Indian Entrepreneurs shaping the Silicon Valley


If business is all about rich ideas and never tried before concepts, everyone is free to cash on it. A few innovative minds dared to leap beyond the horizon and shaped up their own empire of business. Have a look at some of the brightest Indian entrepreneurs, who went on to shape up the Silicon Valley by their charismatic efforts.

Naveen Selvadurai

Naveen Selvadurai, a young handsome curly haired fellow, made it big when he co-founded the location based social networking website Foursquare at the age of 28.

After graduating from King’s College, London and Worcester Polytechnic Institute in US, he worked with Lucent, Sony, Nokia and Sun Microsystems before starting his own mobile social networking site Foursquare. He co-founded the site along with Dennis Crowley and this joint venture is estimated to be of $600 million.

Recently, Naveen Selvadurai has been listed in the ‘World’s New Young Millionaires’ by AOL Small Business. Naveen also appeared on Fox Business Network and CNN’s special by Fareed Zakaria, where he discussed in detail his success story.

Anil Dash

Born and brought up near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Anil Dash is an avid blogger, entrepreneur and technologist. He is the Director of Public Technology Incubator ‘Expert Labs’ and also a partner of a media and technology firm,

Dash has been an independent technology consultant and a new media developer at ‘Village Voice’. He also served as the first employee of ‘Six Apart’, developers of ‘Movable Type’, ‘TypePad’ and ‘Vox. Anil Dash, held the position of Vice President and Chief Evangelist before joining Expert Labs. Dash was among those four bloggers who featured in the PBS series ‘Media Matters’ in 2003. He also spoke at several events like ‘Northern Voice’ and ‘Web 2.0 Conference’.

Anil Dash also participated in two prank activities that caught attention of netizens. In 2004, he won ‘Nigritude Ultramarine’, a search engine optimization contest and was also clicked for ‘New York Times’ in 2005 in the Fashion Thursday section in a Threadless t-shirt, donning the website

In his current role as the Director of Expert Labs, he directs this nonprofit group with directives to assist policy makers in the United States Federal Government to make use of the proficiencies of their fellow citizens.

Om Malik

Om Prakash Malik is an Indian born American, who is a web and technology writer. Malik is the founder of Giga Omni Media, Inc. and an executive editor for technology for blog GigaOM. Apart from that, he also appears as a host on a former Revision3, the weekly web business centric podcast, The GigaOm Show.

Malik moved to New York City in 1993 and joined India Abroad as a writer and then Forbes, as a senior writer. He wrote for Red Herring, covering the telecommunications sector. He launched in 1994, a site dedicated to Indian emigrants. In the same year, he co-founded South Asian Journalists Association (SAJA) and in 1995, he assisted in launching Masala, a now defunct magazine and its South Asian portal,

Om Malik worked at under David Charbuck in 1997. However, he left two years later and joined as an Investment Manager at Hambrecht & Quist Asia Pacific but he quit the company a few months later and decided to stick to his passion of being a writer.

Later, he joined Business 2.0 as a senior writer and in 2001, he founded GigaOM, a Web 2.0 blog published by GigaOmniMedia, Inc. in San Francisco. His website became a hit and registered a monthly global audience of around 5,00,000. It was also featured among the top 50 blogs, rated by Technorati Rank and is a part of CNet’s 100 Most Influential Blogs.

He penned one book ‘Broadbandits: Inside the $750 Billion Telecom Heist’ which was released on May 15, 2003. His writings were also featured in several newspapers and magazines like The Wall Street Journal, Brandweek, Crain’s New York Business. On 12 June 2006, Malik decided to work with GigaOM in a full time position even though he was still a contributing editor and wrote a column for Business 2.0.

Amit Singhal

Amit Singhal, hailing from Jhansi, a city in the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, is a software engineer at Google Inc., a Google fellow and the chief of Google’s core ranking team.

Amit holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Computer Science from IIT Roorke. After his stint in IIT Roorke, he went to United States to continue studies in Computer Science and attainted his M.S degree from University of Minnesota Duluth in 1991.

Amit describes his tenure in UMD as the turning point of his career. While studying Information Retrieval with Don Crouch, the latter suggested him to move to Cornell, to study with Gerard Salton. He attributes this very reason to his successful career that he is enjoying today. He credits Don for infusing in him the love for search and went on to follow his passion since then.

