Tej Kohli is a technologist and investor who backs ventures in the fields of artificial intelligence, robotics and biotechnology. His career as an entrepreneur culminated in the sale of his e-commerce and online payments business in 2006. Since this major liquidity event Tej Kohli has been an evangelist of the promise of technology to improve human life and has backed ventures all over the world. He is also the owner of the Zibel real estate portfolio and the owner of several global e-commerce providers including dynacart.
Tej Kohli is best known for his mission to eliminate poverty-driven corneal blindness worldwide by 2035. Since 2005 his not-for-profit Tej Kohli Foundation has become a global centre of interdisciplinary innovation for the development of new solutions. In 2018, IIT Kanpur conferred the Distinguished Alumnus Award upon Tej Kohli in recognition of his achievements developing solutions to major global health challenges through the not-for-profit Tej Kohli Foundation.
In 2019 The Telegraph profiled Tej Kohli's plans to turbo-charge the start-up scene in the United Kingdom and the Financial Times reported on his mission to end corneal blindness worldwide by 2035. Mr Tej Kohli has also funded innovative research at some of the world's leading institutions, including at the Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology; and at the Tej Kohli Cornea Institute in Hyderabad, which between 2016 and 2019 welcomed 223,404 outpatients and completed 43,255 surgical procedures, largely for free.
Mr. Tej Kohli obtained his B.Tech. in Electrical Engineering from IIT Kanpur in 1980. It was whilst studying at IIT that he developed a deep passion for technology and innovation. To purse this passion in 1999 Tej Kohli established a company which specialised in the provision of payment gateways within high-risk sectors. The company employed large teams of software developers all over the world and grew at an unprecedented scale. Tej Kohli exited the company when he sold his entire stake in a private sale in 2006.
Since 2006 Tej Kohli has backed a large portfolio of innovative and ground-breaking technology businesses through his investment through his Kohli Ventures investment vehicle. He is a champion of the potential for technology to improve and extend human life, and in 2019 claimed in an interview with BusinessInsider that his children will live to 125 years old. Tej Kohli has also predicted that AI could be would $150 trillion , and he invested $100m into AI and robotics by backing the Switzerland-based Rewired venture studio.
A great admirer of Bill and Melinda Gates' charitable work, Mr. Kohli strongly believes in giving back to society. In 2005 Tej Kohli set up with Tej Kohli Foundation to focus on making interventions in poor and underserved communities worldwide. Today the Tej Kohli Foundation is best known for its mission to eradicate corneal blindness worldwide. In 2010 the Tej Kohli Foundation funded its first donor cornea implants at Niramaya Hospital in India. In 2015 the Tej Kohli Foundation substantially expanded its efforts to tackle corneal blindness in poor and underserved communities with the launch the Tej Kohli Cornea Institute in Hyderabad. Between January 2016 and November 2019 the Tej Kohli Cornea Institute welcomed more than 223,404 outpatients and completed more than 43,255 surgical procedures.
Tej Kohli has also funded the pursuit of a 'universal treatment' for corneal blindness through his Foundation's 'Applied Research' program, a longstanding scientific collaboration between researchers in Montreal Canada, and Moorfields Eye Hospital, UK. In January 2020 the 'Applied Research' program announced that it had moved one step closer in its mission to invest an affordable, accessible and scalable universal cure for corneal blindness through the regeneration of corneal tissue. In 2019 Tej also funded the Tej Kohli Cornea Program at Massachusetts Eye And Ear in Boston with an initial donation of $2m.