Travel Startup Knockdown: Judges | TravHQ

Our Esteemed Mentors & Judges

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Saumyajit Guha COO, Calcutta Angels Network

Saumyajit has 15 years of experience with proficiency in Business Incubation & Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Development, Market Research & Analysis, Process Migration, Operations and Business Analysis. He has worked with Startup Incubator at IIT Kharagpur as Head, Business Development. He has also worked IIM Calcutta and was instrumental in establishing a DST approved incubator- IIM Calcutta Innovation Park. He has also worked in other roles as IT Project Campaign Manager and as Business Analyst. Currently he leads Calcutta Angels Network, an angel investment network in Kolkata, as the COO.

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Ravi Ranjan Head, Startup Warehouse Kolkata 10000 Startups- NASSCOM

Ravi manages Startup Warehouse Kolkata which is a part of 10000 startups, an initiative by NASSCOM. The program is supported by Google, Microsoft, Facebook, IBM, Amazon & Kotak Bank He has an experience of over a decade spanning diverse sectors and he has helped many professionals and students start their entrepreneurial journey. He started his journey as a media professional, heading to events industry and then eventually getting into the startup ecosystem of India. Before NASSCOM, he was a part of Cross Border Angels, Indian Angel Network and Ennovent.

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Bart Bellers Senior Advisor, Corporate Strategy, Amadeus Asia Pacific

Bart is an experienced business executive and passionate out-of-the-box thinker who has successfully led commercial and innovation initiatives at the leading edge of technology. His credo is: “Think Different” and “Just Do It”. Bart is Senior Advisor, Corporate Strategy at Amadeus Asia Pacific and his role are to lead new business opportunities and seed innovative initiatives in the region. He has been with Amadeus for over 12 years and held management positions in e-Travel, Customer Delivery, Business Development & Innovation. Prior to Amadeus, Bart built up a strong digital, technology and commercial background in the ICT industry and has worked for several start-ups focusing on the development of e-business solutions.

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Subhrangshu Sanyal CEO, IIM Calcutta Innovation Park

Subhrangshu is a passionate startup evangelist and is the CEO of IIM Calcutta Innovation Park where is he working on creating a comprehensive ecosystem to fuel innovation and promote entrepreneurship. He carries rich experience in process and systems consulting in banking and financial services domain. He was also involved in end to end implementation of several large strategic projects for global organisations and also had a stint with a tech startup.

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Shivam Shah Partner, Augment Ventures

Shivam Shah is a partner at Augment Ventures. A fund that invests in early stage start-ups. He is also the co-founder and CEO of www.CaptainKYSO.com, an e-commerce apparel venture, that sells wearable art, and co-founder of www.cremecup.in, India’s first, Online Bakery. Completing his masters in finance, from Simon School of Business, Shivam turned down a lucrative job offer in M&A at an MNC to come back to India, to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams.

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Vikram Duggal Advisor, Mentor and Consultant, Unitus Seed Fund

Vikram represents the US based Unitus Seed Fund and works with startups as an Investor, Mentor and Advisor to help them achieve ambitious growth plans. He comes with over 17 years of experience heading sales & marketing functions for major brands across different verticals like Retail, Media, Durables, IT and Banking. He has been instrumental in successfully launching t2, revamping Turtle (menswear), marketing launches of radio stations, implementing large scale on ground activations and scaling up operations of young businesses. He is also a guest faculty at various B-schools across India.

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Hari Balasubramanian Advisor, IvyCap Ventures

Hari is an investor, advisor and mentor and helps entrepreneurs give a surge to their startups. Post his stint as an entrepreneur for over 27 years as founder of Ontrack Systems Limited, he has made angel investments in multiple startups across different domains. He is an advisor to IvyCap Ventures to support entrepreneurs from premier institutions of India and to Sol Primero, an early stage venture fund. He is also a member of Indian Angel Network where he contributes in deal sourcing, due diligence and mentoring of startups. Previously he has also been associated with organisations like TiE, COMPASS, NASSCOM and CIITA.

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Sanjiv Agarwal Chairman & CEO, Fairfest Media Ltd / Publisher & Editor, Travel News Digest

A serial entrepreneur and inventor, Sanjiv is focused on starting ambitious global businesses. He graduated in commerce from St. Xavier’s College and received executive education from IIM Calcutta. He holds patents in his credit, issued in different fields. His company Fairfest Media organises leading trade events like TTF and OTM and publishes various B2B publications.

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Brijesh Chandwani IAN Member, Managing Partner, Singularity Strategic

Brijesh Chandwani is a thought leader and a leading entrepreneurial voice in the ISP space in India. Since 1992 he has successfully floated multiple businesses in the ISP, Media Tech and CATV Sectors. Brijesh received his Bachelors in Engineering from Osmania University.

