Rajan Anandan
VP & MD SE Asia & India, Google
Rajan Anandan is an active investor in early stage technology companies. Rajan brings a deep understanding of technology, a track record of investing in many sectors across technology, first hand experience working closely with founding teams of startups and leading and growing several large technology businesses in US and India. Rajan is currently a Vice President of Google, Inc. In his current role, Rajan is the Managing Director of Google in India and SouthEastAsia and is responsible for Google's operations in the region. Rajan currently leads a business that covers a region with over 500 million Internet users and is the fastest growing internet market in the world. Prior to Google, Rajan held leadership roles with Microsoft, Dell and was also a Partner with McKinsey&Co. Rajan is also the co-founder of Blue Ocean Ventures, the first seed fund in Sri Lanka.

Where do you think digital India is headed in the next decade?

Currently India has over 350 million Internet users. We will get to 500 million users by 2018 and it is very likely that a billion Indians could be online by 2025.

Of the 350 million users currently, about 150 million Indians connect to the Internet with their smartphones. Most of these smartphone users spend over 3 hours a day online. This number of connected smartphone users will grow to over 500 million by 2020 and that is truly large number. Today, messaging, social, online video and search are the primary applications – only about 50 million Indians transact online. This will change rapidly – we will easily have 100 million Indians transacting online by 2018, and within 10 years we will have several hundred million Indians buying online. However, the next generation of products and services will go well beyond commerce and will impact every aspect of our daily lives. We will see a large number of companies spring up to address India’s most significant problems. The next generation of startups will build innovative businesses in areas like healthcare, education, financial services, energy management and providing technology to companies at very affordable rates. We will also see real magic happening at the intersection of hardware and software, as Indian entrepreneurs create cost-effective, truly innovative solutions that have never been seen before

India will emerge as a innovation powerhouse and we will create many ‘first-in-the-world’ businesses. The best is yet to come!


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

1. Mission-driven: Successful entrepreneurs have one thing in common – they are all passionate about solving a real problem.

2. Perseverance: It takes 10 to 15 years to build a great company. You need to stay the course through ups, downs and even near-death experiences.

3. Extraordinary storyteller: You can be an introvert or an extrovert, but you must be able to inspire people and make them believe in your dream.


Why did you choose to be part of Kstart?

1. Founder-friendly: I like Kstart’s transparent approach and straightforward terms. There is no beating about the bush and no ambiguity. That takes a great load off young founders.

2. Structured mentoring: The Indian startup ecosystem is young. We have very smart entrepreneurs fighting above their weight. They will  benefit greatly from experienced mentors and a support network they can access easily.

3. Access to follow-on capital: For the successful companies in Kstart, I am hoping raising series A will be easier given Kalaari’s funding capability.


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

That the Internet will reach 3 billion people so quickly and be such a fundamental part of our lives.  In fact, we should all be thinking about the narrative for the next 10 years and its implications for what we are doing today.


Books or articles you would recommend

  • Rebooting India by Nandan Nilekani and Viral Shah.




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