The IndUS Entrepreneurs (TiE) launches its Endowment Foundation; aims for $25 million in pledges

Ritu Jha-

The IndUS Entrepreneurs (TiE) announced the launch of a $25M TiE Endowment Foundation last weekend at its SoCal chapter’s 25th-anniversary gala held at the City of Industry, California.

A brainchild of TiE SoCal founder Navneet Chugh and TiE Global Board of Trustees Chair BJ Arun, the TiE Endowment Foundation (TEF) will invite 100 founders to contribute a minimum of $250,000 each towards setting up the $25M Endowment.

In an interaction with indica at the gala, Arun said TiE has over the last 30 years helped entrepreneurs create over a $1 trillion in value through its global network of 57 chapters spread across 14 countries. “TiE needs to further expand its reach into the heartland of America, India, and other under served entrepreneurial communities such as in Africa, etc. The TiE Endowment Foundation will help TiE and its chapters to further this ambitious goal.”

Arun clarified that this money is not going to be used for investment and nor will the capital ever be dipped into; “rather, the dividends from the Endowment will be utilized to further a global entrepreneurial ecosystem.” He said TiE co-founder Kanwal Rekhi and TiE SoCal’s Navneet Chugh were the first to write a check. “While there are many people within the TiE network of Charter Members and founders that have immense goodwill for the organization, I wanted to get the first dozen checks from our TiE leadership and insiders.”

Chugh said it was the lack of funds at TiE Global that prompted the need to create an endowment. “TiE Global supports close to 60 chapters in several countries but the revenue model is outdated and instead of charging membership fees, TiE members pay chapters and the chapters then pay a small portion to TiE Global. This is not sufficient. If TiE Global would charge an appropriate market-based membership fee, its revenue would increase 100 times.”

Who will benefit from TEF, though? Chugh said there is so much more that TiE can do. “Hold regional, national, and international conferences, have a speakers’ bureau, have a mentorship program for teenagers, connect south Asian movers and shakers from around the world, influence government policy, increase trade between south Asia and the rest of the globe, remedy corruption, help make governance, healthcare, infrastructure, and education system better. But all of this requires getting our act together and for that we need funds.”

In his 10-minute speech, Rekhi shared his journey on how Americans thought Indians are just nice techies. “Today, they are one percent of the population but several top US companies are led by Indian Americans,” he said. “Indians have set the bar in the US. India has 65,000 tech entrepreneurs, we should make it a million entrepreneurs.”

Rekhi on writing the first check to TiE Endowment Foundation told indica “TiE’s job is just starting.”

On why it took 30 years said, “We did not dream that big then.” And there is a lot of involvement needed. The market is right now and what we have achieved is phenomenal and more visible.”

“This[Endowment] is coming at the right time and we have to get to support Africa. This fund will contribute to the world. This endowment will allow and bring more stability and give resources to do their job, ” Rekhi said. “It has become a dream now.”


[Photo courtesy: indica]