Vishnu Swaminathan

India Country Director


Vishnu is presently the Country Representative for Ashoka Innovators for the Public in India. Vishnu leads Ashoka India's efforts to create an "Everyone a Changemaker" world—one where each person has the skills, drive, and resources to push forward solutions to pressing social and environmental problems, and each organization works to maximize the changemaking potential of its members. Vishnu also heads the Housing for All program at Ashoka in India, which is working on increasing the supply of affordable housing for low income communities in India on market based models. The program has reached 6 cities, catalyzing around 10,000 homes in a short period of 2 years. Vishnu is also recognised as a global expert in the area of market driven approaches to create new markets for the Base of the Pyramid (BOP) customers.

Before Ashoka, Vishnu co-founded and lead two companies working on Financial transactions and Animation technology in Singapore for 8 years. After one of the companies was acquired he moved to India to head a leadership school for three years, where he led the school's social effort by creating a independent Centre for Social Development and Governance.

He started his career as a 3D and Film Special effects artist. He holds a couple of patents from his ventures and has worked on a wide range of hybrid business models, technologies, innovations, communities and geographies. He lives with his family in Bangalore, India and enjoys photography.