Mentors & Advisors

Prof Ashok Jhunjunwala

Former Principal Advisor, MNRE Professor, Dept of EE IIT Madras

Dr Ashok Jhunjhunwala is Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras at Chennai, India. After his B.Tech from IITK, he got his MS and PhD from the University of Maine. From 1979 to 1981, he was with Washington State University as faculty. Since 1981, he has been teaching at IIT, Madras.

Read More....

Raghuttama Rao

CEO, Gopalakrishnan-Deshpande Center for Innovation, IIT Madras

Mr. Raghuttama Rao brings more than 20 years of management consulting and financial advisory experience serving corporate, infrastructure, multilateral, and banking clients across a wide variety of engagements. He worked as Chairman, IMaCS Virtus Global Partners Inc. after serving as Director of ICRA Management Consulting Services (IMaCS).

Read More....

Dr Rajan Srikanth

– Keiretsu Forum

Mr Rajan Srikanth is the Singapore/Chennai Co-President of Keiretsu Forum and works between Silicon Valley, Singapore and Chennai. Rajan 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.

Read More....

Sarath Naru

Founder & Managing Partner - Ventureast

Sarath is the Founder and Managing Partner of Ventureast, one of India’s longest-standing venture capital institutions investing in pioneering sectors since the mid-90s. Ventureast manages over $300 million having made close to 100 investments. In the past, Sarath worked at Procter & Gamble USA, and worked in British American Tobacco subsidiary (VST Industries, Hyderabad). As an entrepreneur, he has built a trading business between India and the USA, covering engineering & fashion goods, and printing related services.

Read More....

U.S. Mentors

Dr Lalit Chordia

Founder – Thar Technologies Inc.

Dr. Lalit Chordia, Ph.D., founded Thar Technologies, Inc. in 1990 and serves as its President. Dr. Chordia co-founded Suprex Corp. in 1981. He also founded Thar Technologies (formerly Thar Designs). He has over 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur, researcher and engineer in the pharmaceutical and food markets. He has been the Chairman of Thar Pharmaceuticals, Inc. since 2010 and has been its Director since 2007.

Read More....

Dr Narayanan Menon Komerath

Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta

Professor Komerath has directed the John J. Harper Wind Tunnel and the Experimental Aerodynamics and Concepts Group at Georgia Tech’s Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering since 1990. He is a 2002 Fellow of the NASA Institute of Advanced Concepts, Sam Nunn Senior Security Fellow, and 2004 Boeing Welliver Fellow. He holds 3 US Patents, and has published 8 books including one on Micro Renewable Energy Systems, 2016) and over 420 papers.

Read More....

Dr Sriram Krishnan

Senior Analyst & Director – Relationships & Research, Photon Consulting Inc

Dr Sriram brings with him an excellent experience of project management from world’s top companies like McKinsey. His passion for the cleantech industry and the strong belief on student based competitions like CZC - drives him to contribute significantly for the contest. He actively participates in CZC review meetings held every Saturday to monitor the project and provide guidelines at appropriate times.

Read More....

Dr Gowri Kowtha

Principal Engineer & Owner – Stratus Environmental Inc.

Dr Gowri Kowtha is an expert in environmental engineering and consulting. He is the Principal Engineer and Owner of Stratus Environmental Inc, Sacramento, California. Dr Gowri, as part of Stratus provide comprehensive environmental consulting and project management services to major oil companies, independent retail gasoline retailers, and government agencies (cities, counties, State of California, water and sewer districts, etc.).

Read More....

India-based Mentors

Sriram Narasimhan

Managing Trustee, Samriddhi Foundation

Total 33 years of experience – Industry and Teaching

Work Experience:

  • Professor & Management Consultant, Saveetha Engineering College, Thandalam, TN (2015 – 2016)
  • Advisor with Sundaram Clayton Limited – Till July 2014
  • PRESIDENT, HARITA-NTI LIMITED – September 2000 - Till August 2012
  • Accumulates more than 3 decades of professional expertise and has been associated with TVS Group throughout his tenure

Read More....

