About Lakshmi

Bio

I am an entrepreneur at heart. I love coming up with new ideas, build momentum around them and then giving it away to someone to take care of it. In my current avatar as a cultural entrepreneur, I am the Founder and CEO of Ixoraa Media, whose mission is to strengthen the ties between United States and India through sponsored corporate, cultural, and media events. I want to bring about an Indian renaissance through influencing the current and future leaders. I have my dream job of co-hosting TEDIndia and am committed to bringing more global voices to TED and bringing the energy of TED to India. After TEDIndia, I realized the importance of hosting such a conference in India. So, I started hosting the annual INK conference in India. I am lucky to have the support of the entire TED team and friends who help me in every possible way to succeed in hosting INK. We completed three years and look forward to hosting INK 2013 in Kochi, Kerala in Oct 2013. I have a background that spans entrepreneurship of all kinds.
As a social entrepreneur, I started a program called Schools Online - India, later named "Digital Equalizer" where we brought internet access to underprivileged children and made it part of American India Foundation. I was part of a small group of executives at AIF to work on building the brand of AIF and raise over $30M in 5 years. Digital Equalizer, the program I co-founded along with my Indian dream teammate Srimathi Prasad, exceeded all our expectations and brought technology education to over 100,000 children and 2,000 teachers within 5 years. And it continues to be one of the most successful programs at AIF three years after I left.

Before AIF, I was a partner at the venture capital firm Global Catalyst Partners and I was the first one to turn GCP's attention onto India and establish relationships between GCP, the development community in India, and key executives in India. My dream was to have original product development done in India and be able to fund it. Sadly, I could not find any original product companies which were willing to take the risk of developing a product. In fact, it is that disappointment that turned my attention onto the education system and start Schools online, India. Prior to GCP, I had a great time at Intel for twelve years. I worked on evangelizing mobile computing when everyone thought that the concept of taking computers home with you was weird :-), worked on building a developer community that would port their applications to the PC architecture (remember when you could not do audio or video or have any cool SW like Adobe available on PC??) and was one of the first three people who were in Corporate Business Development, which is now Intel Capital.

Prior to all this work experience, I studied mathematics in India first at Nizam College, Hyderabad and then at IIT, Mumbai. Then, I got my first management degree from the Bajaj Institute, India and a second MBA from Portland State University, with a minor in theater arts. I love writing articles - mostly opinion pieces, submit radio shorts, act in plays and my biggest passion is to interview people.

Languages

English, Hindi, Telugu

TED Conferences

TED2015, TED2014, TEDGlobal 2013, TED2013, TED2012, TEDGlobal 2011, TED2011, TEDGlobal 2010, TED2010, TEDIndia 2009, TEDGlobal 2009, TED2009, TED2008, TED2007, TED2006, TED2005, TED2004

Areas of Expertise

Marketing, Indo - U.S business consulting, Social Entrepreneurship

An idea worth spreading

Success as a journey and not a destination - a journey of risks, failures and overcoming them while treating the fellow passengers with respect. To me, truly successful are those who are gracious when no one is looking, who share their power without being asked and who remember the suport they received before they became famous. And they have a fantastic sense of humor.

I'm passionate about

Collecting people and believing in the indomitable human spirit. I am committed to being the framework that highlights the beauty that lies within every human being.

Talk to me about

TEDIndia, anything about India, Movies, Writing and love of the ordinary

People don't know I'm good at

interviewing people. Be it on a plane or on stage, I love bringing out the essence of a person. I would love to be a talk show host someday :-)

My TED story

My ex-boss and now friend Avram Miller brought me to TED in '93 or '94 - I can’t quite remember and I felt as though I was home. I have always been the one to be interested in math and theater and marathons and writing and the list went on. And here was a place where I could meet the best from every field. I felt like a kid in a candy store. I attended every session every day and have not missed it since then. In the last 15+ years, I missed only one year because I had to stay home with my infant son. Even that year, I drove with him and my nanny from the bay area to Monterey to have dinner with all my TED buddies and enjoyed TED socializing for one night! And then having my 3 mts on TED stage as a speaker and then co-hosting TEDIndia - I am excited beyond words to mix career and fun with TED.