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At 79, Soota Launches Fourth Venture | Bengaluru News


Bengaluru: He’s 79 and there’s no lack of energy. His voice remains firm and clear. On Thursday, as preparations were underway for the announcement of his fourth entrepreneurial venture, he was briskly walking around, overseeing arrangements, irritated and apologetic that the event was actually scheduled for 11.30am, when the invitations to the media had said 11am. On stage, he was the man in charge – orchestrating the flow, intervening to talk about his legacy of corporate governance, and supremely confident that what he’s about to do will beat anything the world currently offers.
Ashok Soota’s latest is Happiest Health – it follows his success with IT services companies Mindtree, and Happiest Minds, which he founded when he was 68. For weeks now, the word has been that Soota is trying to do a WebMD, the American portal that provides news and information about human health and well-being. But ask him about that, and he’s dismissive. He says nobody is doing a particularly good job of providing information about health the way the common person needs. “There’s a lot of repetitive factual information out there, but hardly any knowledge,” he said.
Happiest health, he said, would provide in-depth, trustworthy knowledge. It will provide research-driven content. It will have collaborations with renowned global medical institutions for content.
The portal has content arranged in 25 categories, it has patients’ video testimonials, articles by doctors, wellness experts, and patients, and advisories on issues such as how the elderly can prevent falls, and how to deal with a child’s mobile addiction. Happiest Health, Soota said, aims to be recognised amongst the top two trusted and credible sources of knowledge on health and wellness globally, while driving thought leadership for integrated medicine and gentler, kinder therapies.
The company is funded entirely by Soota. Initial monetisation will be through advertising, but Soota hopes to build other profit centres soon.
This is Soota’s second major initiative in healthcare. Last year, he had committed Rs 200 crore towards setting up a not-for-profit entity called Skan focused on ageing and neurological research. For that, he has two major partners, both in Bengaluru – the Centre for Brain Research (CBR) at Indian Institute Science (IISc), and the St John’s Geriatric Centre (SJGC). Some of the funds will also go to IIT-Roorkee, and the mental health institute Nimhans.
Soota did engineering from IIT Roorkee, and was in Shriram Refrigeration Industries when Azim Premji, in 1985, hired him to build Wipro’s then nascent IT business. Over the next 14 years, Soota became almost the face of Wipro, given Premji’s proclivity to stay in the background, and rose to be vice chairman of the company. In 1999, Soota led a group of 10 senior executives, from Wipro and other companies, to found Mindtree. Mindtree’s IPO in 2007 was oversubscribed 103 times. Happiest Minds went public in 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, and the issue was oversubscribed 150 times. The share listed 111% over the issue price.
For Happiest Health too, Soota already visualises an IPO. “By our fifth year, we want to be ready to go public,” he said.



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