Over the past four years we have been fortunate to have a wonderful group of investors and technical advisers who have supported and enhanced our vision for the world’s largest Product Information Marketplace. Our most recent funding round was led by Nokia Growth Partners, with participation from Nexus Venture Partners and Avalon Ventures and several of our angel investors. Our technical advisers include notable academics in computer science, mathematics and economics.
M.R. co-founded the Sand Hill Group and has been a strategic advisor to several fast-growing companies. He has held global VP marketing positions at Baan Company, Avalon Software, and Oracle Corporation. M.R. was profiled on the front page of the Wall Street Journal and has been named in Forbes’ “Midas 100 List” as one of the most influential investors in technology. He is the publisher of SandHill.com, an influential voice for the global tech community. M.R. also convenes and hosts prestigious events around technology and entrepreneurship.
anthemis group (www.anthemis.com) is the new face of finance and is best seen as a “fractal” startup; a company that deliberately seeks to connect and grow an ecosystem of complementary and vibrant new financial services businesses by marrying long-term growth capital with expert operational and strategic advice. People, networks and ecosystems are the foundations upon which anthemis group is built.
Avalon Ventures is a venture capital fund comprised of former entrepreneurs driven by passionate people pursuing disruptive ideas in ever changing market environments. Avalon’s long-standing and successful focus has been on seed and early stage companies, including many it formed in the life science and information technology sectors.
Anand Rajaraman is Senior Vice President at Walmart Global eCommerce, where he heads up the newly created @WalmartLabs, which focuses on the intersection of social, mobile, and retail. Anand joined Walmart when when Walmart acquired Kosmix, the startup he co-founded. He also teaches a class on web-scale data mining at the Computer Science Department at Stanford University.
In his VC avatar, Anand is a Founding Partner of Cambrian Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm. Anand’s investments include Facebook (one of the earliest angel investors, in 2005); Kaltix (acquired by Google); Transformic (acquired by Google); Neoteris (acquired by Juniper); India Infoline (IPO 2005; INDIAINFO); Facebook; Efficient Frontier; Aster Data (acquired by Teradata); Mobissimo; The Find; and Chaupaati. His Board Member roles include Aster Data, Chaupaati, Transformic, Kosmix, and Gradiance.
Prior to founding Cambrian in 2000, Anand was Director of Technology at Amazon.com, where he was responsible for technology strategy. Anand helped launch the transformation of Amazon.com from a retailer into a retail platform, enabling third-party retailers to sell on Amazon.com’s website. Third-party transactions now account for over 25% of all US transactions, and represent Amazon’s fastest-growing and most profitable business segment.
Anand came to Amazon.com in 1998 through the $250 Million acquisition of Junglee, an Internet pioneer that he co-founded in 1996. As Chief Technology Officer, Anand played a key role in developing Junglee’s award-winning Virtual Database technology.
He obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, where he won the President of India Gold Medal for graduating at the top of his class, and his MS and PhD in Computer Science from Stanford University. Anand has been featured in articles in Business Week, the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and other leading national publications.
Charles brings over 20 years of technology business experience with a strong focus on cloud services and platform ecosystems. He is an angel investor and currently works on cloud application platform strategy at VMware. Previously, he was vice president of product management for Mozy, a cloud backup service. Prior to that, Charles held a variety of senior marketing, business and strategy roles at Microsoft, and as general manager of Platform Strategy, he marshaled the company’s broad developer ecosystem strategy and helped rebuild the company’s developer franchise for the Internet era with .NET.
Ganesh is a serial entrepreneur with four successful ventures in the last 25 years. He is currently CEO and Founder of TutorVista (www.TutorVista.com) – a new consumer Internet company in the education services space. Pearson, the world’s largest education company, took an 80 % stake in TutorVista in January 2011.
Ganesh’s earlier venture, CustomerAsset was started in mid 2000 with funding from SoftBank and Newscorp. In May 2002, ICICI (NYSE listed, India’s largest bank) acquired CustomerAsset and the company is now publicly listed in India as FirstSource Solutions.
In 1990 Ganesh co-promoted IT&T, and as Founder & CEO, played a major role in making the company one of India’s top multi-vendor IT Service & Support companies with 400 employees and 16 offices. The business was sold to iGate (a listed company) in 2003.
Apart from founding and successfully growing the four ventures, Ganesh has worked as CEO of Wipro/Bharti British Telecom – a British Telecom JV in India.