Amit further studied in Cornell University in Ithaca, New York and received his Ph.D in 1996. He joined AT&T Labs and continued his research in information retrieval, speech retrieval and several other related fields.

His friend Krishna Bharat suggested him to join Google in 2000, where he run the search engine giant’s core quality department and is responsible for Google Search algorithms.The New York Times, described Singhal as the master of Google’s “RANKING ALGORITH”, the core formula to determine which Web page answers the user’s questions in the best possible way.

In 2001, Amit was named as a Google Fellow, an honorary title given to the best engineers of Google. He was also inducted as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery. ‘India Abroad’ magazine named him as one of the 50 most influential Indian Americans. ‘Fortune’ listed his name as one of the smartest people in technology.

Amit Singhal has co-authored more than thirty scientific research papers and number of several other patents. He received the Outstanding Achievement in Science and Technology in the 2011 The Asian Awards.

Vikas Reddy

Vikas Reddy is a young 26 year old bright Indian entrepreneur, who co-founded Occipital. His firm develops and designs applications for various gadgets based on 3D platform and experience.

Occipital’s trademark is the 360 Panaroma, an app recently released for iPhone. The company, though yet to gain some popularity and fame, produces promising stuffs that you can count upon. But one look at the revenue, it has gone to amass in a short duration and therefore deserves a thunderous applause. The firm, in fact has a significant and much bigger role in offline marketing as well.

Avinash Kaushik

Avinash Kaushik is an author, analytics expert, entrepreneur and a speaker. He works on the Advisory Board of University of Toronto Rotman School of Management’s program based on CRM Excellence.

Avinash Kaushik is also the member of Advisory Board of University of California at Irvine’s program on Web Intelligence. He is the Associate Instructor at the University of British Columbia for Web Analytics Program.

A noted public speaker, Avinash Kaushik is widely noted for delivering keynotes at conferences such as The Art of Marketing, eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit, CMA Next and JMP Innovators Summit.

Kaushik received the 2009 Harry V Roberts Statistical Advocate of the Year award from the American Statistical Association and also got the 2011’s Most Influential Industry Contributor award from Web Analytics Association.

Ooshma Garg

The youngest ever Indian entrepreneur, Ooshma Garg is just 22 years old. A graduate from Stanford University, Ooshma is the founder-owner of Anapata which is mainly based on the idea of connecting employers and several other talented candidates looking for desired jobs.

Gurbaksh Chahal

Gurbaksh Singh Chahal is a well known Indian-American internet entrepreneur and the author of the bestseller, ‘The Dream’. He started off his career with ClickAgents, an advertising network that dealt with performance based advertising.

In 2004, Gurbaksh founded BlueLithium, a firm that specializes in behavioral target of banner advertising. It keeps a track of the user’s online habits and ads, they respond most. Gurbaksh’s firm came to be regarded as an innovator in the arena of online advertising in Business 2.0 article. In 2006, BlueLithium was named Top Innovator by AlwaysOn.

Yahoo! Bought BlueLithium for $300 million on 15 October 2007 and Chahal continued his stint as CEO of the company throughout the transition period.

Chahal started off with his third venture, an advertising company in September 2009 and focused mainly on introducing brands into social media. The firm raised its first ever institutional round of finance that stood around $12.5 million on December 1, 2009 from Adam Street Partners, Trinity Ventures, Stanford University and various others.

Few days later after Chahal renamed the company as ‘RadiumOne’ and also launched an ad network, mainly focused towards overlaying social and intent data in a combined manner.

Sachin Agarwal

Sachin Agarwal is widely believed to have introduced a revolution in blogging and making it simpler by developing and designing Posterous.

Posterous allows its users to blog faster and claims to make life easier and enjoyable. The 30 year old entrepreneur, is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Posterous and is one of the youngest Indian entrepreneurs.

Ashwin Navin

The brain behind BitTorrent, Ashwin Navin held the position of President and Co-Founder in the organization BitTorrent, Inc.

After Brian Cohen, the investor in BitTorrent asked Ashwin to prepare a business model to popularize BitTorrent in order to bring it into the mainstream hold, Ashwin assumed public face of the company as an evangelist for its commercial reincarnation.

