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#NAMA Chairpersons: Who’s Asking The Questions? Dev Khare, Gautam Gandhi, Kunal Bajaj, Kushan Mitra, Nikhil Pahwa, Rajesh Sawhney, Sandeep Amar

So, you’ve probably read about those who are in the hotseat at the #NAMA Conference (if you haven’t check out our  stellar list of speakers here), but the integral part of any conversation are the people who are driving it. We’ve got a fireside chat format for #NAMA: 20 minutes in conversation with our chairpersons, and 10 minutes in discussion with the audience. We’re pleased to announce our Chairpersons for the #NAMA conference, who will piece together insightful, meaningful and interesting conversations that with our speakers. We’re very thankful to Dev Khare, Gautam Gandhi, Kunal Bajaj, Kushan Mitra, Rajesh Sawhney and Sandeep Amar for working with us to curate some sparkling discussions.

In case you haven’t booked your tickets for #NAMA Conference, do book them at http://nama.cc/namatickets

#NAMA Chairperson Profiles:

Dev Khare, Principal (India), Lightspeed Ventures

Dev Khare is at Lightspeed Venture Partners in New Delhi and invests in Internet, mobile and software companies. He has served on the boards of, among others, Slideshare (acquired by LinkedIn), Appia (mobile app store) and Aha Mobile (acquired by Harman), as part of venture fund Venrock in Silicon Valley.  Dev co-founded Covigo, a mobile application platform company, which was acquired by Symbol Technologies (now part of Motorola) in 2003.  Dev has an MBA from Harvard Business School and tweets at @dkhare.

Gautam Gandhi, New Business Development, Google India/US

Gautam Gandhi leads new business development efforts for Google India where he manages early-stage partnerships.

Prior to Google, Gandhi co-founded ClearCount Medical Solutions.  ClearCountuses RFID technology to track surgical sponges and instruments during surgery to prevent items from being left inside the body.  Gandhi led the company from the initial business plan through FDA approval and is named on the patents.  The company has raised venture capital funding from Draper Triangle Ventures and the product is used in US hospitals.

He was also worked at BlueMountain Arts, the largest e-greeting website where he was part of the team that launched Dan’s Chocolates.  BlueMountain was acquired by Excite@Home in 2001.

Gandhi completed his M.B.A, B.S. in Information Decision Systems and Industrial Management from Carnegie Mellon University, where he was also named the Roseman – Canfield Entrepreneur of the Year.  Mr. Gandhi was also a recipient of the 2008 Fulbright Award for India.

Fun Fact: Gautam Gandhi worked as a professional DJ

Kunal Bajaj, Entreprenuer, Start-Up

Kunal Bajaj is 34, experienced entrepreneur, strategic thinker, collaborative leader, workaholic, party lover, cricket fanatic, music addict, people person. Other than that, he is a well-known leader in the telecom, media and technology (TMT) industry in India. He has been part of and built multiple businesses, is a sought after speaker in conferences and the press, and has also been adviser / director in various companies at different stages of their lifecycles.

Until he threw away his job, Kunal was the Partner, Director India at Analysys Mason, one of the world’s premiere strategy consulting firms in the TMT space. He joined AM in April 2010 when they acquired BDA Connect, which he had started in India in 2006.

In 2003, Kunal moved to India following an altruistic desire to make a positive impact on the country’s development. He worked as Consultant (Projects) for the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), where he lead and authored India’s first complete internet and broadband policy, while also contributing to many other ground breaking initiatives in related areas.

Prior to moving to India, Kunal was the head of technology at an early stage start-up, WhenU, one of the first companies in contextual marketing online. He was a member of the Executive Committee, helping to shape the company’s direction. His simultaneously lead new product and infrastructure development projects along with the daily operations of very high volume real-time systems.

He has three degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, graduating with Magna Cum Laude Honors, with a Bachelors in Computer Science Engineering, a Masters in Telecommunications and Networking, and Management & Finance Bachelors from the Wharton School.

Kunal is also currently an Independent Director on the Board of One97 Communications, was the founding Co-Chair of the Mobile Marketing Association’s (MMA) India Council until September 2011, and was a member of the Board of Directors of the National Internet Exchange of India in 2007.

More details: http://in.linkedin.com/in/bajajkunal

Kushan Mitra, Managing Editor,Digital Co-ordination & New Projects, The Pioneer

Kushan Mitra is currently Managing Editor, Digital Coordination and New Projects at The Pioneer. That long title essentially means that he looks after the web initiatives and trying to figure out ways to monetize content online as he really does not want to screw up what he assumes will be his inheritance. Before that he was a business journalist for over a decade, starting at The Hindustan Times and then almost nine years at Business Today and wrote about everything under the sun but with a particular focus on stuff that boys like – cars, planes and gadgets. Of course, he also did a lot of real work in between, but eventually decided that he wanted something a tad more exciting and his own cabin.

