Karl Mehta is an extraordinary gentleman with many feathers on his cap. He is a serial entrepreneur, investor, engineer, writer and civil servant with over 20 years of revel in in founding, building and funding generation agencies within the U.S. And global markets.
He is currently the founder & CEO of EdCast Inc., that is a social understanding community that powers social, mobile and cloud-based totally mastering for global-magnificence establishments, corporations, governments and non-profits. Apart from being the Venture Partner at Menlo Ventures, he is likewise the founder of Code For India – a Silicon Valley-primarily based tech-driven non-earnings business enterprise. Its assignment is to encourage hundreds of thousands of techies to volunteer their time and talent to provide again to their communities and to the developing international. He is likewise at the board of numerous non-earnings organisations that attempt to impact schooling worldwide.
Previously, he based a organisation known as PlaySpan Inc., which become received by means of Visa in March 2011, for about $240 Mn. Karl additionally served as a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow, decided on by way of the Obama Administration at some stage in the inaugural 2012-13 term. He changed into also appointed with the aid of California’s Governor Jerry Brown to the Workforce Investment Board of the State of California.
Karl has impacted the tech global immensely along with his agencies, however greater than that, it’s his passion to offer returned and bring about a alternate in the international, that’s commendable. From the streets of Bombay, to the halls of White House, the adventure of Karl Mehta is awe-inspiring. We caught up with him to recognize this adventure, his dreams and ardour to effect over one thousand million lives. In this candid communique, he talks approximately his a majority of these components and lots extra.
Here are the edited excerpts:
Inc42: Tell us about your adventure from the University of Bombay to Mountain View, California.
Karl: I graduated from Bombay University, in electronics engineering with a dream to visit the US to examine and make it huge within the generation area. The first catastrophic failure I faced in that dream became proper at step one when the United States Consulate in Mumbai rejected my Student Visa software three times and consequently, I misplaced my admission due to missing the semester. I cried for several weeks and felt my 10+ yr’s dreams shattered. I by some means discovered a manner to go to the US via an oblique route by using staying in Singapore and applying for a US tourist Visa there and beginning my company throughout US-Singapore.
Eighteen years later, I went from a US Visa rejection to a Visa (NYSE:V) acceptance where the United States multinational obtained my 1/3 startup inside the US for about $240 Mn cash.
Eighteen years later, I went from a US Visa rejection to a Visa (NYSE:V) attractiveness where the USA multinational acquired my 0.33 startup within the US for about $240 Mn coins. Subsequently, I become appointed through the White House as one of the first Presidential Innovation fellow. And, it become a genuinely surreal moment for me.
Not so long ago, I changed into struggling on the streets of Bombay hoping and dreaming to make it to the US, and my desires had been destroyed and here I changed into in The White House running for the President, and I had achieved my dream to build era organizations which are a hit and impactful.
Inc42: When did the entrepreneurial malicious program chunk you?
Karl: Entrepreneurship to me become a need from my university days, considering the fact that my father, the simplest bread-winner inside the own family handed away once I become simplest 16 (10th grade). I paid for my complete grad college schooling for six years by means of promoting diverse devices and presenting tutoring offerings to earn sufficient cash for survival.
Entrepreneurship to me changed into a necessity from my college days, since my father, the only bread-winner within the own family surpassed away once I become best 16 (tenth grade). I paid for my complete grad college training for 6 years by selling diverse gadgets and providing tutoring services to earn sufficient cash for survival.
I learnt the distinctive feature of hard paintings, dedication and cognizance from those hardships, it gave me the self-aware and braveness to begin my first organisation quite soon when I graduated.
I continually felt that I have visible the worst between losing my father and procuring my education that nothing may be worse, given that I’m used to residing and not using a money in my pockets.
Inc42: After growing pretty some disruptions in the generation space, what instigated you to go into the training area with EdCast?
Karl: My closing aim in existence has always been to serve the humans at the bottom of the pyramid, and assist them spiral up much like what I have been able to do.
I consider that training is the remaining equalizer and might assist acquire that aim. I wrote a e-book on monetary inclusion- ‘At The Bottom Of The Pyramid’, that is available on Amazon, and it has addressed the economic facet of it. However, I wanted to build a large peer-to-peer studying platform that is scalable and brings lifelong studying as a addiction forming way of life to one billion plus people.