Dr Ravi Krishna

Associate Professor, Dept of Chemical Engg IIT Madras

Dr Ravi Krishna’s expertise fall under the scope of Environmental Sciences and Engineering with specific focus on fate and transport of pollutants in the environment.

  • Passive Release of Bioaerosols from different sources
  • Behavior of Aerosols in Urban Environment
  • Fate and Transport of NAPLs in Earthen Media
  • Photocatalytic Treatment of Organic Wastes
  • Contaminated Sediments - Remediation / Fate and Transport

Read More....

Dr Hiran Vedam

Managing Director,
nH2 Ltd.

Dr Hiran Vedam is the MD of nH2 Ltd., and a Startup advisor. Before joining nH2, Hiran was Senior Manager, Industry Liaison at the National University of Singapore (NUS) where she was involved in spinning-off companies, licensing technologies to commercial companies and in business development activities to promote collaboration between NUS and industry.

Read More....

Pradip Subramaniam

Growtech Innovations

Pradip is the CEO of Growtech Innovations which is an Innovative Start-Up that focuses on providing End to End Products and Solutions in the Idea to Market domain (I2M) by the right mix of Technology and Marketing Insights. He has an Industry experience of about 23 years.

Read More....

Jagannath Samavedam

Managing Partner

Jagannath brings with him extensive experience in project finance and corporate banking gained through his 11 year stint with ICICI Bank as the zonal head of corporate banking business for the southern region. This gave him an opportunity to work with leading companies in the region for structuring financial solutions to their requirements.

Read More....

S Rajendran


Mr Rajendran is an industry veteran with over 32 + years of solid work experience. In his last assignment he was the CMO at Acer India helping vault the company from a Top 10 player in 1999 to a consistent Top 3 in many verticals in the span of a decade. The leadership was in both user segments and product categories.

Read More....

Dr K Shanti Swarup

Professor, Dept of EE,
IIT Madras

Dr Swarup is a renowned expert in the field of electrical engineering and power systems. His expertise include following research areas:

  • Computer Modeling, Simulation, Analysis of Electrical Power Systems
  • Numerical Optimization of Power Systems
  • Digital and Numerical Protection of Power Systems
  • Substation and Distribution System Automation
  • Energy management Systems and SCADA

Mukundan Narasimhan


Mr Mukundan Narasimhan is presently the CEO of PlaySolar – A solar energy startup. Previously, General Manager, Strategic Technology at Tata Power Solar has over 19 years of Leadership in Product Management, Product Development, Sales, Marketing, and Technology Development, innovated and delivered a variety of solutions in Solar, Semiconductor fields in the US and India.

Read More....

Dr Prakash Maiya

Professor, Dept of Mechanical Engg, IIT Madras

Dr MP Maiya is a Professor at Department of Mechanical Engineering at IIT Madras. He also heads the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Laboratory since 1999. His research interests include:

  • Thermodynamics
  • Heating and Cooling
  • Air conditioning and ventilation
  • HVAC system applications
  • Refrigeration

Dr Ranga Rao

Professor, Department of Chemistry

Dr Ranga Rao is a professor at Department of Chemistry, IIT Madras. His expertise include:

  • Surface chemistry and spectroscopy
  • Solid state electrochemistry
  • Heterogeneous catalysis : new materials for catalysis and electrocatalysis, photocatalysis, environmental catalysis and energy storage applications
  • Materials chemistry: synthesis and applications of new layered-, hybrid-, porous- and nano-materials

Dr Aravind Kumar Chandiran

Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering

Dr Aravind is Asst Professor in the Dept of Chemical Engg, IIT Madras. His specializations include Solar cells, Solar water splitting, Carbon dioxide reduction, Photoconductivity, Oxide semiconductors. Dr Aravind holds a PhD from Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne, Master of Science from France and Poland and a Bachelor’s degree from Anna University, Chennai.

