Brij Kothari Founder, PlanetRead; Faculty, IIM Ahmedabad

Brij Kothari is an academic and social entrepreneur. He is on the faculty of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) and the founder of PlanetRead (non-profit) and BookBox (for-profit social enterprise), dedicated to scalable solutions for literacy and language learning, using ICTs. At IIM-A and PlanetRead, Brij and his team have innovated, researched and implemented Same Language Subtitling (SLS) on television for mass literacy. SLS on Bollywood film songs has the potential to deliver reading practice to half a billion weak-readers in India, prompting Bill Clinton to call it “a small change that has a staggering impact on people’s lives.” BookBox produces animated stories for children, powered by SLS, called, AniBooks, in more than 30 languages. The AniBooks are viewable on YouTube and via mobile apps. Brij is an Ashoka Fellow, a Schwab Social Entrepreneur and was a Reuters Digital Vision Fellow at Stanford University. His research primarily focuses on literacy and primary education in developing countries. The SLS innovation is the recipient of the International Literacy Prize from the Library of Congress (Washington, D.C.) and awards from the All Children Reading Grand Challenge (USAID), Tech Museum of Innovation (San Jose), the Institute for Social Inventions (London), Development Marketplace (World Bank) and the NASSOM Foundation. He has served on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council for Education (2012-2016). Brij grew up in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, India. He has a Ph.D. in Education from Cornell University and a Masters in Physics from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He is an avid tennis player and Bob Marley fan.