Anil K. Gupta
Professor, University of Maryland
Dr. Anil K. Gupta is the Michael D. Dingman Chair in Strategy, Globalization and Entrepreneurship and Distinguished Scholar-Teacher at the Smith School of Business, The University of Maryland. He has earlier served as the INSEAD Chaired Professor in Strategy at INSEAD and a visiting professor at Stanford University as well as Dartmouth College. He received a doctorate from the Harvard Business School, an M.B.A. from IIM Ahmedabad, and a B.Tech. from IIT Kanpur. Anil is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading experts on strategy, globalization and entrepreneurship. Ranked byThinkers50 as one of the world’s “most influential living management thinkers,”.

What excites you the most about innovation in the emerging markets ? 

Unlike in developed economies, innovation in emerging markets is driven far more by the needs of those at the periphery of the formal economy than by the needs of those at the top. A direct implication is that innovation in emerging economies has the potential to improve the lives of hundreds of millions (indeed billions) of people on the planet. Innovation in emerging markets is also more challenging because the end product or service must be usable and affordable for people whose education and income levels are extremely low.


What are the 3 most important qualities an entrepreneur should have ?

Passion. Without passion, you can never attract and keep the best and brightest talent. Also, without passion, it’ll not be easy to sustain the emotional energy needed to slog through the hard work of making the venture a success.

Persistence. As Thomas Edison noted, “Genius in 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” Most entrepreneurs hit roadblocks at some point in the journey. Successful entrepreneurs never give up. They must be ready to learn and pivot, but they must never give up.

Purpose. Without a deeply felt sense of social purpose, it’s almost impossible to build a venture that will scale rapidly and become large. Yes, every venture must succeed financially. However, the entrepreneurs who create legendary companies such as Apple, Google, and Microsoft – all also have a sense of social purpose.


Why did you choose to be a part of Kstart?

First, India today is one of the world’s most vibrant economies. The entrepreneurial ecosystem in India is already among the world’s five biggest and most dynamic. Over the next few years, it also has the potential to leapfrog to the second position, after Silicon Valley. I want to play my part in making this happen. Second, even though I have remained deeply connected to India over the years, my focus has been largely on big Indian corporates. Kstart would give me a phenomenal platform to get involved with young ventures at the ground floor level. I find that exciting.


The one thing you wish you had known when you were 25 ?

How important India would become in the global economy.


Books you’d Recommend ?

  • The Hard Thing about Hard things by Ben Horowitz,
  • The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies, Erik Brynjolfsson
  • Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, Ashlee Vance
  • Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson


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