In the year 2004 Brijesh set up Beam Telecom, an Internet Service Provider that disrupted the dial-up ISP market by pioneering the delivery of broadband solutions via fiber optic technology. During his tenure as the Chief Visionary and Managing Director the company achieved an unprecedented 15X growth to become the 5th largest ISP in the country and is widely regarded as an innovation led telecom powerhouse and a bellwether in the Internet Services Space in India.

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Sanjay Jesrani IAN Member, Founder & CEO, Go North Ventures, Mentor, Board member, Golfer

Sanjay Jesrani is the Founder & CEO Go North Ventures.

Go North is an angel investment and CEO/CFO advisory firm, focused on investing in & mentoring Startups as well as providing Strategy inputs to high growth Early stage companies and SMB’s moving to their next orbit.

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Murali Bukkapatnam Founder & Chairman: HouzKare.com ¦Trustee, TiE Global ¦ Founding Member: Hyderabad Angels ¦ Board Member

Mr. Murali Bukkapatnam was the founder of The Capitol Projects Private Limited, a company focusing in real estate in Tier II markets, and the founder CEO of Mandava Spas & Hotels Pvt. Limited until December 2011. He is the Managing Director of BSP Systems (“BSP”), IT consulting and Services Company based in Fairfax, VA USA.

After a 16 year stay in the U.S., Mr. Bukkapatnam returned to India to head Mandava as a full-time CEO & Co-Founder, a hospitality start-up. He brings extensive experience in operations, strategy and finance.

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Srini ChandupatlaMember of Hyderabad Angels, Angel Investor, Serial Entrepreneur, Advisor

SriniChandupatla is an angel investor and a serial entrepreneur with more than twenty years of global experience and currently focusing on technology startup businesses. Srini is an experienced strategist, innovator, and a startupevangelist.

Srini held many senior executive positions and was responsible for global operations, corporate strategy, business development, product management and delivery in multiple startup companies such as Motivity Labs, JP Mobile, and Antenna Software. Srini was instrumental in completing the acquisitions of JP Mobile and Innocore Solutions.

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Simon AkeroydVice President, Corporate Strategy and Business Development, Amadeus Asia Pacific

Simon Akeroyd started his career with Amadeus back in 1992. Prior to joining Asia Pacific management team in 2005, he has worked in various roles within Finance and Management Accounting. . He had left Amadeus eight years back to start his own Management Consultancy and Private Equity in IT sector which later urged him to return to Amadeus. He is currently placed as Vice President, Amadeus Corporate Strategy and Business Development for Asia Pacific and identifies new business opportunities and partnerships for Amadeus in the region, with a focus on distribution and new business lines such as payments, travel intelligence, hotels and rail. The Amadeus Next initiative, a programme to nurture, mentor and partner with travel start-ups and create an APAC travel tech start-up community is also part of this exciting role.

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Sesh SeshadriDirector, Lonely Planet India

Sesh Seshadri is a big name in publishing sector and his association with Lonely Planet India as a Director makes him an effluent speaker to gain insights on the travel industry. His career of four decades spans across publishing and consulting. His pivotal role to carve a niche market for Lonely Planet in India is laudable. The brand emerged out to be a huge success and launched 37 titles under his leadership. His current role is to create a sustained and successful presence for Lonely Planet in India adding value to their future developments. His long term association with Oxford University Press has placed him as a ‘ninja’ in the publishing sector. He then went ahead to work for Dorling Kindersley India as Executive Director. Furthermore, he was the Founder Director at Textech that specializes in providing academic solutions in the form of books and ebooks.

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Rajneesh MalhotraGeneral Manager, Radisson Blu Plaza, Hyderabad

Rajneesh Malhotra is currently placed as General Manager, Radisson Blu Plaza, Hyderabad. He’s is an astute business strategist with track-record of successful asset management, hotel openings and turn arounds. Having been in a general management role for more than a decade, Rajneesh has helped open 5 Four/Five star hotel and have turned around a five-star hotel’s loss into a highly profitable unit within the first year of leadership. He manages large multi- cultural at a multi unit level leading them on a year-on- year growth. He was awarded the best performing General Manager of the Year 2016 in a region that includes around 116 hotels operating in the entire Asia Pacific region including China and Australia.

