Dear Friend of Ashaya,

My goal is to keep you in the loop as this journey unfolds. To start with, you can expect updates every quarter. If you see us falling off a cliff before we see it ourselves, let us know, and if there a hole you can help fill, please don’t be shy. All the while, I promise not to spam you. But, if this is something that your inbox can do without, please do not hesitate to unsubscribe — no harm, no foul, no love lost.

The big news is that I have found a Chief Scientist! A month and a half ago, I put out a call for a co-founder who could fill in the science part of the equation. Someone who could help Ashaya figure out how to increase the value of waste so that we can do good with it, especially for those who are the most exploited in the waste supply chain.

The response was overwhelming. Not only did I get a slew of applications, but people from literally all over the world reached out on LinkedIn and via email to help or support the cause. I have barely started, and there’s a long way to go, but I feel lucky to have all this support.

I received over 500 applications for the Chief Scientist role. But only about a hundred of those applicants made it to the website and applied formally. A few were too lazy to write cover letters. A handful thought that instead of writing a cover letter, they could just upload their resume twice and I wouldn’t notice. In the end, though, twenty candidates were shortlisted, out of which three made it to the final round.

After five intense rounds of interviews, including case studies and technical interviews, I would like to warmly welcome Jitendra (Jitu) Samdani to Ashaya as the Co-founding Chief Scientist! Jitu is about to finish his Ph.D. in Energy Science and Engineering from DGIST in Daegu, South Korea. He has a Masters in Physical Chemistry from the University of Pune and has contributed to 11 peer-reviewed publications in electro-chemistry and materials science. He has a deep-rooted passion for research, especially around converting waste into a resource. But most importantly, he is inherently aligned with the vision, mission and values that Ashaya aims to uphold.

After the formalities were done with, Jitu said to me, “Anish, this is the only opportunity I applied to. I came across your post on Linkedin and thought this is exactly what I want to do in India, so why not do it with him?”

We will be setting up shop in Pune, Maharashtra. Our goal in the next three months is to finalise our starting point within the vast landscape of waste recycling, establish collaborations with local universities and research institutes, and set up our research process so we can start rapid testing and prototyping.

Yes, there’s a lot to figure out, but both of us are pumped to get going! Don’t worry, we’ll keep you informed. And in the meantime, if there are any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out.

I hope you and your family are keeping safe and well.


P.S. Ashaya is pronounced “uh-shaa-yaa” (in case you were confused, and no, you wouldn’t be the only one).


This is the first letter that was sent out to our supporters. If you want to follow the journey of a new social enterprise focused on waste management and poverty in India, receive this in your inbox by signing up here. We promise we won’t spam you!