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What drives you?
As an idealist I have always fervently believed that technology has the ability to make our lives significantly better. We have a responsibility for helping to create a brighter future because of the power we have as capital allocators in backing the right set of people and technologies.
What attributes do you look for in entrepreneurs?
Starting a company is difficult. It’s a long, hard journey that isn’t for everyone. But when I see a founder with equal parts vision, execution and optimism who lives the idea that has been gnawing at them, I’m all in.
How do you view your role with portfolio companies?
My role is to be the “blind-spot” monitor, someone who helps at the earliest stages of a company, enabling founders to see things they don’t even know they are supposed to see. My role is multifaceted, from recruiting engineers and executives to closing customers. As a board member, it is also important to make sure we never stray from our moral compass.
What first drew you to technology?
In 1986, as a seven-year-old student at the American School in Frankfurt, Germany, I watched the launch of the space shuttle Challenger. During the prior year, we had closely followed the Challenger program because our teacher had been a finalist to join the mission into space. It really got me sucked into everything space and wanting to be an astronaut. It is for that reason that I went to Purdue, which had produced more astronauts than any other university. My education there didn’t lead me into space (at least not yet), but it did lead me to Silicon Valley in 1997 to give me my start in the world of technology.
How did your family affect your views of the workplace?
I grew up in a fairly traditional Pakistani home in Frankfurt, Germany. My father was a banker, and my mother gave up her career to raise four children. I grew up with three sisters—one older, two younger. I’m grateful for the years of exposure that made me the person who I am today. My views of the workplace are informed by my brilliant wife, who forges new ground as a Physician and Entrepreneur. I see through her eyes how much more work we have to do for our two daughters.