Earlier this year, Satya Nadella replaced Steve Ballmer as Microsoft’s CEO, underlining the rise of Indians and Indian-Americans in the U.S. tech world.
Today, around 15% of startups in Silicon Valley are founded by Indians, according to the research of Professor Vivek Wadhwa, himself a seasoned entrepreneur.
We’ve put together a list of some of the brightest minds, innovative dreamers, and most accomplished leaders.
“It’s just one more symbolic thing that validates that our world is becoming much more global and is crossing boundaries,” Padmasree Warrior, chief technology officer of Cisco Systems, told the LA Times, after Microsoft announced Nadella’s new position. “It suggests that it’s execution and results that matter in the end, regardless of where you come from.”
Satya Nadella is the third CEO in the history of Microsoft. He worked at the company for 20 years before winning the CEO title, as a VP in the company's business and online services divisions and heading up Microsoft's cloud computing efforts.
He's known internally as a smart and diplomatic person, who's good at getting warring factions to work together. He just announced his vision for Microsoft to become a software-anywhere company.
Senior Vice President, Android, Chrome and Apps, Google
Sundar Pichai, formerly only in charge of Chrome, got a promotion in March 2013 to head up Android, taking over the role of Android founder Andy Rubin.
The vast majority (nearly 80%) of smartphone owners are Android users, which makes Pichai's job even more important. Android is becoming more hospitable to developers as it becomes less fragmented, and as Android app sales bring in more revenue.
Aarthi Ramamurthy is one of the most notable female entrepreneurs out there today. She spent six years at Microsoft working on its Visual Studio software development tool and on Xbox Live.
Before founding Y Combinator-backed Lumoid, a startup for letting people test-drive electronics before buying them, she co-founded a bra-fitting company called True&Co.
Founder and CEO, Aereo
Chet Kanojia's company, Aereo, lets users stream live network TV (NBC, ABC, Fox, PBS, etc.) to your computer, smartphone or tablet using an anttena for only $US8 a month, much less than the cost of paying for cable. The company has raised about $US97 million, but broadcasters hate it and are fighting Aereo at the Supreme Court level later this year.
Previously, Chet was the founder and CEO of Navic Networks which gave TV networks real-time audience measurement tools to place ads.
Founder and Executive Director, Girls Who Code
Reshma Saujani founded the high school program Girls Who Code. Saujani launched Girls Who Code last summer as an eight-week intensive program where high school women learn the basics of Ruby, HTML, Java, and more.
She's working to close the gender gap in engineering and increase the number of women involved with software engineering. Girls Who Code's partners include Goldman Sachs Group, Twitter, Intel, and eBay.
Founder, Stealth Product
Since he dropped out of medical school to pursue entrepreneurship, Krishna Subramanian co-founded a recommendation site called Burrp!, which was acquired by Mumbai's Network 18 in 2010 and BlueLithium, an online ad network that sold to Yahoo! in 2007 for $US300 million.
He's most recently known for co-founding the mobile ad exchange network Mobclix, which sold to Velti, a large mobile ad company, for upwards of $US50 million in 2010. He became Velti's CMO in 2011 and worked there until after he helped take the company public in September 2013. In October, he left Velti -- which ran into financial difficulty -- to work on a stealth startup.
'I am working on an exciting idea that is keeping me up at night and I can't wait to share it with everyone soon,' he told colleagues in an email. We look forward to finding out more.
Founder, Sherpalo Ventures
Ram Shriram founded Sherpalo Ventures back in 2000 to guide and mentor entrepreneurs with disruptive ideas. Since, the firm has invested in Paperless Post, StumbleUpon, Zazzle, and Mint.
He's also a founding board member -- and one of the first investors in -- Google. He was an early employee of the Netscape executive team, and was president of Junglee when Amazon acquired it in 1998 for about $US185 million. He continued to work as an Amazon officer under founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.
Because of his extensive experience, Shriram is one of Silicon Valley's 'golden angels.'
Vice President, Display Advertising Products, Google
Neal Mohan is the $US100 million man.
He came to Google in 2008, after the company acquired DoubleClick for $US3.8 billion, where he was senior vice president of strategy and product development. DoubleClick CEO David Rosenblatt ended up working for Twitter, and tried to poach Mohan from Google in 2011. It looked like Mohan would accept a position at Twitter, but in the end he didn't. Why? Reportedly, because Google made him an offer he couldn't refuse: More than $US100 million in stock.
Colleagues have described Mohan as a visionary who predicted how brand advertising would fund the Internet, turned this vision into a plan, and then executed it.
Besides working for Google and DoubleClick, he has served in strategy and consulting roles at Microsoft and Accenture.
Yash Nelapati was Pinterest's first full-time employee, and worked with founders Ben Silbermann, Paul Sciarra, and Evan Sharp to get the site off the ground.
At this point, he's been at the company for more than four years. Along with Marty Weiner -- the second engineer to join the company -- he's responsible for keeping the site up even during times of explosive growth. Pinterest currently has more than 70 million users.
Co-founder and CEO, Nutanix
Dheeraj Pandey founded Nutanix, a company that offers an all-in-one hardware box for corporate data centres that combines a computer server and storage. Nutanix is essentially changing the datacenter as we know it, and the company looks like it's set firmly on the IPO path.
Before Nutanix, Pandey was a VP of Engineering at Aster Data and worked on the development of Oracle's Database storage engine.
'I've always challenged the status quo, but I've also learned a lot about what not to do,' he told Forbes at the end of last year. 'While our company is growing exceptionally fast, I also know that business is not a 'Hail Mary' -- you need to build the business 10 yards at a time,' says Pandey.
Founder, Immunity Project
Serial entrepreneur and investor Naveen Jain is working with a team of scientists and entrepreneurs who are trying to cure HIV/AIDS through their non profit organisation Immunity Project.
They have already developed a prototype vaccine and completed preliminary lab testing, but are raising $US20 million to start an official human clinical trial.
Pooja Sankar's startup, Piazza, is a question-and-answer platform for students and teachers to collaborate, and it just raised $US8 million from Khosla Ventures and Bessemer. Before founding Piazza, Sankar worked as a developer for Facebook, Oracle, and Kosmix.
She started Piazza while studying for her MBA at Stanford. Ironically, she failed a class in entrepreneurship because she was too busy running the business.
Co-founder and CEO, Ayasdi
Fast Company named Gureet Singh's startup -- Ayasdi -- one of this year's most innovative companies in big data. Ayasdi helps people find new trends in their data without the need to write code, queries, or ask questions by creating 3D visuals. The goal is to make it easier to use data to solve complex problems and the company has raised $US20.7 million.
He develops multi-legged robots in his spare time.
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