Dr Qadeer Ahmad Khan

Assistant Professor, Dept of EE, IIT Madras

Dr Qadeer Khan has more than 15 years of Design, Development and Research experience in the field of Analog/Mixed Signal ICs/Systems with specialization in Power Management and User Interface which include DC-DC Converters (Buck, Boost, Buck-Boost), Charge-pumps, Motor Drivers, Haptics Drivers (ERM and LRA), LED Drivers, Smart Battery Interface and LCD/AMOLED display power supplies for Mobile Phones and Automotive Industry.

Dr Qadeer holds a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering with 16 U.S. Patents and 20 IEEE publications

Dr Srinivasa Reddy

Professor, Dept of Mechanical Engg, IIT Madras

Dr Srinivasa Reddy is a Professor at Dept of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Madras. He focuses on the fundamental and applied studies on renewable energy technologies - solar energy, energy and environment analyses, fossil & renewable power plant engineering and thermal property characterization of two-phase materials.

Krishnamurti Rao

IT Expert & Consultant with over 30 Years’ experience

Mr Krishnamurti Rao is a senior IT Professional, with over 30 years' work experience in India's largest Software Companies, spread over multiple geographies and technologies. His expertise in business include customer and vendor Management, Systems’ Performance and Value creation for Business, Strategy, Process and Productivity.

Mr Rao holds an MBA from IIM Calcutta and a B.Tech in Electronics Engineering from IIT Madras.

Dr Lelitha Devi Vanajakshi

Associate Professor, Transportation Engineering Division, IIT Madras

Dr Lelitha Devi is an Associate Professor in the Transportation Engineering Division at IIT Madras. Prior to this, she worked with the Texas Transportation Institute and was a Research Assistant at Translink Research Group. Her research interests include Traffic flow modeling, intelligent transportation systems and Traffic Operations and Management.

Dr Lelitha holds a PhD from Texas A&M University, Texas, USA.

Achuthan Nedunghat

Director – Technical, Presevi Industries Pvt Ltd

Mr Achuthan is an Electrical Engineer by profession with MS (by research) from IIT Madras with a combined experience of 40 years in research, consultancy, education, engineering, skill development, entrepreneurial practices, mechatronics based product design considering Reliability, FTA, FMECA, MTBF, MTRR, Availability etc. He has expertise in sensor development, embedded controllers, power electronics, technical documentation, manufacturing procedures etc.

Read More....

Dr Abdus Samad

Associate Professor, Dept of Ocean Engg, IIT Madras

Dr Abdus Samad is an Associate Professor at the Department of Ocean Engineering – IIT Madras, and teaches Ocean and Petroleum engineering subjects and works on several projects from different national and international bodies. Dr Samad holds several patents in the US and Indian patent offices and have contributed to more than 150 journal and conference articles.

Read More....

Dr Ashwin Mahalingam

Asst Professor, Dept of Civil Engg, IIT Madras

Dr. Ashwin Mahalingam is a faculty in the Building Technology and Construction Management division of the Civil engineering department at IIT-Madras. Ashwin received his B.Tech in Civil engineering from IIT-Madras and then proceeded to Stanford University for a Masters in Construction Engineering and Management.

Read More....

Vignesh Nandakumar

Advisor, Center for Technology and Policy, IIT Madras

Vignesh is an energy professional with extensive experience in starting, sustaining and building new businesses and leading diverse, high performing teams in different global markets. He is passionate to work with people to solve problems, and create new opportunities.

Read More....

Dr Anand K

Asst Professor, Dept of Mechanical Engg, IIT Madras

Dr. Anand Krishnasamy received his PhD from Indian Institute of Technology Madras, India in 2010. He worked as Post Doctoral Research Fellow at Engine Research Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA for three years from 2010 to 2013 before joining IIT Madras.

Read More....

Dr Vinu

Associate Professor, Dept of Chemical Engg, IIT Madras

Dr Vinu is an Asst Professor in Chemical Engg Dept, IIT Madras and a Chemical Engineer researching in the frontier areas of:Lignocellulosic biomass conversion to valuable liquid intermediates via thermochemical conversion techniques Liquid fuels from renewable feedstocks such as waste plastics, algae and MSW

Read More....