Vikram Akula

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Vikram
Vikram Akula at the India Economic Summit 2008 cropped.jpg
Born Ryakal Village, Medak district, Telangana, India
Nationality American
Alma mater Tufts University
Yale University
University of Chicago
Occupation Founder, SKS Microfinance
Parent(s) Akula V. Krishna
Padma Krishna

Vikram Akula is a pioneer in market-based approaches to financial inclusion. He is the founder and former chairperson of SKS Microfinance, an organization that offers microloans and insurance to poor women in India. He stepped down as SKS Chairperson in November 2011 and became Chairperson Emeritus.[1] Akula is also a seed investor and a Director in AgSri, a sustainable agriculture company focused on helping small sugarcane farmers reduce water use, and in Bodhi Educational Society, which establishes schools for underprivileged children in India.[2][3] For his work in financial inclusion, he was named by TIME magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2006.[4]

Akula currently serves as Chairperson of Vaya Finserv Private Limited.[5] Founded in 2014, the India-based company provides financial services to low-income groups on behalf of partner banks.[6][7]

Early Life and Education[edit]

Akula's father, Akula.V. Krishna, was a surgeon who settled in Schenectady, N.Y., where Akula went to school.[8] Akula graduated from Niskayuna High School in 1986 and enrolled at Tufts University, where he graduated as a double major in philosophy and English with honors in 1990.[9] He went to Yale University for a M.A. in International Relations, and was awarded a fulbright scholarship for an action-research microfinance project in India in 1994-95. He completed his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago in 2004. [10]

Career[edit]

Upon graduating from Tufts, Akula returned to India and worked with the Deccan Development Society, a small grassroots rural non-profit organization in 1990. He then worked for the Worldwatch Institute in Washington D.C. as a researcher, where he wrote articles about poverty and sustainable development. During his Fulbright, Akula returned to the Deccan Development Society, where he helped manage the organization’s microfinance program.[11] Akula saw the limitation of non-profit microfinance and proposed a more market-based approach. He outlines his philosophy in his book, A Fistful of Rice; My Unexpected Quest to End Poverty Through Profitability, published by Harvard Business Press in 2010.[2]

SKS Microfinance[edit]

In 1996, Akula completed his Fulbright and went to the University of Chicago to pursue his Ph.D. As a Ph.D. student, he created a business plan for a for-profit microfinance company and in December 1997, Akula returned to India to set up Swayam Krishi Sangam (SKS) as a vehicle to implement the plan. Initially set up as a non-profit, SKS converted to the for-profit SKS Microfinance in 2005.[10] SKS Microfinance secured a round of equity investment of $11.5 million in March 2007, led by Sequoia Capital.[12] In November 2008, SKS raised an equity investment of $75 million, the largest equity investment raised by an MFI to that date.[13] SKS raised additional equity from Infosys founder Narayan Murthy and Bajaj Allianz, which represented the first-ever microfinance investment by an insurance company.[14][15]

In mid-August of 2010, SKS Microfinance had an Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the Bombay Stock Exchange, which was oversubscribed 14 times and which included anchor investors such as George Soros.[16][17] According to the company's website, SKS Microfinance has disbursed more than $5 billion in micro-loans.[18]

Akula resigned from the Executive Chair position on November 23, 2011 and he relinquished his role as a promoter of SKS on May 3, 2014.[19][20]

Influences[edit]

When founding SKS, Akula drew inspiration from the work of Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel prize winner and founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, one of the world’s first microfinance organizations.[citation needed] In a face-to-face debate with Yunus at the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative, Akula insisted that going public is the only way for an MFI to raise sufficient funds to provide micro-loans for billions of poor people in need worldwide.[21]

Awards and Recognition[edit]

Akula has received several awards for his work with SKS.

  • Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People of the Year in 2006.[22]
  • Social Entrepreneur of the Year in India, 2006.[23]
  • Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in India (Start-up, 2006)[24]
  • Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in India (Business Transformation, 2010)[25]
  • India Today, India’s 50 Most Powerful People, 2009. [26]
  • Forbes India, Person of the Year nominee, 2009. [27]
  • Godfrey Phillips National Bravery Award, 2010. [28]
  • World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leader award, 2008.[3]
  • Echoing Green Poverty Alleviation Economic Development - 1998 Fellow[29]
  • Karmaveer Puraskaar Noble Laureates, 2006-2007.[30]



References[edit]

  1. ^ "Boss of Indian microfinance firm SKS steps down", BBC.com, 24 November 2011. Retrieved on 24 March 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Vikram Akula - India Development Service", India Development Service, Retrieved on 24 March 2015.
  3. ^ a b "World Economic Forum - Vikram K. Akula". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 27 December 2012. 
  4. ^ Rawe, Julie (2006-04-30). "TIME 100: The People Who Shape Our World - Vikram Akula". Time. Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  5. ^ "Akula appointed chairman of financial inclusion start-up Vaya Finserv - Business Standard News". Business Standard. 11 December 2014. Retrieved 9 March 2015. 
  6. ^ "Vaya Finserv Pvt. Ltd: Private Company Information - Businessweek". Bloomberg Business. Retrieved 9 March 2015. 
  7. ^ "Vikram Akula's Next Big Gig", Business Today, 1 March 2015. Retrieved on 24 March 2015.
  8. ^ "NRI named TIME 100: The People Who Shape Our World" NRIInternet.com, May 1 2006. Retrieved on 19 March 2015.
  9. ^ "Niskayuna Alumni Hall of Fame Honorees" niskayunaschools.org, Retrieved on 19 March 2015.
  10. ^ a b "Vikram Akula | Echoing Green", Echoing Green, Retrieved on 17 March 2015.
  11. ^ "Vikram Akula | Tufts Fletcher School", Tufts University, Retrieved on 17 March 2015.
  12. ^ "Sequoia Invests $11.5 Million in Microfinance Fund" CNBC.com, 29 March 2007. Retrieved on 8 July 2015.
  13. ^ "MICROCAPITAL STORY- SKS Microfinance Raises $75.4m in Equity Capital in Transaction Led by Sandstone Capital" Micro Capital, 14 November 2008. Retrieved on 8 July 2015.
  14. ^ "Narayana Murthy's Catamaran Invests Rs 28Cr In SKS" VCCircle, 26 March 2010. Retrieved on 8 July 2015.
  15. ^ "Bajaj Allianz picks 2.5% stake in SKS Microfin" The Financial Express, 3 July 2009. Retrieved on 8 July 2015.
  16. ^ "SKS Microfinance Shares Jump in Mumbai Trading Debut" Bloomberg.com, 15 August 2010. Retrieved on 24 March 2015.
  17. ^ "SKS share offer oversubscribed 14 times", TheHindu.com, 2 August 2010. Retrieved on 24 March 2015.
  18. ^ phttp://www.sksindia.com/numbers_and_stats.php "SKS: Our Work: What Impact We Make: Numbers and Stats", Retrieved on 8 July 2015.
  19. ^ "Vikram Aklula no longer promoter of SKS micro finance". Times of India. 2014-03-05. Retrieved 2014-03-09. 
  20. ^ "A Microlending Star Moves On", "WSJ.com", 23 November 2011, Retrieved on 8 July 2015.
  21. ^ "A Big Split Over Microfinance", Forbes, 10 October 2010. Retrieved on 17 March 2015.
  22. ^ Rawe, Julie (2006-04-30). "TIME 100: The People Who Shape Our World - Vikram Akula". Time. Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  23. ^ "Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship - Profiles". Schwab Foundation. Retrieved 27 December 2012. 
  24. ^ "Entrepreneur of the Year 2011: Start-up companies - Ernst & Young - India". Ernst & Young. Retrieved 27 December 2012. 
  25. ^ "EOY 2009 winners - Ernst & Young - India". Ernst & Young. Retrieved 27 December 2012. 
  26. ^ "India's 50 Most Powerful People 2009" Bloomberg, Retrieved on 19 March 2015.
  27. ^ "The TightRope Walker" Forbes, 19 December 2009. Retrieved on 19 March 2015.
  28. ^ "Dr. Vikram Akula wins Special Social Achievement Award", Retrieved on 8 July 2015.
  29. ^ "Vikram Akula - 1998 Fellow". Echoing Green. Retrieved 27 December 2012. 
  30. ^ "Karmaveer Puraskar - Awardees by Category". Karmaveer Puraskar. Retrieved 27 December 2012. 

External links[edit]