This Silicon Valley Entrepreneur Wants to Bridge Indo-Pak Divide
Asha Jadeja Motwani (Photo: youtube.com/<a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCirimMlabFk1MgMCG8aXZWw">TiEcon 2012</a>)
Asha Jadeja Motwani (Photo: youtube.com/TiEcon 2012)

This Silicon Valley Entrepreneur Wants to Bridge Indo-Pak Divide

What does an investor and philanthropist based in America have to do with Indo-Pak relations? Certainly more than most of us would imagine.

Asha Jadeja Motwani was one of the first women venture capitalists in the tech capital of the world, Silicon Valley.

Her husband, the late Rajeev Motwani, who passed away in 2009, was something of a legend himself. An academic and teacher at UC Berkeley, he mentored many of the founders of Google. Both Asha and Rajeev have been avid angel investors and philanthropists, first in the US and now around the world.

Even after her husband’s death, Asha has continued investing in projects she believes in.

After shepherding quite a few successful start-ups in the US and around the world, Asha, who is originally from Ahmedabad, invested eight million dollars towards funding innovations in India in 2014. Inspired by Maker Fest, an annual conference in the US where inventors and innovators can showcase their work, Asha started Maker Faire in India.

Rajeev Motwani. (Photo Courtesy: <a href="http://cs.stanford.edu/~rajeev/">cs.stanford.edu</a>)
Rajeev Motwani. (Photo Courtesy: cs.stanford.edu)

Now she has started the Rajeev Circle Fellowship, named after her husband, which will provide innovators from India and Pakistan mentors and resources from Silicon Valley, helping them take their ideas to the next level. Rajeev, an IIT-Kanpur alumnus, also had an affinity for Pakistan as his family was originally from Sindh.

While in India, we are able to reap all the benefits of economic development, the Pakistani youth is involved in a struggle for survival despite all the threats and dangers. As a mother, I feel worried that they are putting themselves in danger and still bravely sticking out their necks.
— Asha Jadeja Motwani to The Dawn

Through the Rajeev Circle Fellowship, Asha hopes to bring together Indian and Pakistani youth, helping them learn from each other and collaborate. Asha believes that the Indian sub-continent could be a huge global market, on the lines of the European Union.

The Indian subcontinent as a bloc is so powerful that we will be second to China in terms of purchasing power and trade. It is crucial for us to collaborate as a group in the South Asian region. My efforts are just a small step in that direction.
Asha Jadeja Motwani to The Dawn


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