Businessman, Venture Capitalist, Angel Investor & Entrepreneur
Kanwal Rekhi, born 1945, is an Indian-American businessman, Venture Capitalist, Angel Investor and Entrepreneur, currently serving as the Managing Director at Inventus Capital Partners. Rekhi is credited with being the first Indian American Founder & CEO to take a venture-backed company public on the NASDAQ. Kanwal Rekhi was born in Rawalpindi (then in British India, now in Pakistan). After the partition of Indiaspora KANWAL REKHI
Businessman, Venture Capitalist, Angel Investor & Entrepreneur India, his family settled in Kanpur, India. In 1967 Rekhi graduated as an electrical engineer from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, and in 1969 he received a Master of Science degree from the Michigan Technological University. Rekhi also was bestowed with honorary doctorates in both Business and Engineering by the Michigan Technological University for his contributions in his domains of expertise.
Rekhi had worked as an engineer, systems analyst, and manager before finally 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 remained at No vell as an Executive Vice-President and the Chief Technology Officer of the company, later joining the board of directors. He 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 start-ups, of which he led the initial financing and was a member of the board of directors for 23 companies.
His venture finance interventions have resulted in 21 exits including 6 IPOs to date. Also active in Indian Public policy related to venture, Kanwal 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. Kanwal co-founded Inventus Capital Partners in 2007, and currently serves as its MD. At Inventus, Kanwal has invested in companies including GENWI, Salorix, Poshmark, and Sierra Atlantic (which was acquired by Hitachi Consulting). Kanwal Rekhi is credited with being one of the founding fathers of TiE. The Indus Entrepreneurs, founded in 1995, is a not-for-profit support network to provide advice, contacts, and funding to Indian Americans hoping to start businesses.
Rekhi also has the distinction of having acted as an expert in advising the Prime Minister of India and his government for laying the foundation of the country’s Information Technology expansion. Kanwal has served as a trustee on the global board of TiE, and is also a former Chairman of the Centre for Civil Society. On the philanthrophic front, Rekhi has contributed in increasing the profile of educational institutions in India and contributed US$ 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, he donated US$ 3 million to his alma mater, IIT Bombay. Kanwal was conferred the Bina Chaudhuri Award for Distinguished Service by California Institute of Integral Studies. His other laurels include the Entrepreneur of the Year award in 1987 by the Arthur-Young/Venture magazine. Michigan Tech has appointed him to its Board of Advisors to the President of the institution.