Kanwal Rekhi


Kanwal Rekhi was born in Rawalpindi (then in British India, now in Pakistan). After the partition of India, his family settled in Kanpur, India. In 1967 Rekhi graduated as an electrical engineer from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India and in 1969 he received a Master of Science degree from Michigan Technological University. Kanwal earned honorary doctorates in both Business and Engineering from the Michigan Technological University. Rekhi had worked as an engineer, systems analyst, and manager before venturing into business. At the age of 36, he moved to San Jose, California and co-founded Excelan in 1982, a manufacturer of smart Ethernet, and was named President and CEO in 1985. The company went public on the NASDAQ in 1987, and merged with Novell in 1989. Kanwal Rekhi remained at Novell as an Executive Vice President and the Chief Technology Officer of the company, later joining the Board of Directors. Kanwal retired from Novell in 1995. After leaving Novell, Kanwal also served as the CEO at CyberMedia from January 1998 until its merger with Network Associates (now McAfee) in September 1998. In 1994, Kanwal became a full-time Angel investor, investing in more than 50 startups of which he led the initial financing and was a member of the board of directors for 23 companies. His venture financings have resulted in 21 exits including 6 IPOs to date. Also active in Indian Public policy related to venture, Kanwal Rekhi advised India government policy makers in reforming venture regulations. This encouraged fund formation in India, and Kanwal was the founding limited partner behind Infinity Capital-India a successful early-stage India venture fund. In 2007, Kanwal co-founded Inventus Capital Partners, and currently serves as Managing Director. During his time at Inventus, Kanwal has invested in companies including GENWI, Salorix, Poshmark, and Sierra Atlantic (acquired by Hitachi Consulting). In 1995, Kanwal Rekhi co-founded TiE, The Indus Entrepreneurs, a nonprofit support network to provide advice, contacts, and funding to Indian Americans hoping to start businesses. Apart from the services to the company, he also acted as an expert in advising the Prime Minister of India and his government for laying the foundation for the country’s Information technology expansion. Kanwal Rekhi has served as a trustee on the global board of TiE. He is also a former Chairman of the Centre for Civil Society. Kanwal has contributed in increasing the profile of educational institutions in India and contributed $5 million to Michigan Tech in 2000, to boost up computer science facilities in India. To help set up a new School of Information Technology, Kanwal Rekhi donated $3 million to IIT Bombay. Kanwal was felicitated with 2010 Haridas and was also conferred Bina Chaudhuri Award for Distinguished Service by California Institute of Integral Studies. He was also awarded the Entrepreneur of the Year in 1987 by the Arthur-Young/Venture magazine. He was also appointed to the Board of Advisors to the President of Michigan Tech.

Rakesh Mittal

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