Kanwal Rekhi

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Kanwal Rekhi
Kanwal Rekhi.jpg
Rekhi in Bangalore on 23 September 2013.
Born1945 (age 76–77)[1]
OccupationManaging director at Inventus Capital Partners
Years active1982–present
Known forCo-Founder of Excelan, Co-Founder of TiE, Venture capitalist, EVP of Novell
AwardsArthur-Young/Venture Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year, 1987
Bina Chaudhuri Award for Distinguished Service by California Institute of Integral Studies

Kanwal Singh Rekhi (born August 29, 1945) (Punjabi : ਕੰਵਲ ਰੇਖੀ) is an Indian-American businessperson. He is credited as the first Indian-American Founder and CEO to take a venture-backed company public on the NASDAQ.[2]


Entrepreneur & Industry Executive[edit]

Rekhi had worked as an engineer, systems analyst, and manager before venturing into entrepreneurship. 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 Novell as an executive vice-president and the chief technology officer of the company, later joining the board of directors. Kanwal retired from Novell in 1995.[3] After leaving Novell, Kanwal also served as the CEO at CyberMedia[citation needed] from January 1998 until its merger with Network Associates (now McAfee) in September 1998.[citation needed]

Venture Investor[edit]

In 1994, Kanwal became a full-time Angel investor, investing in more than 50 startups of which he led the initial financing and was a member of the board of directors for 23 companies. His venture financings 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.[4]

In 2007, Kanwal co-founded Inventus Capital Partners, and currently serves as managing director. During his time at Inventus, Kanwal has invested in companies including GENWI, Salorix, Poshmark, and Sierra Atlantic (acquired by Hitachi Consulting).[citation needed]

India Entrepreneurial Leader[edit]

In 1995, Kanwal Rekhi co-founded TiE, The Indus Entrepreneurs, a nonprofit support network to provide advice, contacts, and funding to Indian Americans hoping to start businesses. Apart from the services to the company, he also acted as an expert in advising the Prime Minister of India and his government for laying the foundation for the country's Information technology expansion. Kanwal has served as a trustee on the global board of TiE. He is also a former chairman of the Centre for Civil Society.[5]


Kanwal has contributed in increasing the profile of educational institutions in India and US. He contributed $5 million to Michigan Tech in 2000.[6] To help set up a new school of Information Technology, Kanwal Rekhi donated $3 million to IIT Bombay which named one of its schools after him as "Kanwal Rekhi School of Information Technology (KReSIT)"(which was merged in 2006 with the department of computer science and engineering).[7]

Awards and Accolades[edit]

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.[8]


  1. ^ "Kanwal Rekhi on I Love India". Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  2. ^ Parikh, Runa Mukherjee (21 September 2013). "Entrepreneurship is tapasya". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  3. ^ "Novell Announces Departure of Kanwal Rekhi from Board of Directors". Novell. 1 September 1995. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  4. ^ "Kanwal Rekhi". Inventus Capital Partners. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  5. ^ "Bio details at Centre for Civil Society". Centre for Civil Society. Archived from the original on 9 October 2006.
  6. ^ "Rekhis Give $5M To Michigan tech". Michigan Tech. 20 June 2000. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  7. ^ Chair Professors at IIT Bombay. Bombay: Indian Institute of Technology. 2010. pp. 4, 45.
  8. ^ Pragati Verma (7 January 2003). "Rekhi dons CEO hat in Net automation firm". The Economic Times. Retrieved 22 January 2014.

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