Ronnie, an Indian entrepreneur and philanthropist, believes that emerging cities are going to be the next hotspots that will contribute to the startup wave. He is the co-founder of UpGrad, an online education company.
Starting his entrepreneurial journey with Pioneering Cable TV in India way back in 1981. In 1990, he founded UTV that grew to become one of the largest and most diversified media and entertainment entities in India – spanning Television Content, Games, Broadcasting channels and a Movie Studio. In early 2012 Disney acquired UTV, after many years of actively being invested in the company. He continued for 2 years thereafter as MD Disney UTV to complete the transition. In January 2014, Ronnie exited the company and in the process also exited the media and entertainment sector.
In 2012, Screwvala founded a private equity business called Unilazer Ventures Ltd. which invested in Dogspot, Zivame, Lenskart, Shopclues, niki.ai among others. Currently, he is focused on supporting and investing in the fast growing entrepreneurial ecosystem in India as also looking at building the next ground up business and spending time on The Swades Foundation which he founded in 2004. During the last decade, it had been active in rural Maharashtra with a single minded focus on empowering rural India with a goal to lift a million people out of poverty every 5-6 years. the foundation today is a 500-member strong team.
He has been named on Esquire’s List of the 75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century in 2008 and ranked 78 among the 100 most influential people in the world on the Time 100 compiled by Time Magazine in 2009). He was also listed among 25 Asia’s Most Powerful by Fortune Magazine, titled the Jack Warner of India by Newsweek, and named Entrepreneur of the year by Ernst & Young.
He has also written a book – Dream With Your Eyes Open – inspiring the first gen entrepreneurs to take the plunge.