Asha founded Dot Edu Ventures in March 2000 to fund innovative technologies emerging from top US universities. Among her many investments are Bytemobile, Kaltix (now Google), Jareva (now Veritas), and Mimosa Systems.

Alongside her career in venture capital Asha founded and ran as CEO iScale Inc, a peered networking company for distributing large file content across the internet using proprietary technology. Before iScale Asha was an angel investor and advisor in various silicon valley startups.

Asha studied civil engineering for undergrad in India and transitioned into urban planning and policy studies for graduate studies at USC, UC Berkeley, and Stanford. She held several research and analyst positions at multinational agencies such as the United Nations' Transnationals Corporation and the World Bank while pursuing graduate studies. Her civil engineering and urban planning work included projects such as the Los Angeles Metro Rail.

Asha Jadeja

ASHA JADEJA’s opening remarks
InDialogues 2012. 26 Jan. Davos. Switzerland

I have this view of taking the poverty in India and lack of institutional structures as a huge plus. When I think of disruptive education and policies for eg in the US, we know that it will be difficult to implement - simply because the old structures of education are so solid and there is so much of legislative hand holding that needs to be done and there are are too many rules and regulations that you have to navigate. In a developed economy, it is difficult to navigate those structures.

In India thanks to poverty and structures there is an opportunity to leap frog innovation and it is an opportunity to really go out of the normal structures of education, schools and colleges and it's something that I am excited about and working on is the opportunity to take learning out of normal school and college boundaries and its actually happening. India right now is buzzing with innovation at the grassroots already. I think if a platform can connect these dots there is a tsunami waiting to happen and you will find that a lot of kids who don't have access to education are not even going to apply and my guess is that 5 years from now you will have amazing talent learning what they need to learn and they can meet an employment index. So, to Soumitra's point that because of a lack of structure there is freedom to be able to leap frog, go outside and work in a sector you really want to work in. You can actually see a lot of potential. As long as the government steps out and the private sector has investments - whether it is public schools or private schools is going to be more innovation and more research and good models coming out.

I don't think spending on R and D is going to do much as it has shown for the last 50 years. Especially in the IITs, the quality of faculty, the students are great but in the IITs the quality of faculties is still very low. And outside the IITs, the quality of faculty in other engineering colleges is dismal. And as a result you find that there is a lack of motivation for students to continue on in engineering colleges and the production of engineers in India is absolutely sub optimal. There are guys who are coming out with these degrees and you see these statistics in the West that oh India is producing a million engineers or something. I think its actually a very fake statistic, it’s a very dicey statistic, because the engineering talent is not very robust. But on the flip side I do see this is a huge opportunity for new structures to evolve. There was a study done by Prof Rafeeq Dausani in Stanford who had studied all these classes just in the IITs and discovered that 95% students in the IITs don’t learn from the classrooms, they're learning outside from the dorms. So in that case what are these classrooms there for? I think the disruption that is going to happen is on delivering these learning technologies to these bright pool of students, and that’s where I'm investing both as a venture capitalist and as a social investor and somewhat through Acumen Fund also.

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