South Asia Programme Mentors

Nicole van der Elst Desai
Nicole van der Elst Desai
Nicole van der Elst Desai is Founder of VDE Consultancy. With more than 20 years of experience working in the textile and apparel industry covering brands & retailers, as well as their manufacturing partners, she is a valued expert in the field of textile innovation, technology and sustainability. Nicole set up her own consultancy company in Singapore in 2008 and has since worked with clients as DyStar, STS, Yeh Group. Nicole is the technical partner with Forum for the Future on the Circular Leap Asia program, a program designed to enhance empowerment of the fashion manufacturers to move to circular fashion, a member of the advisory board of Living wear, council member at Textile and Fashion Federation (TaFF) and is a specialist mentor with The Bridge Fashion Incubator (TBFI).
Anupam Prasad
Anupam Prasad
Anupam Prasad has over 15 years of post-qualification experience in advising Indian and foreign clients on acquisitions, joint ventures, private equity investments, financing, India entry strategy, fintech, media & entertainment advisory, private client practice, employment laws, TMT, data privacy and general commercial law advisory under Indian laws. Prior to founding the Firm, Anupam was a Partner at Indus Law and has had experience working at top tier firms like Khaitan & Co and Nishith Desai Associates.
Dr. Rajesh Kumar Singh
Dr. Rajesh Kumar Singh
Dr. Singh is the Senior Director (Business Development & Services), India and southeast Asia at Sphera India (erstwhile thinkstep), a subsidiary of Sphera Solutions Inc, US. He comes with more than 28 years of experience in the areas of Product and Corporate Sustainability. He has been instrumental in propagating LCA and EPD concept in India for 13 years amongst Industries and academia. Before founding the Indian subsidiary of thinkstep in 2008, Dr. Singh was part of Steel Authority of India Limited for 16 years. He has contributed to help more than 100 companies for design and development of sustainability framework, conducted more than 200 Life Cycle Assessment/EPD studies and also published more than 25 papers in international journals and presented at multiple national and international conferences.
Sagar Tandon
Sagar Tandon
Sagar Tandon is an intrapreneur, entrepreneur, and impact investor based in Jakarta, Indonesia. Sagar is currently involved in setting up the Indonesia Women Empowerment Fund, backed by the Australian Government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Also, Sagar is a venture affiliate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology D-Lab (Scale-Up Fellows) and creator of First Followers, a weekly newsletter about impact investing venture capital, and venture building centred around investing in impact sectors.
Amish Gosai
Amish Gosai
Amish has more than 14 years of experience in sustainable textile/fashion & food, innovative sourcing practices, circular products & recycling, animal welfare standards, traceability tools, and assurance. He studied a Bachelor of Engineering in Textile and his MBA in Luxury Goods and Fashion Industry from Mod'Art International Paris, France. He works with Raw material producer on a farm, with the textile industry, with brands and retailers, and currently working as South Asia Manager for Textile Exchange and leading Organic non-food, Recycling, Traceability tool, and assurance. 
Prachi Jain
Prachi Jain
Prachi Jain is the Director of Achieving Women Entrepreneurs (‘AWE’) Funds which focusses on gender lens impact investing. She is part of senior leadership team and core investment team member of AWE Funds. She has 12+ years of experience in private equity industry. She has worked with funds like YES Fund, SEAF India Agribusiness Fund, New Leaf Consumer Fund and was part of financial services team of Ambit RSM (merged with PWC).  She was the winner of Top 100 Women in Finance 2020 presented by Association of International Wealth Management of India (‘AIWMI’). Prachi is passionate about creating an eco-system for women entrepreneurs and has been mentoring, coaching and advising women entrepreneur across the sectors.
Hemendra Mathur
Hemendra Mathur
Hemendra Mathur has over 24 years experience in venture capital, private equity, management consulting and investment banking. He is a mentor, investor, board member and adviser in many food and agritech start-ups working on innovations in areas such as agri-inputs, market linkages, mechanisation, food nutrition and value chain financing. He is currently working as Venture Partner with Bharat Innovation Fund, and he is co-founder of ThinkAg. He is also an advisor to a few Foundations, Multilaterals and Funds with interest in Indian food and agribusiness sector.
Laura Francois
Laura Francois
Laura Francois is a trained social impact strategist working globally to empower startups, non- profits and governments to maximise sustainability and use creativity in business as a force for good. The co-founder of impact entrepreneurship program, The Spaceship, Laura previously led the Fashion Revolution movement in both Malaysia and Singapore, co-founded global artisan based platform Artisan & Fox and creative impact studio, ANEWKIND.   Laura has been a guest lecturer at INSEAD University, Lasalle College, New Campus and mentor at The Bridge Fashion Incubator in sustainable systems and circular economy where she helped launch over 25 startups.
