Nish Acharya - Chief Executive Officer​​

Vishwanath brings over 12 years of diverse work experience spanning multiple geographies and disciplines. He has worked in India, the UK and the US with roles in Sales & Marketing, Logistics, Financial Analysis, Performance Management and General Management. He has leveraged his diverse skill set to deliver creative business solutions at Fortune 500s as well as at startups in rural India. At Equal Innovation, Vish combines his management skills with his passion for doing good, to provide the structure and support required to ensure that our consulting practice and acceleration programs maximize their impact. 

In his earlier roles, Vish managed financial analysis for (CSR pioneer) Gap apparel's global logistics division, in the US. Prior to Equal Innovation, he was the Head of Business Navigation at Holisol Logistics, in a general management capacity, and also helped Holisol close a $10M VC funding deal. In 2013, Vish moved to rural Tamil Nadu to start a venture with a triple-bottom-line, which developed his understanding of the challenges of India’s invisible rural poor. Vish has an MBA from the Sam M Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, and received his B Com. from the University of Madras.

Recent Associates

Marybeth Lilly 

Marybeth worked with Equal Innovation / Citizence as a Summer Associate in 2016.  Her research focused on the best practices related to sustainability by America’s Fortune 500 companies.  In addition, she is a Senior at the University of Delaware in environmental engineering.

Brendan McBrine

Brendan works with Equal Innovation/Citizence as a researcher, assisting the organization to review grant making and sustainability practices among American corporate grant makers and private philanthropists.  In addition, he conducts policy analysis with PAI Associates and is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Rajal Kothari 

Rajal Kothari served as a Research Associate for Equal Innovation/Citizence from June 2015 – August 2016.  During that time, she provided marketing and communication support for Citizence’s work with the Calvert Foundation.  More recently, she assisted the organization with their outreach to American foundations to develop strategies around impact investing.

Sameer Acharya

Sameer serves as a Social Media/Communications Consultant for Equal Innovation/Citizence.  A freelance writer based in Los Angeles, Sameer is helping Equal Innovation develop its Social Media strategy and assists with online and print communications.

stay connected

Nish Acharya is CEO of ​Equal Innovation Consulting, a firm that consults with some of the world’s leading universities, governments, foundations and companies to assist them with innovation, entrepreneurship and globalization strategies. Mr. Acharya is currently leading a social enterprise investment fund for the Calvert Foundation, serving as a Senior Fellow with the Center for American Progress and as a Visiting Fellow with Gateway House: The Indian Council on Global Relations, and as a contributor to Forbes.  

Nish is also the author “The India-US Partnership: $1 Trillion By 2030” the path-breaking book recently published by Oxford University Press. In the book, Acharya lays out a roadmap for a relationship between the United States and India that is focused economic and societal development through innovation, entrepreneurship and building the capabilities of institutions in the United States and India to operate more effectively.  Scaling this relationship, Acharya believes, is one of the most important undertakings for both nations in the 21st century.

Nish previously served in the Obama Administration, where he was appointed by President Obama as the Director of Innovation & Entrepreneurship and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Commerce, where he led the President’s efforts to nurture economic growth through innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialization.  As part of his work, Nish managed the President’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship – a group of nationally known investors, entrepreneurs and university presidents that inspired the America JOBS Act that legalized crowdfunding.  Nish also engaged with twenty-six federal agencies to provide over $100 million in funds to universities, research centers and companies to increase the commercialization of federally-funded research.  He engaged with over 500 universities and colleges across the United States to boost their programs supporting innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialization.  

Prior to joining the Department of Commerce, Nish served as Executive Director of the Deshpande Foundation, a prominent American philanthropy focused on innovation, entrepreneurship and scalability around the world. Nish led the Foundation's strategic planning, grant making, evaluation and advocacy efforts.  Under his leadership, the Foundation’s “Sandboxes” – centers of innovation and entrepreneurship have become a leading international model for regional economic development.  During his tenure, the Foundation created a Sandbox in India, which supported innovation and entrepreneurs to reach over one million people.  Nish has also led the Foundation’s venture philanthropy, working to help scale Indian NGO’s like Akshaya Patra and Agastya and the United Way throughout India.  It also created Sandboxes to boost the economies of the Merrimack Valley cities of Lowell, MA and Lawrence, MA and New Brunswick, Canada.    

