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Power to the Free

San Francisco is the eleventh city I’ve lived in. I grew up in India, relocating every three to four years for my dad’s job in the government. Moving around meant I didn’t have as much of a community growing up - something the internet and social media have made possible today. I got into tech when I saw startups bringing the world closer - helping young people find connection and community online.

My first day of school in city #3.

Very early on, my mom instilled in me a love of books and reading. We would read the newspaper together and I’d have to look up new words in the dictionary to practice my vocabulary. Books like “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand and “1984” by George Orwell had a profound impact on me - teaching me to think for myself, question societal norms, and strive for freedom.

In India, education was the ladder to socio-economic mobility, so my parents spent all their disposable income on our education. It changed my life - the schools I went to, the focus on education at home and the spoken English practice with my mom everyday. Early in my career, I worked in edtech investing and policy work with the government, so every child could have the same shot at success that my education gave me.

“I measure my life by the impact I have - democratizing access to services, fostering community and making the world more free.”

The Comet app.

In 2020, I co-founded Comet, a consumer social startup to help people discover, share and recommend the best educational content online. Misinformation was rampant during the pandemic and a few social media platforms controlled virtually all the information we consumed. My hope was to create a platform for ‘decentralized truth’ and to equalize access to educational content online.

Starting a company was the most humbling and grounding experience of my life - we failed to acquire and retain users. Sadly we had to shut it down in a year. It was heartbreaking to make the decision and see the impact on our early team. I have the deepest respect and empathy not only for founders, but also for early team members who leave their secure jobs to follow the dreamers. I loved my startup, not just because of our mission, but because of our team.

When I see a founder hire people who really care and have followed them from somewhere else, it tells me a lot about their character as a leader and their ability to hire a strong team going forward.

My startup experience also taught me that go-to-market and distribution are everything. What people say they care about in user interviews is very different from how they actually spend their time and money. I want to work with founders to help them crack this distribution flywheel.

“You can have the best idea and the best product, but if you don’t know how to acquire consumers, it’s not going to work.”

At Stanford GSB, I co-founded the Stanford Blockchain Accelerator. I loved working with founders at the earliest stages - when their ideas were still germinating. The ideas labeled as weird or outrageous or too out there were, for me, the most interesting. Yet again I saw how hard startups are and how difficult it can be to determine when it is the right time to raise, how much to raise, how to attract the best talent and how to find users. I will be there for founders when the going gets tough.

Stanford Blockchain Club x CRV happy hour last summer.

Startups are a dream to change the world. I’m excited to back founders who are free - free to question and upend the status quo, free to dream the dream, free to make change happen and free to do it on their own terms.

I still very much self identify as a nerd. Business books are not my thing, but I love reading historical fiction and philosophy as well as books about geopolitics and space. Sometimes, I’m three hours deep into Reddit or HackerNews on a Sunday morning. I was, and will always be, the biggest Harry Potter fan.

At Harry Potter world in Osaka, Japan. “After all this time?” “Always.”

During the pandemic, when every day felt similar, I got into lifting weights - it was soothing to measure and see progress every day. Fitness has also helped me build and find community - whether on Reddit or in real life.

As I think about impact, billions of people in the world don’t live in metropolitan cities. I’m excited to work with startups broadening access to services and material goods - education, healthcare, financial services, travel and ecommerce.

I want to back founders fostering connection and community - through social apps, communication, gaming and entertainment. We are at a unique inflection point today - with AI and AR/VR, the way we interface with technology - and with each other - is set to change forever. I’m excited to work with founders dreaming up this change.