I grew up in India, where your circumstances at birth can often define your prospects in life. So when I read Only the Paranoid Survive, Andy Grove’s 1999 memoir about leading Intel, I knew I had to find a way to Silicon Valley – a meritocracy where immigrants could change the world. I threw myself into electrical engineering at Stanford and founded a software company just as the dot-com bubble burst. The company survived the tech crash and was acquired, but adversity taught me that founders need the most support when they are struggling, not just when they are succeeding.
Even as the world evolves and Silicon Valley now moves to the cloud, that became one of my keystone principles as a seed investor in more than 80 startups across consumer and enterprise. As a company builder and investor, I am committed to a sense of long term partnership and to getting 1% better everyday. These values have helped keep my feet on the ground even when the products I built reached tens of millions of users globally – more than a billion in the case of Facebook Messenger.
Joining General Catalyst combines my experience, values and passions. As the former CPO at Five9, Bharti Airtel and Snapdeal and a board member of Future Group India, I am imbued with the culture, mindset, and investing opportunities both focused on Indian consumers as well as those built in India for the world. General Catalyst’s founder-driven approach matches my own experience, and its mission of investing in powerful, positive change that endures is vital for a world that urgently needs solutions for healthcare, climate change, and social equity. I’m also truly excited to help the next generation of internet-era founders build beyond what the first generations were able to create.
My free time is devoted to being a #girldad to our young daughter, and to supporting organizations that advance education for children and young adults; I believe one of the greatest investments we can do for our underserved communities is to educate their future leaders and innovators today.