At least two Indian-American and two Indian-origin individuals have been named among the latest Kauffman Fellows class. Santosh Sankar, Shikha Goyal, Shubhang Shankar and Surabhi Nimkar are among the 57 newest members of the Kauffman Fellows global network of Innovation Investors.
A founding partner at Dynamo Ventures, Sankar has been an early investor in prominent supply chain technology startups like Stord, Gatik AI, and SVT Robotics. Sankar has earlier been at Citigroup in their Global Financial Institutions Group focused on M&A, capital raising and risk securitization. A graduate of Penn State University with a B.S. in finance and minor in information systems management, Sankar started his first company, an I.T. support business, at the tender age of 13.
Goyal leads Imaginable Futures’ strategy and investments across Africa. Before joining Imaginable Futures and Omidyar Network, she worked at the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation to improve literacy and numeracy for children in India and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Goyal has 18 years of experience in working across the development and private sectors and is now a board member for Innovation Edge and SPARK Schools and a board observer for SmartStart in South Africa. Goyal, who holds a bachelor’s in electronics engineering from Thapar Institute of Engineering & Technology in India and an M.B.A. from INSEAD France, is also on the steering committee for the Global Schools Forum.
Shankar is a managing director at Syngenta Group Ventures, the Corporate Venture Capital arm of the Syngenta Group — the world’s leading Agri-inputs conglomerate. In 2017, he joined Syngenta Ventures as an investment manager and became a managing director in 2019. Shankar, whose areas of expertise include agri-fintech, emerging markets, digital and precision technologies and Agri e-commerce, has previously worked for eight years as a management consultant across the Boston Consulting Group and AT Kearney in their respective offices in India. He holds an M.B.A. from the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad and a bachelor’s in electrical power engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi.
Nimkar is a principal at a Nigeria-based early-stage investor called GreenHouse Capital, which focuses mainly on the Sub-Saharan Africa and MENA regions. She is involved in G.H.C.’s investment decision-making.
Nimkar, who has previously backed market champions such as Flutterwave, Helium health, Migo, NowMoney, and Dapi, runs a women entrepreneur acceleration program (GreenHouse Lab) that provides women founders with capital and resources. She went on to co-found a syndicate vehicle that supports under-represented immigrant founders across the globe. She holds a B.A. in economics and finance from Boston University.
According to the Kauffman Fellows website, “The two-year program is comprised of a structured curriculum presented in seven modules, approximately 3.5 days each, held approximately every quarter. Classes are held in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, and other cities which have built innovative entrepreneurial ecosystems such as Los Angeles and London.”
“Each constantly evolving module explores an essential theme of innovation investing. The seven modules focus on leadership essentials; developing and refining your investment thesis; seeing, picking, and winning the deal; personal brand; board best practices; talent ecosystems; the human dynamic; running the firm as a business; and fundraising. To enrich the curriculum and to add a fresh perspective, additional topics are discussed, such as design thinking, diversity, ethics, social responsibility, and life balance. Some sessions are designed to disrupt comfortable assumptions,” the website added.