Venky Harinarayan is an entrepreneur and investor. He is also a founding partner at Milliways Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm.
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 that was acquired by Walmart Stores, Inc., and a founding investor in Efficient Frontier — a leading search and social media marketing company that was acquired by Adobe. Together, these start-ups 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. Most recently, at Walmart, Venky created and was head of @WalmartLabs, the innovation arm for the world's largest company. At Amazon.com, Venky helped create the Marketplace business, that today accounts for around 40% of all the units sold. He also invented the concept underlying Amazon's Mechanical Turk.
Venky is also an active investor. He created Cambrian Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm in 2000 whose investments include Neoteris (Juniper), Aster Data (Teradata), and Yousendit. Venky was one of the earliest investors in Facebook, investing in 2005. Other angel investments include Lyft and TutorVista (Pearson).
Venky was named to the "100 Most Creative People in Business" by FastCompany in 2012 and to the "Venture Capital 100" by AlwaysOn in 2012 and is a recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from IIT Madras. Venky earned his bachelor's degree from IIT Madras; master's from UCLA and PhD from Stanford University, all in computer science.
Anand is a Founding Partner of two Silicon Valley venture capital funds focused on early-stage technology companies: Milliways Ventures and rocketship.vc. Prior to starting Milliways and rocketship.vc, he was Senior Vice President at Walmart Global eCommerce, where he co-headed @WalmartLabs, focused at the intersection of social, mobile, and commerce. Anand came to Walmart when Walmart acquired Kosmix, the startup he co-founded, in 2011. The purchase price was reported in the media to be over $300 million. Kosmix pioneered semantic search technology and semantic analysis of social media.
Anand also was a Founding Partner of Cambrian Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm. His Silicon Valley investments include Facebook (one of the earliest angel investors in 2005), Lyft, Aster Data Systems (acquired by Teradata), Efficient Frontier (acquired by Adobe), Neoteris (acquired by Juniper), Transformic (acquired by Google), Kaltix (acquired by Google), AppNexus, HighTail, and several other innovative and successful companies.
Anand has also backed many companies in India. His India investments include Snapdeal, UrbanLadder, Jugnoo, Tracxn, DocsApp, India Infoline (IPO 2005), and Chaupaati (acquired by Future Group). He helped create and fund the IIT Madras Entrepreneurship Fund to boost entrepreneurship at his alma mater, IIT Madras.
In 1996, Anand co-founded Junglee, an e-commerce pioneer. As Chief Technology Officer, Anand played a key role in developing Junglee's award-winning Virtual Database technology. In 1998, Amazon.com acquired Junglee for over $250 million.
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 sales now constitute a significant proportion of all transactions, representing Amazon's most profitable business segment. Anand also is a co-inventor of Amazon Mechanical Turk, which pioneered the concepts of crowdsourcing and hybrid Human-Machine computation.
As an academic, Anand’s research has focused at the intersection of database systems, the World-Wide Web, and social media. His research publications have won several awards at prestigious academic conferences, including three retrospective 10-year Best Paper awards at ACM SIGMOD, VLDB, and ICDT (these awards measure the impact of research, both on academia and industry, over a 10-year period).
Anand co-teaches a popular course on Data Mining at Stanford University. His textbook “Mining of Massive Datasets,” co-authored with Jeff Ullman, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2011 (second edition 2014). It has been downloaded over 100,000 times and has been translated into several languages.
Anand 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 PhD in Computer Science from Stanford University. His work has been featured in hundreds of articles in leading national and international publications such as Business Week (cover) and the New York Times. In 2012, Fast Company magazine named Anand to its list of “100 Most Creative People in Business.” In 2013, Anand was named a Distinguished Alumnus by his alma mater, IIT Madras.
He shares his musings on Big Data, search, and social media on his influential blog Datawocky, whose motto is “More data (usually) beats better algorithms.”
Greg Lahann’s career includes over 25 years of entrepreneurial and venture capital experience. In addition to his CFO role at rocketship.vc, Greg is also CFO Claremont Creek Ventures, a $300M early stage venture capital firm specializing in digital life sciences and energy. He is also the CFO for early stage companies Lumenetix, producer of color tunable LED light engines and Alta Energy, a marketplace for commercial renewable energy projects. Previously Greg was Managing Director at Novus Ventures and MK Global Ventures, both early stage venture capital firms with a total of $320 million under management, managing all financial and administrative elements of the funds and their management companies. At Novus and MK, Greg was actively involved in the operations of many of the portfolio companies, serving as their CFO and member of the boards of directors.
Greg began his career as a CPA with Price Waterhouse, directing audits for start-up to publicly traded companies. He holds a BS Degree in Accounting and Management from San Jose State University.