Krishnakumar Natarajan (KK)

Managing Partner

Krishnakumar Natarajan Mela Ventures

A leading authority in the global IT sector, Krishnakumar Natarajan co-founded Mindtree in 1999 and has played key roles in building the company’s innovative approach to delivering IT services and solutions to global 2000 enterprises. In his role as executive chairman, he focused on leadership development and ensuring a high quality of governance. He also actively mentored different business groups within the company and worked closely with the start-up ecosystem to bring in innovative models of business transformation for clients.

His key skill is to help enterprises navigate the Digital transformation agenda and help technology deployments by which enterprises enhance customer experience and Industry-leading growth. Apart from building the start-ups ecosystem he has been an active angel investor and has made over 30 investments in a wide range of companies that are technology-driven and span across consumer products, healthcare, logistics, financial services. He understands financial structures used commonly in start-ups and various approaches used in valuations. He is an active investor on online crowdfunding platforms like LetsVenture and 1Crowd. He is also an early investor and backer of Ziva Capsol, the Parent company of 1Crowd.

Apart from investing he also mentors actively high growth start-up CEO’s helping them with approaches to the market, making the right technology choices, organization/ people, and fundraising. He has helped investee companies raise subsequent rounds from marquee investors like Fidelity, Goldman Sachs, and Mahindra Capital Partners. He has extensive contacts with many of the well-known venture capital firms and this will help bring in high-quality investors in subsequent rounds. His connections with corporate M&A heads are strong and this has helped exits in the past for his investments.

He has significant experience as a limited partner in the Indian venture capital space. He was one of the early investors in TVS Capital Fund 1 and continues to be an investor. He chairs the fund advisory committee of TVS Capital and runs its Portfolio Review Board. He is also a part of the Fund Advisory Board of Inventus Capital Advisors.

He has significant Public Market experience also. He co-founded Mindtree and in 2007 took the company public. In his role as CEO and Managing Director (April 2008-March 2016), Krishnakumar was responsible for making Mindtree a global IT player. Krishnakumar’s efforts as a business leader has been recognized worldwide, winning him several laurels. Under his leadership, the market capitalisation of Mindtree rose to USD 2.5 billion and Mindtree was judged as the most promising company for the year 2013 by CNBC. Businessworld & Forbes ranked him amongst the most valuable CEOs in India in 2016. He won Bloomberg UTV’s award as the CEO of the Year in 2010, Business Today CEO of the year award in 2014, and was recognized by Chief Executive Magazine as one of the twelve global leaders of tomorrow. EY honored him with Entrepreneur of the year 2015 in Services. His focus on governance and transparency has won him recognition and the opportunity to speak at several corporate governance events.

A 39-year IT industry veteran, Krishnakumar held several key positions at Wipro before co-founding Mindtree. Mr. Krishnakumar has been engaged in the start-up ecosystem In India for over 15 years. As a member of the Executive Council of NASSCOM, he started the EMERGE forum which identified promising start-ups and recognized them through the EMERGE 50 awards. It’s important to note that many of the start-ups identified have become unicorns. Being an early participant in the start-up ecosystem he has a lot of experience in identifying and growing start-ups. In 2013, Krishnakumar served as Chairman of the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), where he worked to strengthen the Indian IT industry to build a globally competitive ecosystem. He now serves as the Chairman of Nasscom Foundation.

He is an Independent Director in Reserve Bank Information Technology Limited (ReBIT) and on Kotak Asset Management Limited.

Social enterprises and philanthropy are other key interests of Krishnakumar. He is an active partner of Social Venture Partners- an organization involved in impactful philanthropy. Along with his wife, he runs their personal foundation focused on helping high potential rural girls to attain professional qualifications and helping senior citizens age gracefully.

Krishnakumar is an active member of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). He is also a regular speaker at international IT industry conferences and a faculty member at management schools around the world. He has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the College of Engineering, Chennai, India, and a master’s degree in Business Administration from the Xavier Institute, Jamshedpur, India.

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