Sijo Kuruvilla George on Tuesday (July 13) was appointed as the executive director of the Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF). George will now be responsible for all executive decisions undertaken by ADIF collectively.
Founded in 2020 and earlier called Atmanirbhar Digital Indian Foundation, the body is a think tank for India’s digital startups formed to fully capitalise on the sector’s promise with the objective of its long-term prosperity in mind.
In a conversation with Inc42, George spoke about what the role means to him and what are his plans for ADIF.
“I feel both excited and humbled. Excited about what the future holds and how as an organisation ADIF can play a pivotal role in shaping it. Humbled with being entrusted with the leadership and stewardship of the organisation in its formative years,” he said.
George believes that this role is a “fitting” next step for him personally. George has been a serial entrepreneur. He has founded MobME wireless solutions and Startup Village. George also is a partner at Upekkha, a value SaaS accelerator. He has been a consultant with PwC India for two years and a strategic advisor for AnitaB.org.
When asked what change of vision of ADIF will be under his leadership, he said that ADIF wants to catapult India into one of the best startup ecosystems in the world. As per him, the mission of ADIF should be to get India in the top 10 in terms of rankings. He said despite India being third in terms of the size of the ecosystem, it hovers around 20s in terms of global rankings. For him, ADIF will help India to be in the top 10 by 2025 and top 3 by 2030.
According to Global Global Startup Ecosystem Index 2021 by Startup Blink, India in 2020 was ranked 23 after slipping six spots in 2019. According to the new report, India managed to climb up and secured the 20th spot.
“If we are third-largest in size, we should aim to be at least third in terms of ranking as well. Therein the purpose and mission of ADIF,” he added.
As per George, all individuals and institutions that believe in the promise and are vested in the success of the Indian startup ecosystem are welcome to be a part of ADIF.
George said that ADIF will be focused on championing the sector, celebrating wealth creators, advocating for progressive enabling policies and truly being the voice of the Indian startup ecosystem.
Ritesh Malik who is the founder and CEO of Innov8 Capital and also a board member of ADIF said, “We welcome Sijo as the executive director of ADIF. With a strong and deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities that start-ups face today, Sijo will strengthen the efforts of ADIF to make India the best startup nation globally.
At its core, ADIF aims to bring together founders and startups that are vested in the success of Digital India. Sijo will help drive this collaboration and lead the alliance.”
Last year, George was also appointed as a member of the Central Government’s Expert Committee on Science and Technology Policy. He was the only person from the state of Kerala to be part of the eight-member panel. The expert committee team will be updating the existing 2013 policy with a thrust to be given to scientific innovations
George is a part of an expert committee to formulate the first stage of policymaking.