The Ageless Warrior

Venkatesha Babu | Updated on: Jul 16, 2022
Ashok Soota starts his latest venture, Happiest Minds

Ashok Soota starts his latest venture, Happiest Minds

IT industry veteran Ashok Soota reinvents himself– at 79, he launches a new venture

Venkatesha BabuMost people at 79 look forward to kicking back and relaxing, forget about launching a new venture. That is what makes Ashok Soota different. Spry and energetic, Soota has always been unconventional and a risk taker. He is among the few people who have had a hand in India’s IT industry becoming the global colossus it is today.

In 1984, joining Western India Palm Refined Oils (WIPRO) in its IT division when it had a mere ₹7 crore turnover and only exiting after taking its topline to $500 million, he proved to be an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur. At 56, he co-founded Mindtree to only leave 11 years later and start Happiest Minds Technologies, his latest venture. This inherent risk-taking and breaking the mould probably was an ofshoot of his itinerant background, as he reveals. His parents hailed from Dera Ismail Khan and Dhera Ghazi Khan in what is now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (earlier the North West Frontier Province ) on the Pakistan – Afghanistan border. His father, a doctor in the pre-partition British army, often got posted in different places and that nomadic lifestyle made Soota study in 12 schools before the age of 12. That made him adabtable to changes, and instilled curiosity in him.

He initially worked with the DCM Shriram Group for 19 years, where he helped turn around the loss – making refrigeration and air-conditioning business, before a mutual acquaintance introduced him to Premji and the rest is history. Since then Soota has repeatedly reinvented himself. Happiest Health, his latest venture will focus on providing in-depth and credible information about health and wellness, in tandem with renowned medical institutions, not unlike say what WebMD does, though he is dismissive of that comparison.

Given his track record, few would bet against Soota spinning out another winner. Age you see is after all just a number.

Published on July 17, 2022
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