Born in a lower-middle-class agricultural family, Anil Shetty had a difficult childhood growing up. He grew up in a remote village called Shankarnarayana near the coastal district of Udupi. To attend school every day, he walked over five kilometres by foot to a nearby Kannada medium government school. Since he lived tucked away between dense forests in the hilly regions, electricity supply remained limited to his place of residence and hence had to use a kerosene lamp to study. Without having any luxury of watching television or any access to the outside world, he managed his school days with just two pairs of uniform.
He had no money to pay his college fee and was denied an education loan due to insufficient family income. He borrowed money from his uncle and worked in his sweet stall during his free time. He joined MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology to become an engineer, later dropped out to become an entrepreneur at the age of 20. Anil learnt to speak English at the age of 20, which he thinks has opened door to the world of knowledge.
Anil travelled to Mumbai at the age of twenty-three and co-founded the company- Fly With VIP, which engaged celebrities from Bollywood, cricket, and high business and was launched by Amitabh Bachchan. Today, Anil uses his business skills to provide investment advice to start-up ventures and link them with strategic investors.
Anil moved back to Bengaluru to dedicate his life to public upliftment. At the age of twenty-five, Anil created Peace Auto, an auto-rickshaw union to help improve the community’s circumstances. Today, his team runs the best organised auto-rickshaw union in the city. He then went on to create community projects for bus drivers, police constables, pourakarmikas, underprivileged students, and the deprived classes. His capabilities earned him the position of board member of Bangalore Political Action Committee (B.PAC) where he was the youngest along with Biocon Chairperson Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and former Infosys Director Mohandas Pai.
He curated an award show “Namma Heroes” to honour unsung heroes of society.
He and his team lead the longest campaign against illegal flex banners in Bengaluru city which influenced the Karnataka High Court to ban flex banners which were causing visual pollution as well as political pollution.
Anil is now an inspiration to youth and a foremost opinion mobiliser. In 2016, he was invited to be the Chairperson of the Bengaluru Youth Festival. A prolific orator, Anil has delivered more than 400 public talks in last five years including TEDx talks.
Anil was invited by the US Department of State to be the part of International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP) wherein the past Narendra Modi, Indira Gandhi, Pratibha Patil and many more prominent leaders were invited to represent India. He toured four states of US, met with city Mayors, top officials and local communities.
An avid reader as well, Anil has authored two books whose proceedings have been donated towards charity. He is presently penning a book on spirituality.
A keen observer, Anil loves travelling the world. His love for fitness and interest in fashion motivates him to stay fit and in-style!
His favourite quote – “We are not human beings having spiritual experiences, we are spiritual beings having human experiences.”