Lara Pizzato
Lara Pizzato
Lara Pizzato is a digital strategist, brand consultant and startup advisor at the intersection of technology, sustainability and fashion. With a deep understanding of what makes people buy, a passion for sustainability and fashion and over a decade of international experience working with startups, Lara has developed a unique, holistic approach to marketing. Former Entrepreneur in Residence at the first ever IKEA Bootcamp, she's currently a mentor at Fashion for Good Accelerator, Sustainable Accelerator in London and Virgin Startup, and collaborates with the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.
Amir Sheikh
Amir Sheikh
Amir Sheikh is a Senior Consultant at Gherzi Consultancy. A textile value chain expert with over 20 years of experience in textile marketing, managed diversified projects assignments in business and product management, market expansion in textile chemical, fibres and value chain development. He represents Gherzi in India, evaluating strategic investment options and transforming business through new sustainable solutions with emphasis on digital transformation in textile and fashion world.
Alexie Sommer
Alexie Sommer
Alexie Sommer is an established designer and communicator working within the fields of Design, Sustainability and Communication. With over 20 years industry experience, she applies both strategic thinking and human intuition to deliver positive impact. As a consultant and mentor Alexie works with her clients to help them process internally prior to intelligently communicating their value and creatively evolve their brands. Sustainable Human at Group of Humans and founding member of URGE collective, she previously worked as creative director at Thomas Matthews, and design director for creative at The Guardian newspaper group.
Sushant Bhatia
Sushant Bhatia
Sushant is currently the Regional (Investment) Manager with Caspian Debt. He is responsible for Due Diligence, Portfolio Management and venture ecosystem building activities. He manages a portfolio of enterprises in high impact sectors like Healthcare (primary focus), Education and CleanTech. He started his professional journey in 2010, and worked for initial 4 years in operations and technology roles prior to getting into impact investing in 2016.
Sandipan Chattopadhyay
Sandipan Chattopadhyay
A winner of the ‘Red Hat Innovator of the Year’ award among several others, Sandipan brings over two decades of experience across various technology roles. A statistics graduate from ISI, he earned his MBA from IIM Calcutta. Prior to founding Xelp, he was the CTO at Just Dial, a local search engine, where he built and scaled the technology stack, taking it from a mere number to the technology powerhouse it has become. When he joined Just Dial, the company was clocking about 30,000 calls per day, a number that had rocketed to 4.8 million user queries a day by December 2015 when he exited.
Richa Pandey
Richa Pandey
Richa Pandey is a Patent Attorney and a Partner with Krishna and Saurastri Associates, Delhi (Gurgaon) office. She is an advocate and a registered patent agent. Her core work areas include patent filing, patent prosecution, patent opposition, patent litigation, patentability opinions, searches, invalidity opinions and portfolio management. She holds a Degree in Law and a Bachelor’s Degree in Science from the University of Lucknow, and has also been a guest speaker at various national & International conferences on Intellectual Property.
Maurits Bos
Maurits Bos
Maurits is a pragmatic attorney specializing in venture capital work such as; investments (series seed/A/B, equity/convertibles/SAFEs); corporate structuring and founder arrangements; employee/management participation plans; fund formation; M&A; commercial contracts. Maurits has a strong focus on working for impact driven entrepreneurs and impact investors, as well as clients in the innovative technology sector. He is a mentor at various accelerators and an active contributor to open source legal documentation platform Capital Waters.
Marieke Lenders
Marieke Lenders
Marieke is Head of Enviu’s Reweave Program, building circular and fair ventures in the fashion industry. She has 10+ years of experience in international consulting and venture building, with the goal of making global value chains more sustainable. She firmly believes in combining profitable business models with impact generation, which is exactly what Enviu stands for. She’s an idealist with a hands-on mentality, knowing what it takes to build a scalable business from the ground up.
Dr. Siva Pariti
Dr. Siva Pariti
Dr. Siva Pariti holds 10 years work experience with Dystar Group and STS, being an integral part of the STS Senior Management Team. Dr. Siva engages with the industries’ stakeholders developing the most practical solutions to complex challenges. Being a passionate teacher, Dr. Siva is responsible to ensure excellence of STS services globally and leads the STS training academy. He is member, Advisory Board for ZDHC Academy and is an approved ZDHC Training Provider. He has obtained his B.Sc. (Tech.) M.Sc (Tech), and Ph.D. (Tech) from Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT) formerly known as University Department of Chemical Technology (UDCT) in the field of Intermediates and Dyestuff Technology Division.
Anuj Sharma
Anuj Sharma
Anuj has ~2 decades of work experience in international structuring, impact investing, transaction advice, blended finance and legal strategy. He is a well-known name in the global impact investing & social enterprise landscape. He has worked in 15 countries worldwide and holds the following qualifications: BSc, FCA, MFM, CRMA (Harvard) | Founder and CEO, ALSiSAR IMPACT® | Transaction advice | Investing impact.