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Anshoo GaurCEO & Founder, Praavega Systems

Anshoo Gaur is CEO and founder of Praavega Systems, India’s first start-up Inculator. Till July 2016 he was the President and Head of Amdocs, India and a member of the Amdocs’ Global Management. He carries over 26 years of cross cultural leadership experience. He is also the winner of several awards including Bloomberg-UTV CXO IT MNC Business leaders of the year Award 2010. A member of NASSCOM, CII, IMA, PCC and SEAP Pune, he is also the founding curator of a new World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community hub in Pune, India. He has previously been on the Executive management team of EDS/MphasiS and has been the Director for Strategic Systems Planning at Sabre.

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Nirav ChoksiCo-founder and Joint Managing Director, Equentia Natural Resources Pte. Ltd.

Nirav Choksi is the co-founder and Joint Managing Director of Equentia Natural Resources Pte. Ltd, a Singapore based commodity trading and structured finance firm. He brings over 20 years of entrepreneurial experience in varied businesses including Technology, E commerce, Mining and Commodity Trading. He successfully sold his technology company, CTech in 2008 having spent 10 years building ebusiness systems for companies like mTV, mTVu.com, Baazee.com, Hungama.com, India.com, Saffron Art.com etc. He is also the Founder and Chairman of HHC Holdings Pte. Ltd. a Singapore based Investment Company that invests in very early stage companies and incubates majority owned businesses. HHC focuses on seed stage investments in the Retail, Consumer, Mobile, Technology and Food Services space.

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Piyush AgrawalFounder, Gujarat Angel Investor Network (GAIN)

Piyush Agrawal is the founder of Gujarat Angel Investor Network (GAIN), an investor network focussing on early stage startups from Tier II and Tier III cities. He has been working in consulting and investment banking domain for over a decade. He co-founded boutique corporate advisory firms Kaspar Capital Advisory and Grocap Advisory and has also worked closely with various startups in e-commerce, education and fashion space. He has previous worked with Intellecap, ICICI Bank, Madura Coats and Pulsar Knowledge Centre.

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Piyush ShahExecutive Vice Chairman, Hitachi Hi-Rel Power Electronics Pvt. Ltd.

Piyush B Shah is the Executive Vice Chairman of Hitachi Hi-Rel Power Electronics Pvt. Ltd. He was the Chairman of Gujarat State Council of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for the year 2012-13. He has also been a Member of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) – IT Gujarat Task force, Gujarat Council and Regional Council Committee Western Region of CII. Mr Shah was an Executive Council Member of Indian Electrical & Electronics Manufacturers' Association (IEEMA) in the year 2011-12. He is a Senior Member of IEEE and an Expert member in the Post Graduate Board at Nirma Institute of Technology, Ahmedabad.

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Varun BansalDirector, Jayashree Group

Varun Bansal is a Director at the Jayashree Group which is into Rubber, Plastics and Metal tube assemblies for Automotive and Engineering Applications. Established in 1983, the group has its headquarters in Pune and a pan India presence with 12 manufacturing plants and has also been exporting its products for the last 15 years. Varun has been instrumental in expanding the group’s operations in South India. He is an active angel investor with IAN and LetsVenture and some of his investments are in the Online to Offline, Education, Aquaculture, Tech, Travel and Mobile payments space.

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MadhuraCo-founder, www.laylaslist.com

Madhura has been creating strategy & premium content for global brands over the last decade. Her strength lies in providing communication solutions for business growth using creative ideas, design and technology. She has co-founded Ripple Digital. Pvt. Ltd. which creates premium content for brands' digital channels. Madhura is also the co-founder of www.laylaslist.com, a video driven platform that helps travellers discover curated properties across India.

Prior to starting Ripple, Madhura, ran Sharp Shooter Films (a TV commercial production company), a Joint Venture with the WPP group. Madhura is an investment banker by training. She worked on Wall Street in New York prior to moving back to India.

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Komal ShahMarketing & services professional

Komal is a marketing & services professional with over 11 years of extensive experience of working across sectors. She is an MBA Gold Medalist from Nirma Institute of Management. She currently observes the role of a senior enabler at Viridian ESpark Venture Accelerator, Ahmedabad and works with start-ups across domains. She has worked with Vodafone, Airtel, Telenor, DTH & also an independent marketing professional for few renowned brands based out of Gujarat.

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Pankaj Mittalfounding member of CIO Angel Network, Delhi Chapter & the co-founder of Pune Angels

Pankaj is a business transformation strategist carrying around two decades of leadership experience in IT security and telecom industries. He is the founding member of CIO Angel Network, Delhi Chapter & the co-founder of Pune Angels. Being an active investor, he has got multiple companies in his portfolio and is currently helping shape Pune Angels.
Previously he has worked as Head of Datacenter Transformation for Vodafone India and was the CTO for SLK Group based in Pune where one of his applications was awarded a patent in India and a US patent was also filed.