EdCast is constructing that huge peer-to-peer understanding community that lets in each person to learn from anybody without the want for teachers or costly content. Also, in my life I have always learnt from my position models and people whom I bear in mind function fashions, maintaining it in thoughts, for the first time at EdCast we're constructing a massive influencer network of a success people in diverse fields who're ready to give back through their know-how and insights.
The EdCast, cellular app and website is first-rate clean for all people to percentage their understanding, and additionally obtain customized insights based on their interests.
Inc42: How is EdCast exceptional from the opposite instructional era systems to be had?
Karl: EdCast is progressive because it's far changing the way how human beings study by using leveraging a many-to-many version in place of 1-to-many model in education and gaining knowledge of for the past thousands of years.
Also, EdCast is constructed as a social media or a vertical social community due to the fact nowadays’s millennials are used to spending a whole lot of their time on social media. EdCast leverages the social relationships of a user, and consequently makes the getting to know experience amusing, thrilling and happy in place of a completely worrying enjoy and long-term commitment that the conventional direction centric sites provide.
EdCast is likewise precise as it brings stay streamed content material from global leaders and international influencers who are experts in their fields in preference to just academics.
And finally, EdCast allows firms (enterprise, academic organization, government our bodies) to create their personal private community on EdCast public community so that they can create and perform a social studying community for their employees and companions/customers in a relaxed environment.
Inc42: Please shed a few mild on The Sustainable Development Solution Network.
Karl: The United Nations recently accepted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as its core awareness for inclusive growth for the following 15 years and 193 international locations worldwide signed off on those SDGs.
The SDGs replaces the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that had been accredited by means of the UN in 2000 and had splendid impact for the beyond 15 years.
The SDSN institution on the UN is main the schooling initiative to construct awareness and understanding of the SDGs global because without education, we are able to no longer gain the transformational powers of the SDGs to take away excessive poverty, opposite climate alternate, deliver fundamental health to anybody, and obtain gender neutrality and many other goals.
EdCast has partnered with the SDSN institution to offer social, mobile and on-line gaining knowledge of and consciousness of the SDGs global, and we are extraordinarily thankful and venerated to be a part of this international converting initiative.
Inc42: What are EdCast’s growth plans in India?
Karl: We are growing swiftly worldwide and also in India. The users from India presently account for the second one largest u . S . A . On our website and mobile app. We have an off-shore improvement center in Mumbai and we are putting in place an workplace in Bangalore and New Delhi and seeking to lease a president for the Asia Pacific who could be based totally out of EdCast India offices.
Inc42: Are you content with the adventure of PlaySpan below your wings or do want you could have done greater and taken it to even greater heights?
Karl: Hindsight is 20-20, in PlaySpan we were ahead of our instances and built a bitcoin fashion digital forex platform even before bitcoin and have become the largest micro transactional corporation that led VISA, the biggest price community to gather us.
Given the boom in payment industry and in virtual foreign money in the past 5 years for the reason that I offered my organisation, it does feel that we ought to have taken PlaySpan to a 10x stage boom and a a hit IPO as opposed to an acquisition. However, VISA paid a fair price and I’m glad with the acquisition. It helped me to take some years from walking a enterprise and do exciting work on the White House, launch my non-earnings, CODE FOR INDIA and also serve Governor Brown on the California Workforce Investment Board.
Inc42: How did it sense to have gained the “Entrepreneur of the Year” award for Northern California from Ernst & Young?
Karl: Ernst & Young runs a totally competitive system and is one of the maximum prestigious awards in the entrepreneurship subject of work. I become truly humbled and didn’t count on it, but became very satisfied and fulfilled to get hold of that award. I acquired the award once I grew to become 40 and in my whole lifestyles until that day, I had targeted on nothing however entrepreneurship. It definitely helped open quite a few doors and get admission to to the next orbit of networks.
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Inc42: What all did you analyze for the duration of your stint as a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow, during the inaugural 2012-thirteen term? How changed into the enjoy like?
Karl: I had usually felt an duty closer to the USA, because I even have received a lot here in terms of wealth, achievement and happiness and so the opportunity to serve the government (and in flip the people) was my first-rate opportunity to go back the obligation. It nearly felt like my internal want simply came proper.
Working within the White House gave me the opportunity to look at issues at a countrywide stage and the capacity to make an effect even with small selections which affects the lives of extra the three hundred million humans or every now and then the entire world.
Every moment it felt like I’m on the top of the arena and additionally a robust experience of responsibility to now not make mistake that might get amplified 300 million times.
Inc42: How different changed into it to be a task partner from being an entrepreneur? Which role did you experience extra?