Nish was previously a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bretton Woods Committee, The Indus Entrepreneurs, and the Clinton Global Initiative.  He also served as a Board member of Akshaya Patra USA and the United Way Worldwide Leadership Global Advisory Council. 

Nish also served five years as a Presidential Appointee in the Clinton Administration. He has been quoted in many major publications, including Forbes, the Economist, the Boston Globe, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Asian Week, the Times of India, the Economic Times, the Financial Times, Newsweek, BBC and NPR.

Partner Organizations

​Equal Innovation Consulting is led by Nish Acharya, and collaborates with independent consultants and leading impact organizations worldwide.  

Vishwanath "Vish" Krishnan

General Manager - Equal Innovation Consulting, India

​Equal Innovation Consulting collaborates with the following independent organizations on various projects.

Since 1995, more than 13,500 investors have invested $800 million in Calvert's portfolio of nonprofits and social enterprises worldwide. It has enabled everyday individuals to invest in this change through its flagship Community Investment Note, which supports organizations creating positive social change. 

Nowadays, talent and new technologies concentrate in a series of hubs distributed around the world. StepOne’s network facilitates companies to have access to those hubs & ecosystems, enabling them to come together with high potential impact projects and cooperate to foster new opportunities.

Gateway House is a foreign policy think-tank established in 2009, to engage India’s leading corporations and individuals in debate and scholarship on India’s foreign policy and its role in global affairs. Gateway House’s studies program will be at the heart of the institute’s scholarship, with original research by global and local scholars in geo-economics, geopolitics, foreign policy analysis, bilateral relations, democracy and nation-building, national security, ethnic conflict and terrorism, science, technology and innovation, and energy and environment.

Equal Innovation CEO Nish Acharya, is a Senior Fellow with the Center for American Progress, focused on issues of economic growth, innovation & entrepreneurship.

The Center for American Progress is an independent non-partisan policy institute that is dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans, through bold, progressive ideas, as well as strong leadership and concerted action. Our aim is not just to change the conversation, but to change the country.

Nish Acharya, contributes to Forbes Media with a bi-monthly column on topics related to innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development.


​Equal Innovation Consulting leverages a large group of global experts to serve is clients and partners most effectively.  These individuals are, or have been, senior executives with multinational corporations, startups, venture capital, banks, NGO’s, universities and governments.  Some of the experts include:


  • A former Senior Official in the Obama Administration with expertise in running large government human services programs in the United States and abroad
  • A former Senior Official at the U.S. Department of Defense with extensive experience managing defense-sector product development and sourcing innovation worldwide
  • A former Minister in the Central Government of India
  • Several former members of the Indian Administrative Service / Indian Foreign Service
  • A former Senior World Bank Managing Director who led efforts in Africa and South Asia
  • A former Senior Executive with multiple government agencies in the Middle East


  • A former CEO of a American Fortune 500 financial services company
  • An entrepreneur and investor who has built five companies in the United States worth over $1 billion
  • Two entrepreneurs who have built one of India’s largest Internet companies
  • Several entrepreneurs with expertise in Internet & social media, telecommunications, Big Data, cloud and communications.
  • Several venture capitalists and investment bankers with expertise across verticals and with investment in startups

Non-Profits & Universities

  • A former senior executive with one of the world’s largest foundations
  • A former CEO of one of the world’s largest non-profit organizations
  • Over 50 former and current CEO’s of global NGO’s with expertise in areas like agriculture, public health, education, livelihoods, workforce development, higher education and urban renewal
  • Over 50 university research commercialization experts at universities and labs across the world.