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Mahesh Yagnaraman

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Mahesh joined Acumen as Director of India in 2018. Before joining Acumen, he founded First Energy Private, Ltd., an alternative energy company, which he led as the CEO and Managing Director from 2009. Prior to that, Mahesh ran BP Energy BP’s biomass energy venture which sold cook-stoves and biomass fuel pellets to low-income consumers. When BP decided to spin off the company, Mahesh took over the business, pivoting the business several times and ultimately succeeded in building one of the most successful alternative energy companies in India, specializing in commercial biomass cooking solutions. In 2017, First Energy was acquired by Thermax Limited and Mahesh continues to serve on the company’s Board.

Earlier, Mahesh spent six years with BP as the Head of Strategy for Asia and the Middle East, as well as the Director of Global Trends, based out of London. Mahesh also spent three years working for BP & Castrol India in Mumbai as Customer Marketing Manager and ten years with Unilever in roles that spanned multiple functions across continents.

Mahesh’s experience of how a product could change the lives of the poor translated to a deep commitment to the social impact sector. He has followed the development of the sector closely, been an advisor to various social entrepreneurs and firms, and is now excited to join the Acumen India team as we look to deepen our impact with our portfolio work and grow our leadership program.

Mahesh studied Economics at Delhi University and holds an MBA from XLRI, Jamshedpur. For his entrepreneurship and work, Mahesh was conferred the honor of Distinguished Alumnus by XLRI in 2015.