Mahesh Murthy

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Mahesh Murthy
Mahesh Murthy
Mahesh Murthy in February 2015
Born (1965-09-11) September 11, 1965 (age 53)
OccupationInvestor, Marketer, Writer, Speaker, Entrepreneur, columnist
Notable work
Columns in WSJ,[1] Businessworld, Business Today[2]
TelevisionBusiness Baazigar,[3] The Pitch[4]

Mahesh Murthy is an Indian marketer and investor specialising in early-stage startups.

He is the founder and Chief executive officer of digital agency Pinstorm, and managing partner of early-stage fund Seedfund.

Early life and education[edit]

Murthy was born and raised in a Tamil Brahmin family. His father was a Colonel in the Indian Army.[5][6] He attended school at Kendriya Vidyalaya Picket, Secunderabad,[7] and was accepted into Osmania University[8] to study chemical engineering,[9] from where he dropped out at age 17.[10]


After dropping out of college, he worked as a vacuum cleaner salesman for Eureka Forbes and subsequently founded his first company, a cleaning service called Vaclean.[9]

He worked for FCB (advertising agency) (then FCB/Ulka) and Grey Advertising (then Trikaya Grey) in India, where he won awards for work done on clients including Network copiers.[11] He then moved to Ogilvy & Mather, Hong Kong where he worked for clients like Unilever, The Economist, HP, Microsoft, Pepsi, and MTV.[12]

In 1994, he directed a set of six films for MTV with Shashanka Ghosh,[13] for which they won the New Directors Showcase award at the Cannes Lions.[14][15]

He then moved to CKS Partners, Portland[16] where he most notably worked on Yahoo!,[12] and on Amazon's 'Earth's Biggest Bookstore' campaign.[17]

He then went on to work in the e-commerce domain, as vice president of marketing for iCat,[18] a publisher of e-commerce software that was acquired by Intel.[19]

Murthy then ran an Indian music television channel- Channel V - as acting GM for India, and was instrumental in repositioning it as a youth channel, and in launching its website,[20]

In 2000, Murthy founded angel fund Passionfund[10] which funded companies such as Compassbox, Tulleeho, WebDunia, Geodesic, EBSDirect [21]

He founded digital marketing firm Pinstorm in 2004, and in 2006 co-founded early-stage fund Seedfund with Pravin Gandhi and Bharti Jacob which funded and advised companies such as Carwale, Voonik, RedBus (where Murthy helped redesign the website),[22] Chumbak, Done By None, MyDentist, Heckyl, and Edusports.[23]

Murthy was one of the Top Writers on Quora in 2014[24]


IndustryOnline advertising
FoundedMay, 2004
FounderMahesh Murthy
ProductsIntegrated digital advertising on a pay-for-performance basis, involving SEM, SEO, SMM, Display, ORM, Email, SMS, mobile marketing
Number of employees

Pinstorm is a digital advertising firm headquartered in Mumbai, India with offices in New Delhi, Bangalore, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Zurich and Santa Clara. The company was founded by Mahesh Murthy who was also its COO until recently,[25][26] and in 2005 stood amongst the "Asia's Top 100 Technology Companies" in first "Red Herring 100 Asia list" published by Red Herring magazine.[27]

In March, 2008, Pinstorm announced a non-equity partnership with the Lintas Media Group in India. Pinstorm has similar relationships with other advertising agencies.[28] Pinstorm is now known for its marketing efforts using Twitter and social media networks [29][30] at the first 140Conf in New York City

Murthy claims that Pinstorm was the world's first advertising firm to implement pay for performance advertising.[31]


Murthy has been an advocate for net neutrality in India,[32] and also clashed with Marc Andreessen on the subject.[33][34]

Murthy has attacked the high salaries paid to executives of Indian online companies such as Flipkart, arguing that such practices encourage economic protectionism.[35]

In late 2017, the Mumbai police registered a case of sexual harassment against Murthy after India's National Commission of Women wrote to them about complaints they received from various women. Murthy has denied the allegations.[36]


