Born On: 1945
Born In: Rawalpindi, British India (now in Pakistan)
Career: Businessman, Investor
Fondly dubbed as the 'Sage of the New Age', Kanwal Rekhi, the legendary venture capitalist, is a name to reckon with - not just in Silicon Valley, but also in India. An engineer and an entrepreneur, this millionaire philanthropist is accredited for rearing an entire generation of tech entrepreneurs and guiding them towards innovation and excellence. For someone who had been laid-off thrice at the initial juncture of his career, the long list of outstanding accomplishments is indeed laudable. Regular nine to five jobs never thrilled Rekhi, and he soon realized that his real forte lied in business. Instigated by his entrepreneurial proclivity, he along with his two other colleagues launched their own company, Excelan, that pioneered Ethernet networking technology, one of the basic building blocks of the Internet. By dint of his hard work and 'never say die attitude', Rekhi's career scaled great heights and over the years, he established as the 'Guru' of Silicon Valley. Read on to explore more on the life and accomplishments of Kanwal Rekhi.
Kanwal was born in Rawalpindi, then a part of undivided India. After the partition of India, his family moved and settled in Kanpur. After completing his graduation from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay, he completed his Masters from Michigan Technological University. Kanwal earned honorary doctorates in both Business and Engineering from the Michigan Technological University. He is an active board member of the IIT Bombay Heritage Fund (IITBHF) and the founder of Kanwal Rekhi Schools of Information Technology at both IIT-Bombay and Michigan Tech.
Rekhi had worked as an engineer, systems analyst, and manager before venturing into business. At the age of 36, he moved to San Jose and there together with two of his colleagues co-founded Excelan, a company which pioneered the Ethernet Networking technology, thereby catapulting Rekhi's name and status amongst the przied list of world's greatest visionaries and innovators. Later, he went on to establish companies like The IndUS Entrepreneurs (TiE). Apart from the services to the company, he also acted as an expert in advising the Indian Prime Minister and his government for laying the foundation for the country's IT expansion. With Inventus, the new India-US venture fund, Kanwal works closely to accomplish great results with entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and India.
Kanwal's contribution in the domain of technological advancement has been widely appreciated. He had contributed in increasing the profile of educational institutions in India and had contributed a whopping $5 million 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.
Awards And Accolades
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. Besides, he has been a recipient of a doctorate degree in Business and Engineering and was appointed to the Board of Advisors to the President of Michigan Tech.
1945: Born in Rawalpindi (Now in Pakistan).
1967: Kanwal Rekhi graduated as an electric engineer from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.
1969: Left India and went to US to obtain a master's degree from the Michigan Technological University.
1982: Rekhi, co-founded a networking company, Excelan.
1985: Became the CEO of Excelan.
1989: Became the first Indian to be on the board of a billion-dollar multinational Infotech company.
1995: Worked closely with entrepreneurs.
2000: Encouraged fund foundation in India.
2010: Awarded the 2010 Haridas and Bina Chaudhuri Award for Distinguished Service.
2011: Currently a board member of Pan IIT USA, Inc., the alumni organization of the Indian Institutes of Technology.