDB) and a startup mentor (mentoring several startups in India and serving on Boards). He is an alumnus of IIT Kanpur and IIM Calcutta. He is also a Certified Independent Director. He is currently Co-Founder, Crayon data.

Experienced entrepreneur, investor and startup mentor

Dr. Vilas Sinkar
(Ex-Vice President R & D Unilever )

Dr Vilas Sinkar retired as Vice President, Unilever Strategic Science and Head of Unilever R&D Bangalore. While working as Vice President at Unilever R&D and earlier positions at Unilever set up several successful scientific collaborations with leading academic groups in India and abroad.

Dr Sinkar is currently working with Academia and various National Science Organizations in developing roadmap for science and applications of science.

He also has been on Research Advisory Councils of some National Labs and Non-Profit Organizations. He completed his B.Sc. & M.Sc. from University of Bombay and MS & Ph.D. from University of Rochester, USA. He did his post doctoral research from Department of Biochemistry at University of Washington, USA.

Experienced entrepreneur, investor and startup mentor

Mr. Sanjay Kanvinde
(Angel Investor and Advisor, Lavni Ventures )

Sanjay Kanvinde has 23 years’ experience in the Energy Industry.

Over different international assignments he has worked in the functional areas of Research & Development, Knowledge Management, Corporate IT Management, and Business Development.

Sanjay is currently based in Pune and working as an investor and mentor. He is actively involved in several charities and social organizations.

Founding Director, Venture Center

Dr. V Premnath
(Founding Director & Secretary)

Dr. V. Premnath holds a B.Tech. from the Indian Institute of Technology - Bombay and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA. He has also been a Chevening Technology Enterprise Fellow with the Centre for Scientific Enterprises, London Business School and Cambridge University, UK. He brings with him considerable experience in technology development and commercialization (two successfully commercialized families of products), working with start-up companies (in Cambridge-UK and India) and engaging with large corporations on research and consulting projects as project leader.

Permanent Board Invitee

Experienced entrepreneur, investor and startup mentor

Dr. Rajan Srikanth
(Co-President, Keiretsu Forum Chennai; Chairman and MD, SmartKapital )

Rajan Srikanth brings over 20 years of experience in management consulting. A recognized thought leader in strategy, leadership and human capital, he has published and been quoted in the business media.

Prior to founding SmartKapital, Srikanth served as a Worldwide Partner and President of Mercer Consulting's Asia operations before assuming a broader role across Asia Pacific as the Managing Director of Mercer's Human Capital consulting business. He has held senior partner-level positions at Accenture and at Mercer Delta Consulting after strategy consulting stints at Bain & Company and KPMG. Srikanth was also an Assistant Professor at the Walter A. Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley.

Srikanth has been actively investing in and mentoring startups for the last 10 years, and is currently involved with a US-based healthcare compliance startup, and an India-based predictive analytics startup. Srikanth leads the Golden Jubilee Alumni Fund activities of IIT Madras. He is a Founding Member of the United Way India board, and also serves on the board of United Way, Chennai. Srikanth holds a PhD from the Stern School of Business, New York University and a Bachelors degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India