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Last Updated : Nov 29, 2018 03:09 PM IST | Source:

Silicon Valley investor Asha Motwani keen to invest in big data, AI startups in India 

Venture capitalist hopes to bring Google co-founder Sergey Brin to India and co-invest with her.

Priyanka Sahay @priyankasahay

Priyanka Sahay 

Moneycontrol News 

After having invested in the US-based companies Silicon Valley venture capitalist Asha Jadeja Motwani is heading back to her roots and plans to invest in Indian entrepreneurs in order to catch up on the on going euphoria.

The plan is to put on table $5 million and request the Indian government to match the amount which can then be invested across startups in the area of big data and artificial intelligence.


"I have just made a proposal to the government. They have so much money right now that they must start matching funds with private people like me," Motwani told Moneycontrol on the sidelines of TIE Global entrepreneurship Summit.

Motwani who is the wife of late Standford Professor Rajeev Motwani, an angel investor who mentored Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the co-founders of Google Inc in 1998, at Stanford University also said that she would try to get Brin come to India and co-invest with her.

"I am going to get him (Sergey Brin) here at least in the next one year or so. He has to be here because this is where the explosion of new technologies is happening and where Google and Stanford can help," she said.

She did not share the number of startups she would be investing in but said it will depend on the stage at which the investment happens.

She plans to count on the existing entrepreneurs in the ecosystem and would be keen to invest in the second or third startups founded by them and also to get in touch with the right entrepreneurs.

"They have gone through the pain of building a startup. They know exactly how to spot the the right people. They know how to create a founding team. That is the model we take in the Bay Area. In fact most of the investments that I have in Palo Alto are happening in repeat entrepreneurs," she said.

Motwani is also setting up a think tank in India along with a few Stanford faculties to promote artificial intelligence. Under the first project they will ensure that the Indian faculty get to spend an year in Stanford and understand the global ecosystem.

It will be called Motwani Institute of Thought Leadership in Innovation (MITLI) and will enable curated annual exchange between scholars at Stanford University in computer science, political science, material science, international security, and education, and their counterparts in South Asia.

She will also recruit MITLI India (regional) board, potentially teaming up with Indian universities, NGOs, think tanks, and government.

“MITLI will be designed to more systematically address the challenges of startups through our unique entrepreneurship empowerment programmes," she said.

Born and raised in India, Motwani went to America as a graduate student in the 1980s. She did her doctoral studies in urban planning, civil engineering and political science from University of California, Berkeley and Stanford. She now lives in Palo Alto, California.

She was the founder of Dot Edu Ventures along with her late husband. Later, she launched the annual Rajeev Circle Fellowship, with the objective of developing a corridor of entrepreneurship, collaboration and community between Silicon Valley and South Asia.

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First Published on Nov 29, 2018 03:09 pm
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