Manoj Kumar is the Founder of Social Alpha, a multistage innovation curation and venture development platform for science and technology start-ups that aim to solve the most critical social, economic and environmental challenges. Social Alpha focuses on “lab to market” enablement and supports mission driven entrepreneurs through a network of innovation labs, venture incubators, accelerator programmes, seed funds and market access support. Since its inception in 2016, Social Alpha has nurtured more than 150 start-ups, including 40+ investments. Prior to founding Social Alpha, Manoj has been an entrepreneur as well as an early stage venture investor.
Manoj serves on the boards of a number of companies, non-profits and research institutions. Manoj is the Founding Trustee of TIGS and a Senior Advisor to Tata Trusts, leading Tata Trusts’ engagements with universities and institutions globally. Manoj is an alumnus of Harvard Business School and lives in Bangalore, India.
Aparna Uppaluri is currently the Chief Operating Officer, leading philanthropic programs at the Tata Trusts with operational and strategic planning oversight over all thematic areas including livelihoods, health, nutrition, WaSH as well as Arts & Culture. In her previous role, she served as Senior Global Program Officer at the Ford Foundation and acting Program Director of the Foundation’s India, Nepal, Sri Lanka office. She is an interdisciplinary professional in the fields of philanthropy, women’s rights, public health, education, arts, and culture. Her work has focused on addressing issues of inequality and building gender justice across sectors. Her global work has included nurturing philanthropic collaboratives, intergovernmental partnerships, and strategic field building across thematic areas. She has managed large collaborative funds with global teams across the world. She trained as an epidemiologist and worked in public health and health systems research for over 14 years in Canada and India where she worked at the University Health Network (Toronto) and McMaster University. She led the Science and Society Program at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore, India from 2014 to 2017. She was also Founder Director of the Antara Collective, Bangalore – a performing arts collective in Bangalore which she ran for 10 years. Through this engagement she worked closely with artist and artisan communities across the country and worked to promote conservation, adaptation and livelihoods.
She was educated in Canada at Queen’s University (in Life Sciences) and the University of Toronto (in Community Health and Epidemiology).