A College Dropout, he sold vacuum cleaners from door to door and then found a home in advertising with Grey in India and Ogilvy in Hong Kong, where he won international notoriety as a creative director on HP, Microsoft, Unilever, The Economist, Pepsi and MTV – for whom he wrote and directed a spot voted Asia’s best commercial of the decade
Mahesh then returned to India to run Channel V, a rival to MTV, till its sale to Newscorp in 2000 and then founded Passionfund to invest in startups. Some of his investees include Geodesic (a 300-bagger), Compassbox – acquired by Careerlauncher, Cypherix, Indiaproperties, EBS and Webdunia. Mahesh penned a reasonably infamous column in Business Today and Businessworld, and played the Donald Trump-equivalent role in Business Baazigar, a game show involving entrepreneurs and business plans.
While running search marketing campaigns for his favourite charity in 2003, Mahesh believed there was a need for a pay-for-performance digital brand management firm – and set up Pinstorm in Bombay. With over 120 people across 6 offices in India, Singapore, Malaysia, Europe and the US, Pinstorm is today among the world’s leading digital marketing firms.
Mahesh has a passion for early-stage investing and teamed up with Pravin Gandhi and Bharati Jacob (ex-Infinity) in 2006 to set up Seedfund, today a leading early-stage venture capital fund in India. Seedfund already has 12 investments, including Carwale, RedBus, AFAQs and Vaatsalya.
Mahesh is also a columnist in The Wall Street Journal.