Digital Transformation, Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Social Ventures
Entrepreneur & Philanthropist
If a person, who has been globetrotting, establishing one successful organization after another, tells you “anything for the community,” you know you have met a man with convictions. When Arun Joshi was further asked, “is it not rather narrow-minded to give priorities to your community?” He answered “My community is my identity. When I get involved in the community, I am giving back. My horizons can be limitless, but that does not take me away from my roots”.
In 1977, an emergency ruling by Indira Gandhi in India brought Arun on the streets. While being out of engineering college and now working as an engineer in Godrej, he spent evenings and nights demonstrating against the emergency ruling, holding meetings, collecting funds and singing in the streets on the songs of the re-released movie ‘Albela’.
Arun feels that getting involved in the community has to start at an early age; our lives need to move through the “purpose journey from cradle-to-grave, rather than traditional sayings like retirees feeling a need to give something back.”
Along with his community work, Arun started showing the flare for business early in college. He and his buddy Mahendra, both negotiated several spots around Mahim, Dadar to install ‘Neera Stalls.’ While in VJTI engineering college and staying in the dorms in Vadala, he and his friend kept managing the stalls and making small side money from the endeavor. Eventually, around their graduation, they decided to give up the ownership to the worker/operators of the stalls. Arun’s few months of first employment, before leaving to U.S. was in Godrej & Boyce, as it was called then; this gave him ample opportunities to show his leadership skills and attitude to make changes on the factory floors. He organized floor cleaning campaigns, built and distributed dustbins using color codes, streamlining operations, and eventually getting kudos from Mr. Jamshed Godrej.
Landing in Kansas in late seventies to work on his Masters was rather a typical thrill. But he still can’t forget the adventures of selling encyclopedias and books door to door as a summer job in small towns in and around Valdosta, Georgia. Keeping a mild but apprehensive immigrant smile, slightly accented opening lines, wearing Bata shoes to put that right foot in cracked open door just to make an entry, well, these were all life learning lessons. He thinks about it now every time a salesman knocks on his door. Arun likes to tell that his summer job is worthy of a movie script. The hot sun, miles of walking with the heavy case of books, while making friends in every neighborhood got him through the summer, selling more than $10,000 worth of books and buying a $500 used car. He thinks it was his best introduction to the real America.
His early years in Intel were highly inspiring for his career and character building, as the founder President Mr. Andy Grove imbibed Intel culture into the workplace which was results-driven and highly productive. Arun picked up global business knowledge, got experience on large scale projects and people management skills. He still remembers showing off his Bar Code project for the whole factory when Mr. Grove came to visit Intel’s Oregon facility, and Arun got the chance to tour him around. He made a bar code name badge for Mr. Grove and allowed him to scan it wherever he stopped. Later in 2010, during an alumnus gathering, Arun spoke with Mr. Grove about it. Arun feels that his real entrepreneurial journey began during his early years at Intel.
Visulon & Brahma Capital:
Today, after his three start-ups, he still calls himself a startup visionary. His new company, Visulon took shape during last four years and is fully focusing on Digital Transformations of the product release and internal sales processes for large consumer brands like Coach, Levi’s, Bauer, McGregor etc. He recently started another new venture in artificial intelligence. Arun thinks that the ecosystems are changing and we would be relying more on Big Data, analytics, algorithms and deployment of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in our daily lives. This new initiative under the name Brahma Capital is to pursue and consolidate his vision and the plans in artificial intelligence.