Rural BPO Desicrew lands Series A funding

[Editor’s Note: I finally caught up with Rajiv Kuchhal in person yesterday. Rajiv is an angel investor and mentor at DesiCrew, a role he took up after successful senior leadership stints at Infosys BPO and OnMobile. As we talked about the BPO market in general and early trends in rural BPOs, he casually mentioned that …

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Creating a killer user experience for the MFI field agents

[Editor’s Note: Earlier this week, I spent a few hours chatting with Sameer Segal at his cozy rooftop office digs in HSR Layout. Sameer is the Founder & CEO of one-year old Artoo, a startup with a vision of a “Paperless Microfinance” world with reduced delays and dramatically reduced expenses via its flagship Android application …

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A miracle called Kathewadi

Last month I had an interesting chat with a former SF Bay Area venture capitalist (Mahesh) who relocated to Hyderabad 3 years ago. He splits his time between advisory services for social enterprises and volunteering/teaching with Art of Living. He shared a remarkable story about Kathewadi – a small village in Nanded district of Maharashtra. …

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Boiling the social enterprise ocean

[Editor’s Note: Alternate title for this post: What this blog is about (Version 2.0).] Two months into my new gig, my view into the world of social enterprises is getting a little crisper. While it’s still a vast ocean, my method to navigate the waters has become more deterministic. There’s no danger of boiling the …

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Top 15 Social Enterprise Aphorisms

My first reaction on seeing this (Top 100 Social Enterprise Truths) post from Pop-Up Social Enterprise Think Tank’s: What! Are there so many? My second reaction, halfway through my perusal: No way are people going to go through the entire list! And my third/last reaction after I reviewed the entire list: Hmm… Interesting! Several resonated, …

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Rurbanization in Gujarat – early signs of success

In the run-up to the highly successful Vibrant Gujarat Summit in Jan 2011, Gujarat’s Chief Minister (Narendra Modi) participated in a panel discussion on the topic, Rurbanization – Changing Face of Modern India. Other panelists included entrepreneurs in the healthcare sector, bureaucrats, and journalists. I was unable to find a working video url for the …

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Thoughts on philanthropy disruption

Two panel discussions at Sankalp Forum 2011, both on impact investing, provided food for thought. One of them focused on  missing impact investors in the Indian social entrepreneurship ecosystem. The other panel (with VCs from Acumen Fund, Omidyar Ventures, and Gray Ghost Ventures), focused on the future of impact investing in India. If one were …

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Anand Kumar’s Super 30 Journey

  Well organized conferences usually feature popular speakers towards the start and end of the day. The penultimate session at Sankalp Forum Day#1 featured a talk by Anand Kumar (of Super 30 fame) — and what a talk it turned out to be. It helped that the audience had a high awareness of Super 30 …

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Selected Shorts from Sankalp Forum 2011 (Day 2)

[Editor’s Note: The title of this post is a tribute to the popular NPR/PRI radio program Selected Shorts. This post is a sampling of of tweets that I found interesting on day#2. The list could have been longer but it’s been 4-5 days and Twitter limits the tweets in its searches.] Pankaj Khandelwal, Chairman & …

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