Transcribe
This is a darker value. Welcome to the hundred X entrepreneurs podcast today. I have it mean within some / VP and head of Investments at times intended within welcome to the podcast. Thank you sir that I am very excited to be here. Thanks for having me. Wouldn't you love to know more about your journey right from your days of graduation to now becoming a top notch investor. How is it turned out sure, you know, very normal upbringing in class in Mumbai. My dad was a engineer from IIT Madras. The early graduates from there and you know early on I was very much inspired by the idea of engineering and Science and things like that. So grow up in Bombay and then was fortunate enough to go to the US for undergraduate studies. I studied at Virginia Tech went out to school in 2002. It was a very interesting time just after the internet bubble that burst although as a young person. I never really knew about what the internet bubble was and I was just excited about going to the US and studying computer science and and excited about doing Robotics and when I went to the Virginia Tech about six months into it, I realized that robotics is actually a lot harder than simple software because you have to deal with physics and mechanics and all these other things and so what a year into it, I switched into into computer science and then I spent a lot of time as as an engineer actually building stuff and and then slowly and steadily moved from being a engineer to being CTO to being a product guy and then to be a This guy and now I'm sort of doing the combination. Yeah, so I spent summers in the u.s. From 2002 to 2013. So 11 odd years five years was a combination of graduate school undergraduate and graduate. So five is a DigiTech as Computer Science Guy, and while I was actually in college, I started working at a startup called fever and you know, I was the first engineer there was quite an exciting opportunity back then Wi-Fi was the The bleeding edge of Technology right laptops and everything used to be sort of tether to the desk and the whole idea of sort of campuses having Wi-Fi was becoming a becoming a thing and I was quite lucky because Virginia Tech was one of the first what should I say showcase customers for Linksys and links is was all the first Wi-Fi router companies and Virginia Tech had complete blanket Wi-Fi coverage. And so I got a early start as a comp size student. Both and experiencing it but then also tinkering with it. So when I was at Virginia Tech, I founded a project called CVT, which is effectively, you know, the precursor to core location API on Android and iOS, and we did a lot of work at that point saying what would our world look like when your device's your handheld devices would know where they are, right? And again, you have to place yourself back then right? This is a research lab. There was no Bones, there was no iOS there was no Android. They literally they were not what this the first smartphone didn't exist. And so this is a very different point in time when people sitting in computer science labs, which kind of imagining what the future would be and I got very early chance to do that. And so we wrote a lot of software we wrote a lot of early experiments and we built you know, what we now called apps on top of this underlying infrastructure, which is, you know, if you can detect a Wi-Fi signal You can then try to predict very very user is on campus Which floor what class and could do a lot of interesting things and then this experience of having built, you know cvd and all this wi-fi stuff really was a leapfrog moment for me to move to Silicon Valley, which is what I joined the startup called fever as I said as the first engineer and then and then and vision time in Silicon Valley was a whole new whole new adventure. What made you come back to India? And especially what made you join time the delivery sure so good question. So, you know, No, I was after fever and we was quite a quite a roller coaster be a lot of highs be a lot of lows the company went bankrupt. And so we ended up, you know parking ourselves at a at a slightly larger company and then through that Journey ended up at a public company in the u.s. Called new star and so while I was there I obviously learnt a lot of things but as I was turning 30 a couple of years before starting 30 me and my wife said who's also a you know, a start-up sort of person He's worked in multiple startups herself. And so she had joined our B&B and I was at newstart and we were thinking about listen if you're ever to go back to India doing it before we have kids and before around the time we turned 30. It was probably the right thing. If we kind of get too far beyond 30 the chances that we come back a fairly low because we'll just get used to life style and comfort. So all these other things and so we said look Colonel Saito we can I right so let's try and so that's how it started and and and the way I got introduced to it. India and to certain and times internet was quite random. So two data points where we intersect at one was so to learn India. I started in jail investing in India right from the US and so, you know data, you know pinged a few friends and and my friend, dr. It was already in India, so he had a few connections and so ended up investing in data, we which was a early tee Labs first batch company so through that connection got to know about certain about times internet and then Interesting coincidence happened, which is what I was at New Star we had done an acquisition of a company called Targus info and targets was a very large company was a huge acquisition and I was on as a product guy on the new Star side funnily enough Sutton's elder brother Raj was on the other side and and he was doing sales and business development at Targets info. So we got to know each other and it was one of those conversations. I was just casually mentioning to to Rod saying Hey listen to what I'm just starting to think about India and He said oh, you should meet my brother Satriani run some something at times of India. And I said yeah Times of India in a boring World company who's going to go there but had a conversation and then one thing led to another to another and I initially joined to run a business of ours called time city, which was a kind of a platform that let you figure out what to do in a city restaurants nightlife movies events. So think about it a bit like the combination of taking zomato. Listings then and then doing you know movie shows events and so on so forth. So that's what I came to run and and then you obviously had a very different view once I came in to start running it. But yeah, that was how I got got so to touch points data we've and then at the end strand as at the is brother and then through that sort of ended up intersecting with them and and certain said listen come come help us run something in that sounded like a good exciting opportunity to come to India learn about the consumer Market build something at some scale with some infrastructure and then kind of go from there. And so, you know, actually this this role of mine that I'm doing is is quite unique right? I don't think we had imagined this role both for me and our at the company itself. So it's been quite a both Journey both for me and for the company, it's quite it's quite quite fun.