Mike Volpi

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Mike Volpi
Mike Volpi.png
Venture Capitalist Mike Volpi
Alma materStanford University
OccupationPartner of Index Ventures

Michelangelo "Mike" Volpi (born 13 December 1966) is an Italian-American businessman and venture capitalist. He worked as an engineer, eventually becoming chief strategy officer at Cisco Systems during the company’s growth era, acquiring over 70 companies in less than five years.[1][2] He co-founded Index VenturesSan Francisco office with Danny Rimer in 2009.

Early life[edit]

Volpi was born in Milan, Italy. When he was five, his family moved to Tokyo, Japan, where he lived until he moved to the United States in 1984 to attend college. He earned a BS in mechanical engineering (1984-1988) and an MS in manufacturing systems engineering (1988-1989) from Stanford University.[3]

Volpi began his career at Hewlett Packard's optoelectronics division in 1989 where he was both in engineering and marketing.[1] While at HP, he met his future wife Toni C. Cupal.[4] He returned to Stanford to earn an M.B.A. from the Graduate School of Business (1992-1994).[3]


Volpi joined Cisco Systems in 1994 in the nascent business development group. He was promoted to leading acquisitions at Cisco starting in April 1996. As chief strategy officer he led corporate strategy, business development, and strategic alliances. Their acquisition strategy of Volpi and his team at Cisco is used as model for technology mergers and acquisitions.[5] he was promoted to the chief strategy office working for CEO John Chambers until 2000. Some press speculated he was heir apparent to Chambers.[6][7]

Moving into an operational role as a senior vice president and general manager, he led the routing and switching teams, then co-led the routing and service provider group with Prem Jain until 2007.[8] During this time Cisco's first Carrier Routing System product was announced, the CRS-1, in 2004.[9]


After Cisco in 2007 he became entrepreneur in residence (EIR) at Sequoia Capital. A few months later, he was appointed CEO of Joost,[10][11][7][12][13][14] an Internet startup focused on online TV which was founded by Skype founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis.[15] In September 2009, a lawsuit was filed against Volpi by Skype’s founders in conjunction with the proposed divestiture of Skype from eBay.[16] The lawsuit was dropped in November 2009.[17]

Index Ventures[edit]

At Index Ventures, Volpi invests in early-stage companies, primarily across autonomous driving, enterprise and open source.[18] Volpi has served on the boards of Index portfolio companies Big Switch Networks, Blue Bottle Coffee (acquired by Nestle),[19] Confluent Software, Elastic, Hortonworks, Lookout, Pure Storage, Sonos, Ubiquity6, and Zuora.[20][21]

During Volpi's time at Index, the grew its office in San Francisco to an equal presence on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.[22] From 2012 to 2018, the firm had six initial public offerings in the US, including Dropbox, Etsy, Sonos and Zuora, and has invested in early rounds of companies including self-driving car startup Aurora,[23] Bird and Robinhood.[24]

Other activity[edit]

Volpi is a non-executive board member of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, an independent director of European investment firm Exor,[25] and was a board member of Swedish mobile giant Ericsson from 2010 to 2013.[26][27] He served on the board(s) of Opsware (now HP),[28] TIBCO Software, Skype, StorSimple, Cloud.com, and Clearwire.

Volpi serves sits on the board of Castilleja School, an independent school for girls grades six through twelve in Palo Alto, California,[29] and is a Global Advisory Board Member at Knight-Hennessy Scholars, an international graduate-level scholarship program for study at Stanford University.[30] He served on the board of Witness, a non-profit organization that uses video to find human rights violations,[31] and on the advisory council for the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Personal life[edit]

Volpi is trilingual, and married with 2 children. His father is Vittorio Volpi, an executive at the United Bank of Switzerland.[4]



  1. ^ a b Andy Reinhardt (August 25, 1997). "Michaelangelo Volpi Vice-president, business development Cisco Systems". Business Week. Retrieved June 2, 2013.
  2. ^ "Forbes.com profile".
  3. ^ a b "Mike Volpi". LinkedIn profile. Retrieved June 2, 2013.
  4. ^ a b Mike Volpi, nndb.com
  5. ^ Can Mike Volpi Make Cisco Sizzle Again? - Businessweek
  6. ^ Kara Visits With Joost's Mike Volpi, Part 1 - Kara Swisher - News - AllThingsD
  7. ^ a b Mike Volpi's trek from Cisco to Joost - CNET News
  8. ^ Cisco veteran Volpi to step down – CNET News
  9. ^ "CRS-1: The Foundation for the Future of Communications". News release. May 25, 2004. Archived from the original on June 3, 2004. Retrieved June 2, 2013.
  10. ^ "Elevator Pitch: Mike Volpi on his past at Cisco and the future of Android". The Mercury News. March 10, 2014.
  11. ^ "Volpi Leaves Joost for Index Ventures". AdWeek. July 6, 2009.
  12. ^ Interview: Mike Volpi, Former Joost CEO, Now at Index Ventures - Kara Swisher - News - AllThingsD
  13. ^ Former Joost CEO Mike Volpi Jumps to Index Ventures — Tech News and Analysis
  14. ^ Mike Volpi Out As Joost Chairman – Business Insider
  15. ^ Joost taps Cisco VP Mike Volpi as CEO – Electronics Eetimes
  16. ^ Fowler, Geoffrey A. (21 September 2009). "Skype Founders File Another Suit in eBay Saga". The Wall Street Journal.
  17. ^ Skype Lawsuit Settlement Details – Kara Swisher – News – AllThingsD
  18. ^ "A "Perfect Storm" Moment for Multibillion-Dollar Open Source Companies". recode. March 24, 2014.
  19. ^ "Nestlé acquires a majority stake in Blue Bottle Coffee at a valuation north of $700M". TechCrunch. September 14, 2017.
  20. ^ "Index Ventures' Mike Volpi on Enterprise Investments". recode. June 12, 2014.
  21. ^ "Ask A VC: Index Ventures' Mike Volpi On What To Look For In A Board Member And More". TechCrunch. September 14, 2017.
  22. ^ "Index Ventures Has A New, $550 Million Fund, And A New Partner". TechCrunch. February 3, 2016.
  23. ^ "Aurora On The Rise: Robocar Startup Snags $90 Million, Adds Reid Hoffman, Mike Volpi To Board". Forbes. February 28, 2018.
  24. ^ "Index Ventures Has Been on a Run. Now It's Raising Funds to Keep It Up". New York Times. July 9, 2018.
  25. ^ "Agnelli heir makes bet on family fortune". FT. April 4, 2017.
  26. ^ Two new members nominated to Board of Directors – Ericsson
  27. ^ Ericsson's Annual General Meeting 2013 - Ericsson
  28. ^ Opsware Inc. Adds Two New Independent Board Members; Noted Industry Leaders Mike Volpi and Mike Homer Elected to Board of Directors | Business Wire
  29. ^ "Castilleja School: Board of Trustees".
  30. ^ "Stanford University Knight-Hennessy Scholars".
  31. ^ Human Rights Videos | witness.org
  32. ^ "The Midas List 2015". Forbes.com. No. Midas List. 25 March 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  33. ^ "MIT Technology Review: Innovators Under 35".
  34. ^ Mike Volpi, 12/27/99 Archived 2012-10-14 at the Wayback Machine, Network World
  35. ^ "The Top 100 Venture Capitalists".