Kanwal was the first Indo-American Founder & CEO to take a venture-backed company public on the NASDAQ. He then became one of the most successful super-angels and VCs in Silicon Valley and India. He co-founded and then led the expansion of TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) into the largest global mentoring network for Indian entrepreneurs. He’s co-invested with John for 20 years and co-Founded Inventus in 2008 to expand the platform and provide the resources to help Founders build defining new companies.
Kanwal came to the United States from India for graduate school, advanced through the engineering ranks in a number of technology companies, and co-Founded Excelan in Silicon Valley to be the first to commercialize Ethernet and TCP/IP – standards which became the basis of the Internet. He took Excelan public in 1987, becoming the first Indo-American Founder & CEO to list a venture-backed company on the NASDAQ. Excelan later merged with Novell, where Kanwal served as CTO and a Board Director. He established Novell’s operations in India, grew the company into the second largest software vendor in the world and returned 100X to his venture investors. Later, Kanwal was CEO twice more at Cybermedia and Ensim, where he had been the lead venture investor and Board member, and negotiated Cybermedia’s successful acquisition by Network Associates.
Over the 14 years prior to co-founding Inventus, Kanwal was a full-time venture-angel. A Super-Angel in todays vernacular, investing his own capital in more than 50 startups, of which he led the initial financings for 23 and was a Board Director. These prior venture investments resulted in 21 exits including 6 IPOs. Kanwal re-engaged with India in the late 90s, advising government policy makers on successful reforms of venture regulations that encouraged fund formation. He was the founding limited partner behind Infinity Capital-India, a successful early-stage India venture fund. He also successfully advised the Indian Prime Minister and his government on their aggressive deregulation of telecom, leading to the explosive growth of mobile telephony in India, and laying the foundation for the country’s impressive IT expansion.
At Inventus, Kanwal has been on the Boards of Sierra Atlantic (ACQ: Hitachi), GenWi (ACQ: Persistent Systems), Espresso Logic (ACQ: CA Technologies), Assured Risk, FundsIndia, Intellivision, Poshmark & StatX; he’s also actively mentored and helped most other Inventus Founders and their teams, most notably at redBus & Power2SME.
Kanwal earned a BSEE from IIT-Bombay and a MSEE and Honorary Doctorates in both Business and Engineering from Michigan Tech. Kanwal is a board member on the IIT Bombay Heritage Fund (IITBHF), and also founded the Kanwal Rekhi Schools of Information Technology at both IIT-Bombay and Michigan Tech.