Ganesh is an active angel investor and mentors and advises young entrepreneurs in starting up and scaling new ventures. He is involved with leading internet ecommerce firms like bigbasket.com, bookadda.com, bluestone.com and mustseeindia.com. He was also Chairman, investor and advisor in a Data Analytics BPO firm (www.marketics.com) until March 2007 when the company was acquired by NYSE listed WNS.
Ganesh is a post-graduate from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta and has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Delhi University.
Promoter and Board Member, TutorVista
CEO and MD, Pearson Education Services
Meena Ganesh is the promoter and Board member of TutorVista and CEO and MD of Pearson Education Services, which includes innovative and successful brands like TutorVista, a leading online tutoring company, and Edurite, a provider of technology-based solutions and digital content. Under Meena’s leadership, the company has made a successful foray into the school management space and emerged as the fastest growing school chain in India.
Prior to TutorVista, Meena was the CEO of Tesco’s operations in India – the Tesco Hindustan Service Center. Tesco is the world’s third largest retailer with a revenue base of nearly $100bn and 400,000 people. Meena was on the Global Retail Council of Tesco, an elite group of about 50 people who run the operations of Tesco worldwide.
Before Tesco, Meena co-founded one of India’s pioneering BPO companies – Customer Asset, which she sold to ICICI OneSource. She was the Chief Operations Officer of Customer Asset and helped build the organisation to nearly 4,000 people, servicing large corporate customers in UK and US markets.
Meena spent five years with Microsoft India where she set up multiple business units, including Microsoft Consulting, Internet and Application Development business services units. She was with PricewaterhouseCoopers and with NIIT during the initial 11 years of her career.
Meena has a PGDM from IIM Calcutta and a graduate degree in Physics from Madras University.
Nexus Venture Partners
Nexus Venture Partners (www.nexusvp.com) is India’s leading venture capital fund, with offices in India and Silicon Valley. It has $320m under management and an active portfolio of over 40 companies across technology, internet, media, consumer, business services sectors. The Nexus team plays an active role in helping entrepreneurs and management teams build market leading businesses.
Nokia Growth Partners
Nokia Growth Partners (NGP) is an independent fund manager sponsored solely by Nokia. NGP actively invests in China, India, Europe and the US and focus on growth-stage investments (series B, C and beyond). NGP backs entrepreneurs with companies that contribute to the increasingly connected world targeting enterprise, consumer, commerce, automotive and applied data.
NGP is structured as an independent fund manager and manages several funds with Nokia as the sole investor. The financial independence ensures high quality investments both from a strategic and a financial point of view.
Geoffrey R. Entress
Geoff Entress focuses broadly on information technology investments in the Pacific Northwest. He is also an active angel investor in the region and has invested in over 80 Pacific Northwest technology companies during the last decade, including Isilon Systems, World Wide Packets, Cheezburger Network, Elemental Technologies, HootSuite and Swype. A former venture partner with Madrona Venture Group, Geoff is a current investor in over 50 private companies and is a current board member of 10 companies: Big Fish Games, White Pages, LiquidPlanner, ADG Holdings, Meritage Soups, Walk Score, Treemo Labs, Banyan Branch, Nirvaha and Bonanza, and a board observer for several others. He is also a longtime member of the Executive and Screening committees of the Alliance of Angels, the largest angel investor organization in the Pacific Northwest, a member of the Advisory Board for the University of Washington Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and a member of the Advisory Board for the Donald H. Jones Center for Entrepreneurship at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University. A former securities lawyer and financial analyst, Geoff has also held positions at Perkins Coie LLP, Jones Day, UrbanEarth.com, Salomon Brothers, The Prudential Home Mortgage Company, Mellon Bank, Priority Investment Management and Duquesne Capital Management. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Notre Dame.
Pradeep Rathinam is the CEO of Aditi technologies. Pradeep has over 20 years of experience in the tech industry, serving in executive leadership and sales and marketing roles at Microsoft, Lotus and Unisys. Pradeep has orchestrated multimillion dollar contracts, implemented innovative sales strategies and turned around under-performing business units. Prior to Aditi, Pradeep spent 12 years at Microsoft. Pradeep is actively involved with the software community in Seattle and has been on the Board of the Washington Software Association (WTIA). Pradeep holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Delhi University.
Corporate VP Microsoft
S. Somasegar is the Corporate Vice President of the Developer Division at Microsoft. Somasegar is responsible for engineering and marketing for developer tools and services, programming languages and runtimes designed for a broad base of software developers and development teams, including the Visual Studio family of products, .NET Framework, and Team Foundation Server. Somasegar also owns developer evangelism efforts spanning the full array of Microsoft platforms. His team also owns MSDN and TechNet online properties to enable a deep connection with the developer and IT professional audiences. In addition, Somasegar is responsible for the Server and Tools Business Global Development Centers in China, India, and Israel, and he is the executive sponsor for these centers for all of Microsoft.
