With Karan D. Wadhera ’04

Wadhera lives in Mumbai, India. He is cofounder of Cashmere Asia, an entertainment and branding firm that works to bridge the gap between the East and West.

Q-How is your work with Cashmere Asia going?

A-It’s going very well. Similar to other sectors of the economy in India, the entertainment sector is in a period of evolution and growth, which allows new players like us to participate and make an impact on the landscape. Our work spans the entertainment industry, but primarily focuses on film, television, music, and live concerts. Though certainly a broad area of participation, we specialize in cross-border activities, enabling artists/brands from the U.S./Europe to make an impact in the Indian market and vice versa.

As India has become a more important player in the global economy, we are seeing an interest from our counterparties abroad that was never there before, whether it be from film studios, sports franchises, musicians, consumer brands, etc. It is an incredibly exciting time to be here.

Q-Can you paint a picture of India? What’s it like to live there?

A-India is a fascinating place to live, and I have enjoyed my past three years here immensely. If I were to paint you a picture, I would ask you to imagine a world of extremes living side by side. In a city like Mumbai, you are in the midst of a booming financial and entertainment capital with obvious signs of wealth and progress, while at the same time you also are surrounded constantly by poverty. Unlike other parts of the world, that juxtaposition is in the forefront at all times and not something that really can be avoided.

Q-How’s the economy doing?

A-The mood is excellent here and for the past few years there has been an overarching buzz and excitement to the activity on the ground. Our economy continues to thrive, though expectations for the country have been brought down to earth following the global pullback, similar to how it has in other parts of the world. Regardless, India is still a nation that continues to grow, and people on the ground are bullish on future prospects.

Q- How much importance is placed on entrepreneurship in India?

A-That is a good question. Unlike other BRIC economies, which may have an advantage due to the strength and power of their government or an abundance of natural resources, the Indian economy is dominated by companies established by innovative entrepreneurs. In that sense, the nation’s entrepreneurs are certainly celebrated and hold a great importance in our society.

However, as far as the next generation is concerned, I would say that young people here are not encouraged to pursue entrepreneurship, but rather to join established fields and vie for a steady paycheck. India is very much in need of more entrepreneurs. Those that are establishing some of the new businesses we see today are individuals coming from abroad or those who have been raised in entrepreneurial families. Hopefully, in time, the risk appetite of the next generation will grow, and we will see more domestic-bred entrepreneurs in India.

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