SAM PITRODA is an internationally respected development thinker, policymaker, inventor and entrepreneur who has spent over fifty-five years in telecom development.
Credited with having laid the foundation of India’s technology and telecommunications revolution in the 1980s, during Rajiv Gandhi’s government, Pitroda has been a leading campaigner in helping to bridge the global digital divide. In the mid-1990s, he founded Worldtel in London to help privatize telecom in developing countries. He invented the electronic diary in 1974, the mobile wallet in 1996, and set up C-SAM Inc., acquired by MasterCard in 2013. From 2005 to 2014, Pitroda was chairman of the National Knowledge Commission and adviser to the Indian prime minister with a cabinet minister’s rank. He was also chairman of the National Innovation Council and Smart Grid Task Force, and a key part of efforts in railway modernization, and the development of public broadcast reforms. He is the founder, investor and chairman of six start-ups and five non-profit foundations. Pitroda holds over 100 patents and 20 honorary PhDs and has published and lectured extensively around the world. He is a member of the American Academy of Engineers. His autobiography, Dreaming Big, was published in 2015.