Samir is the co-founder and CEO of Icertis, the leading provider of enterprise solutions in the Microsoft cloud. Samir began his career at McKinsey & Co., followed by several years in management at Microsoft. He was appointed CEO of Disha Technologies in 2003, where he grew the business five-fold and managed its acquisition by Aztecsoft in 2005. In early 2007, he was appointed CEO of Aztecsoft and successfully guided the company to become the fastest growing publicly traded mid-cap IT services company. In 2009, he helped finalize Aztecsoft’s acquisition by MindTree.
Samir received his MBA from the Wharton School of Business and a BA in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin.
To the annoyance of his family, Samir is a golf addict. When not playing golf, he reads books about golf. And when not reading about golf, contributes to the local community as a Board Member of the Seattle Chapter of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) and as a Trustee of the The Lakeside School in Seattle, WA.
Founder, Tola Capital
Sheila Gulati is the Founder of Tola Capital. Tola Capital’s mission is to invest and partner with founder-run companies in the Enterprise IT software space. Tola seeks to capture the opportunity provided by the fast changing nature of enterprise software through the proliferation of data and the cloud computing platform. Tola has invested in several companies, including Opera Solutions (www.operasolutions.com) and ParStream (www.parstream.com).
Prior to Tola Capital, Sheila was the business and marketing leader for the Enterprise Application Platform for Microsoft, responsible for the SQL Server database, Visual Studio development tools and .NET. Sheila spent over a decade at Microsoft in roles ranging including: Developer Evangelism, Business Management, Corporate M&A and Strategy in the US and in India. Prior to Microsoft, Sheila was an investment banker with Robertson Stephens where she worked with the communications sector businesses and earlier was a web developer for several organizations.
In addition to her professional career, Sheila founded Pratham Seattle, a local branch of a large charitable organization working in India to deliver basic education.
Venky Harinarayan is an entrepreneur and investor. He was a founder of Junglee – a pioneering shopping search engine that was acquired by Amazon.com, a founder of Kosmix – an innovative search and categorization company acquired by Walmart Stores, Inc. and a founding investor in Efficient Frontier – a leading search and social media marketing company acquired by Adobe. Together, these startups were valued at $1 billion at the time of their acquisition.
Venky has also played the role of entrepreneur in two of the most successful retailers of our times – Walmart and Amazon.com. He helped create one of the most profitable businesses of Amazon.com – the Marketplace, and also invented the concept underlying Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Later, he created and headed @WalmartLabs, the innovation arm for one of the world’s largest companies.
Venky has a PhD from Stanford University, an MS from UCLA and a Bachelor of Technology from IIT Madras. He was named one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business” by FastCompany and in “Venture Capital 100” by AlwaysOn in 2012.
Today, Venky heads Cambrian Ventures, a venture capital firm that he started in 2000 with his business partner Anand Rajaraman. Cambrian Ventures’ investments include Neoteris (JNPR), Aster Data (TDC) and Yousendit. Venky was also one of the earliest angel investors in Facebook, investing in 2006.
Vijay is a 19 year Microsoft veteran, having worked there from 1982 to 2001. He drove Microsoft Project market share from #4 to #1, growing the $5 million business into a $100 million business. He then built Microsoft PowerPoint into a billion dollar business. More recently, Vijay ran an India-focused hedge fund for 4 years. He is on the board of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Vijay is Past Chair of Bellevue College and Past Chair of Foundation for Early Learning. Vijay also serves on Cornell University’s Computer & Information Science Advisory Board, the Cornell University Entrepreneur Advisory Board and the University of Chicago’s Entrepreneur Advisory Board. Vijay has served on the boards of various startups, ranging from organic fertilizer to enterprise software to medical analysis to educational software. He is an investor in a 4 Tony Award-winning Broadway show, proud owners of the 2010 Best Musical Award (memphisthemusical.com). Vijay is a B. Tech EE, IIT Bombay, M. Eng EE, Cornell University and an MBA, University of Chicago.
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati (www.wsgr.com) is the premier legal advisor to technology, life sciences, and other growth enterprises worldwide. We represent companies at every stage of development, from entrepreneurial start-ups to multibillion-dollar global corporations, as well as the venture firms, private equity firms, and investment banks that finance and advise them.