You can follow Kushan on twitter, where he seems to have an opinion on everything at twitter.com/kushanmitra

Nikhil Pahwa, Editor & Publisher, MediaNama

Nikhil Pahwa is the Editor & Publisher of MediaNama (this site), and he spends too much time on the Internet, mostly picking on people for fun, and being picked on (not fun!). His experience of attending TED India, INK and AsiaD, and of co-organizing TEDxDelhi led him to believe that he can curate a conference, so he’s trying to put together #NAMA. Nikhil also worries about working too much, and his inordinate fear of addiction lends itself to somewhat strange experiments – he goes off alcohol for a few months, stops working after 6pm for a month, walks from home to Connought Place just for fun, goes off twitter (a week is the best that he could manage) among other random experiments. He has an affinity for live music, history, road trips, museums, and debates on politics, entrepreneurship, media and the economy. He takes 10 days off at the end of the year, and last year, he went to Bhuj, where he landed up with no plan whatsoever, and figured his way around town. It was exciting, and then it got boring (he’s more social than he admits), but be wants to do something like this.

Along with all this (and more), Nikhil is also trying to build a business. You should troll him on twitter at @nixxin

Rajesh Sawhney, Founder, GSF Accelerator & Superangels

Rajesh is one of the leading angel investors in India. He has made with over a dozen investments in start-ups in India and abroad. Rajesh is now building the vital pieces of a nascent early stage startup ecosystem in India. This October, he is launching GSF Accelerator, India’s first multi-city Tech Accelerator with backing from 30 founders and 5 venture funds. Rajesh is the host of Global Superangels Forum (GSF) and the founder of GSF Superangels of India network. He is also the co-host and curator of Founders Forum India. Earlier as the President of Reliance Entertainment, Rajesh led Reliance Group’s foray into media & entertainment spanning movie eco-system, broadcasting, and New Media. Previously with the Times Group in India, Rajesh launched a number of successful ventures across different domains: Publishing, Radio & TV,Retailing, online classifieds, MVAS, e-commerce and e-travel. He founded Indiatimes.com, a leading Indian web portal and pioneered MVAS services in India with the first cross-operator service 8888.

Rajesh is an alumnus of HBS (AMP), and has a fellowship from LSE.

Twitter: @rajeshsawhney

Sandeep Amar, Vice President and Head – Marketing and Audience, Indiatimes 

Sandeep Amar has 15 years of experience with the last 6 years at leadership level. He’s a veteran with over 11 years experience in the Internet industry. Amar has worked in various capacities as business head, head of marketing, audience and analytics during his career.

He is currently Head of Marketing, Audience, and Sales Strategy at Times Internet Limited. Here he leads marketing, audience and analytics, SEO, and sales strategy for the firm. In his last role, he was Business Head at Simplymarry.com and Marketing Head for Times Business Solutions. Earlier, he was leading the Citigroup’s Internet channel in India. Sandeep has an MBA from FMS, Delhi and a Six Sigma Black Belt. He is a renowned blogger in the Internet space and has been one of the first international bloggers from India.

About #NAMA

A transformation is taking place in both the Internet and Mobile services businesses. Along with uncertainty, there is significant opportunity. #NAMA seeks to shed light on challenges and uncertainties, what market leaders are doing about it, and point towards opportunities through deep, insightful and meaningful discussions and sharing of experiences.

Our focus is on providing the audience with valuable insight on the decisions that are being made, why they’re being made, what developments are influencing them, and how they will impact the growth of the digital industry going forward. We will provide #NAMA attendees with significant and varied learning about the digital ecosystem, and give them a reason to stay in the conference hall, not just chat in the hallway.

#NAMA will be a conference with a healthy mix of ideas, thought leadership and with important operational questions being addressed, with fresh ideas being shared and showcased, and hopefully, defining a sense of directions in these uncertain times, and a vision. #NAMA is being organized by MediaNama, the premier publication on the evolution of India’s digital ecosystem, being held on October 10th 2012, at The Westin, in Gurgaon

About #alpha

#alpha: Is our digital product and startup showcase, allowing companies to share great products with our audience at #NAMA.

The #NAMA Conference Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor: Times Internet Ltd
Gold Sponsor:
 One97 Communications
Silver Sponsor: OnMobile Global
Associate Sponsors: E2E Networks, Flipkart.com,

Download our sponsorship kits at http://namaconference.com/sponsors

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