In 2007, Ashwin Navin successfully launched 3 commercial products namely BitTorrent Entertainment Network in February, the BitTorrent SDK in June and BitTorrent DNA in October. These products made Navin, acquire uTorrent in 2006, a site that’s the largest global Torrent client.


Arjun Gupta

Arjun Gupta is the Founder and Managing Director of TeleSoft Partners, a special situations venture capital firm that was founded in 1996. The company provides value added capital for Technology, communication companies and companies in the Energy Value Chain.

For past fifteen years, TeleSoft and Arjun Gupta have consistently funded and helped to build 61 companies and resulted in 33 mergers, acquisitions and IPOs with a net cash acquaintance of $16 million.

Arjun Gupta has also worked as a director in various firms like Calient, LiteScape, LogLogic, Nexant and Validity. In order to commercialize newer technologies, Arjun Gupta recruited several corporate industry partners like Alltel, Bechtel, Deutsche Telekom’s T-Ventures, Nexant, and Symphony Technology Group.

Vinod Dham

Vinod Dham is a renowned Inventor, Entrepreneur and Venture Capitalist who is widely acclaimed as the Father of the Pentium Chip.

He is often credited with the development of highly successful Pentium Processors from Intel and also serves as a mentor, investor and appears on the board of several companies that also includes startups funded by his India based fund known as the Indo US Venture Partners, where he holds the position of founding Managing Director.

Vinod Khosla

Indian-American, Vinod Khosla is one of the most respected Venture Capitalist and an influential personality in Silicon Valley. Vinod Khosla is one of the co-founder of Sun Microsystems and has served as its CEO and Chairman in the early 80s.

He became the General Partner in 1986 of the Venture Capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and continued his stint there till early 2000.

He founded his own Venture Capital firm Khosla Ventures that laid stress mainly on venture investments in technology sector with the prime focus being on ‘clean technology’.

Shashi Reddi

Shashi Reddi is the founder and chairman of AppLabs, a Philadelphia based software testing company. He is also the founder and chairman of FXLabs, a firm that develops high end gaming products in India for computers and Videogame consoles.

Shashi started his career with EZPower Systems that mainly designed and developed products for building and maintaining large scale web applications. In the initial phase of his career, he provided consultancy services on technology and strategy to Fortune 500 companies, mainly in the field of travel, financial services, automobiles and consumer packaged goods.

Subrah Iyar

Subrah Iyar is an acclaimed technocrat, entrepreneur and Web conferencing pioneer, who also founded WebEx, a company where he held the position of CEO. WebEx has recently merged with Cisco Systems.

Subrah Iyar holds the credit of taking his company to newer heights from the initial days of struggle when the company found it difficult to achieve growth. The new ideas propounded by Subrah Iyar saw his company registering a meteoric rise and even his own personal net assets rose from $4,50,000 in January 2000 to $129 million in November 2000.

Subrah’s company WebEx operated independently till Cisco Systems bought it for $3.2 billion.

Pranav Mistry

Pranav Mistry is one of the inventors of Sixth Sense, who worked as a research assistant and Ph.D student at MIT Media Lab. Prior to MIT, he also worked as a UX Researcher at Microsoft.

Some of his most notable works include the invention of ‘Mouseless’, an invisible computer mouse that enables to find intelligent sticky notes that can be searched, located, can send reminders and messages and a pen that can draw in 3D.

Popular Science awarded the Invention Award to SixthSense in 2009. Pranav was also named in the MIT Technology Review TR35 as one of the top 35 innovators of the world below 35 years of age.

Sabeer Bhatia

Sabeer Bhatia, the co-founder of Hotmail email service and Jaxtr, is an Indian American entrepreneur who studied at Birla Institute of Technology, Pilani and also went to United States on Caltech Transfer Scholarship to attain a Bachelor’s degree at the California Institute of Technology. He has a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University.

After completing graduation, Sabeer worked at Apple Computers as a hardware engineer and Firepower System Inc. It was only while working at Apple, he, along with his colleague Jack Smith went on to found Hotmail on 4th July 1996.

Hotmail is recognized as the world’s largest e-mail provider with more than 269 million registered users.

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