Karl: I went to the venture capital firm thinking that I may be a pressure multiplier in helping more entrepreneurs as opposed to constructing my personal corporations which I have been doing earlier than that for the past 20+ years.
I went to the task capital firm wondering that I can be a force multiplier in supporting more entrepreneurs in preference to building my own companies which I had been doing before that for the beyond 20+ years.
However, I discovered that the quality entrepreneurs commonly need the least of assist from me as a board member/ investor. I felt that it's miles a top notch function for a person like me to do in my retired age and whilst I’m still extra energetic my first-class contribution to the society might be with the aid of constructing impactful technology and agencies that can without a doubt help human beings worldwide. So, although I enjoyed each roles, it is a count of what degree you are to your recreation and when is the proper time to transition from a player to a coach. I felt I still have a few extra years as a player.
Inc42: How did Code For India show up?
Karl: While I become operating at the White House, I labored with Code for America for some of the government initiatives and found out that India needs a similar enterprise perhaps with a unique version and that led me to create Code for India as a non-profit each inside the US and in India.
The concept of giving again in time and tech-skills became so compelling that we are now the fastest growing tech-pushed social-effect pushed non-income in the US and in India. The maximum fulfilling second changed into when PM Modi and Google CEO Sundar Pichai got here to our Code for India on level with me and acknowledged the attempt of all of our volunteers and checked out our tasks.
Inc42: Do you think startups must additionally recognition on social precise rather than simply elevating budget and earning sales?
Karl: Startups have to determine early on whether they need to be a industrial only mission and do right for the society once they grow to be worthwhile via CSR pastime or they could start off as a absolutely stated “effect-task” with a double backside line (DBL) goal. Booth varieties of businesses can do top to the society as long as they could have a sustainable and viable enterprise model if the intent plus lifestyle is to give returned.
Inc42: What are a number of the important thing apps that Code For India has advanced?
Karl: We have built over 50+ apps. It levels from fitness, human beings empowerment, protection safety, sanitation education and girls particular problems.
Our voter registration app that changed into developed throughout the 2014 India Lok Sabha elections, has acquired an award from election commissioner of India.
Our women safety app has been recognized with the aid of UNESCO.
Our garbage spotting app for clean India referred to as Spotter.In is being used by loads of humans in Bangalore.
These are some of the highlights within the complete list of apps that may be regarded at CodeforIndia.Org.
Inc42: Which all enterprises and NGOs has Code For India partnered with in India?
Karl: Akshay Patra basis, America India basis, Pratham basis and Volunteer for a Better India and lots of extra NGOs from India.
Inc42: What are a number of the important thing future initiatives that we will expect from Code For India?
Karl: We are operating on supporting PM Modi’s Digital India vision as well as his Startup India and Smart Cities imaginative and prescient.
Later this month at the twenty sixth of December, we are running a Code For India hackathon in Ahmedabad with unique focus on smart cities in partnership with Ahmedabad municipal business enterprise.
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Inc42: Any words of advice for marketers who additionally purpose to the tread the non-earnings path and focus on social desirable.
Karl: India is at an inflection point, and it wishes the expertise and energy and determination of smart people to fulfil its capacity to turn out to be a evolved kingdom in the next decade. This transformation from developing to developed kingdom so swiftly will now not be accomplished just with the aid of commercial industry and startups, but will require notable increase in social effect ventures that appears at the problem in a greater inclusive and holistic way to cope with the desires of the lowest of the pyramid who are commonly disregarded because the target marketplace by using commercial ventures.
India is at an inflection factor, and it wishes the skills and strength and determination of smart people to fulfil its capability to grow to be a developed kingdom in the next decade.
My e-book on financial inclusion at the bottom of the pyramid highlights a number of such social effect ventures and improvements which are already supporting the bad or even the acute negative to get access of the gear to raise them out of poverty. Organizations like Code for India will be required to unharness the volunteering choice and electricity in every India to build their motherland. Platforms like EdCast will connect 1000000000 people in an effort to study from each and ability up the united states of america hastily to earn a higher-nice widespread of living.
One can clearly experience Karl’s ardour while going via his responses, and it, quite frankly, rubs off on you. His journey is an thought for plenty and evidence that dream do come genuine, if you are geared up with the right talents and attitude and fuelled by the real ardour. Here’s a man who is aware the genuine which means of entrepreneurship. We desire him all of the success in his endeavour to improve over a thousand million lives.