  1. ^ . Wall Street Journal Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ . Business Today Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ . Hindustan Times Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ . Bloomberg TV Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ "Is Mahesh Murthy a self-made millionaire? Does he come from a millionaire family background? Which startups did he found? - Quora". Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  6. ^ Naidu, Viren (2006-08-01). "35 and burnt-out? Retire and re-retire". The Economic Times. Retrieved 2017-11-03.
  7. ^ "Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2017-11-03.
  8. ^ "These 13 Successful Indian College Dropout Entrepreneurs Prove That College Is Not Necessary For Success - Inc42 Media". Retrieved 2017-11-03.
  9. ^ a b "Mahesh Murthy - Pin Drop Storm". CrazyEngineers. Retrieved 2017-11-03.
  10. ^ a b Dubey, Tanya. "Exclusive: Mahesh Murthy's Unique Art of Survival- From Being a Vacuum Salesman to an Ace Investor". Business Insider. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  11. ^ Goyal; Sandeep (2004). The Dum Dum Bullet. Popular Prakashan. ISBN 9788179915837.
  12. ^ a b Communication Arts: Advertising annual. Coyne & Blanchard. 1995.
  13. ^ "Shashanka Ghosh Alumni of Air Force Bal Bharati School, New Delhi Alumni - Bafians". Retrieved 2017-11-03.
  14. ^ "25 years of Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors' Showcase". Retrieved 2017-11-03.
  15. ^ "New Directors' Showcase : Saatchi & Saatchi". Saatchi & Saatchi. Retrieved 2017-11-03.
  16. ^ Communication Arts. Coyne & Blanchard. September 1995.
  17. ^ Saunders, Rebecca (2001-12-31). Business the way: secrets of the world's most astonishing Web business. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781841121550.
  18. ^ "Speed: The E-Commerce Mantra". WIRED. 29 April 1998.
  19. ^ "Intel To Acquire iCat".
  20. ^ Inc, Nielsen Business Media (1999-08-07). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc.
  21. ^ "'If you do a typical MBA, you'll never be a successful entrepreneur'". Rediff. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  22. ^ "It's Not About The Money".
  23. ^ Nadhe, Shivani Shinde (2014-02-05). "Seedfund: India's 'desi' fund plans a third offering". Business Standard India. Retrieved 2017-11-03.
  24. ^ "The most followed Top Writers - Quorabot - Quora". Retrieved 2017-11-03.
  25. ^ "Mahesh Murthy «  India's Largest eCommerce Platform". Retrieved 2017-02-05.
  26. ^ Search engine marketing Business Standard, Leslie D'Monte, Mumbai September 28, 2006.
  27. ^ Indian Companies in Asia's Top 100 Techtree News Staff, Sep 15, 2005. Archived 2011-09-27 at the Wayback Machine.
  28. ^ "Lintas and Pinstorm tie up for digital advertising". Mint. Pinstorm and Lintas Media Group have announced a significant non-equity partnership. Designed to push clients to performance-driven media choices, the alliance between the two leading firms in the offline and online worlds will put further pressure on traditional agencies and media houses. This move is being seen in media circles as a positive step towards a more evolved phase in digital advertising.
  29. ^ "India Inc all a Twitter". Business Standard. October 21, 2009. Archived from the original on October 22, 2009. With the help of Mahesh Murthy, founder and CEO of search engine marketing firm Pinstorm, and his team, this private bank monitors around 1,600 tweets or conversations a Relationship Management'
  30. ^ "Mahesh Murthy's Presentation at 140Conf". Archived from the original on 2012-09-07.
  31. ^ "Pinstorm's pay-for-performance philosophy".
  32. ^ . Huffington Post Missing or empty |title= (help)
  33. ^ "How Facebook Lost Face in India - Knowledge@Wharton". Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  34. ^ Cellan-Jones, Rory (2016-02-12). "Tech Tent - Silicon Valley arrogance, connected toy safety, and AI that can read". BBC News. Retrieved 2017-11-03.
  35. ^ Sehgal, Kritika. "Indian VC Mahesh Murthy rips apart 'hollow arguments' of Vani Kola on 'capital dumping'". Techseen. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  36. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)