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Indian Entrepreneurs Take Charge, Dream11 CEO Harsh Jain Elected Chairperson of IAMAI's New Council

Indian Tech Sector Takes a Stand, IAMAI's Bold Move to Exclude Big Tech Members

25 May 2023

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Kunal Tyagi

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  • IAMAI's new governing council signals a shift in leadership, with Indian entrepreneurs taking control of policy-making in the technology and startup sector.

  • Harsh Jain of Dream Sports is elected as the new chairperson, along with Rajesh Magow of MakeMyTrip as vice chairperson and Satyan Gajwani of Times Internet as treasurer.

  • The exclusion of Big Tech members from the council aims to address concerns about the industry body's alignment with their demands, particularly regarding Google's Play Store and billing policies.

The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has undergone a significant transformation with the election of its new 24-member governing council. This development represents a noteworthy shift in the leadership of the fast-evolving technology and startup sector in India. The absence of Big Tech members on the council demonstrates the determination of Indian entrepreneurs to assert greater control over policy-making. Harsh Jain, co-founder of Dream Sports, has been elected as the new chairperson, with Rajesh Magow of MakeMyTrip as vice chairperson, and Satyan Gajwani of Times Internet as the treasurer.


In addition to Jain, Magow, and Gajwani, the industry body's executive council will include Shubho Ray as president ex-officio. These appointments follow the recent election held by IAMAI, in which 83 members vied for a position on the governing council. The top three companies, based on the votes received, make up the executive council. This outcome aims to address the concerns of Indian entrepreneurs who sought stronger representation of homegrown companies within the leadership of IAMAI.


The deliberate exclusion of Big Tech companies from the IAMAI governing council was a strategic move. It reflects a sentiment that the industry body and Indian internet organizations had been unquestioningly endorsing the demands of Big Tech. In particular, there was dissatisfaction with Google regarding its Play Store and billing policies. The decision to keep Big Tech out of the council signifies a desire to ensure that the policy-making process aligns more closely with the interests of Indian entrepreneurs.


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Expressing his gratitude, Harsh Jain stated, "I am honored to be elected as the Chairman of IAMAI. I look forward to working with the Governing Council, IAMAI team, and all the members to foster a thriving Indian tech ecosystem that will unlock new opportunities and drive economic growth for India." Jain and the other council members will assume their roles at the upcoming Annual General Meeting in June, succeeding the outgoing council.


Before the election, a controversy erupted in April when IAMAI argued against the need for a separate digital competition framework aimed at regulating anti-competitive practices by Big Tech companies. Indian entrepreneurs criticized IAMAI, asserting that a digital competition law was indeed necessary. This disagreement shed light on the composition of the industry body's leadership. The election results indicate a response to these concerns and a willingness to address the perceived imbalance.


The election outcome does not imply a strained relationship between IAMAI and companies like Meta or Google. Despite the absence of their executives in key positions, these companies have been longstanding members of IAMAI and continue to engage with various trade bodies. The new leadership reflects a shift in the overall representation and decision-making process within the organization, but it does not preclude collaboration and interaction among industry stakeholders.


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