Mahesh Murthy

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Mahesh Murthy
Mahesh Murthy
Mahesh Murthy in February 2015
Born (1965-09-11) 11 September 1965 (age 56)
OccupationInvestor, marketer, writer, speaker, entrepreneur, columnist
Notable work
Columns in WSJ,[citation needed] Businessworld, Business Today[citation needed]
TelevisionBusiness Baazigar,[1] The Pitch[citation needed]

Mahesh Murthy is an Indian marketer and investor. He is the founder of the digital agency Pinstorm.

Early life and education[edit]

Murthy was born and raised in a Tamil Brahmin family. His father was a colonel in the Indian Army.[2] and was accepted into Osmania University[3] to study chemical engineering,[4] from where he dropped out at the age of 17.[5]


After leaving college, he worked as a vacuum cleaner salesman for Eureka Forbes and subsequently founded his first company, a cleaning service called Vaclean.[4]

He worked for the advertising agency FCB (then FCB/Ulka) and Grey Advertising (then Trikaya Grey) in India.[6] He then moved to Ogilvy & Mather, Hong Kong.[7] In 1994, he directed a set of six films for MTV with Shashanka Ghosh,[8] for which they won the New Directors Showcase award at the Cannes Lions.[9]

He then moved to CKS Partners in Portland[10] where he worked on Yahoo!,[7] and on Amazon's 'Earth's Biggest Bookstore' campaign.[citation needed]

He then went on to work in the e-commerce domain, as vice president of marketing for iCat,[11] a publisher of e-commerce software that was acquired by Intel.[12]

Murthy then ran an Indian music television channel - Channel V – as acting general manager for India, and helped launch its website,[13]

In 2000, Murthy founded the "angel fund" Passionfund[5] which funded companies such as Compassbox, Tulleeho, WebDunia, Geodesic and EBSDirect.[14]

He founded the digital marketing firm Pinstorm in 2004 and, in 2006, co-founded the early-stage fund Seedfund which funded and advised companies.[15]


IndustryOnline advertising
FoundedMay 2004
FounderMahesh Murthy
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
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.[16]

In March 2008, Pinstorm announced a non-equity partnership with the Lintas Media Group in India.[17]

Murthy claims that Pinstorm was among the world's first advertising firms to implement pay for performance advertising.[18]


There have been multiple sexual harassment allegations against Murthy, dating back as early as 2003.[19] A year after the first allegations of sexual misconduct came up against Murthy, nearly half a dozen women, one of them alleging rape, filed written complaints before the National Commission for Women (NCW).[20]

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.[21] In 2020, the Delhi High Court reversed its gag order on publishing sexual abuse allegations against Murthy. It also rejected the contention that the accusers were "disgruntled" as Murthy had rejected their business proposals, calling it a "bald plea".[22]


  1. ^ "City youth in Zee?s Business Baazigar". Hindustan Times. 5 April 2006.
  2. ^ Naidu, Viren (1 August 2006). "35 and burnt-out? Retire and re-retire". The Economic Times. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  3. ^ "These 13 Successful Indian College Dropout Entrepreneurs Prove That College Is Not Necessary For Success". Inc42. 2 July 2015. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Mahesh Murthy – Pin Drop Storm". Crazy Engineers. Retrieved 3 November 2017.[dead link]
  5. ^ a b Dubey, Tanya. "Mahesh Murthy's Unique Art of Survival- From Being a Vacuum Salesman to an Ace Investor". Business Insider. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  6. ^ Goyal, Sandeep (2004). The Dum Dum Bullet. Popular Prakashan. pp. 67–68. ISBN 9788179915837 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ a b Communication Arts: Advertising annual (96 ed.). Coyne & Blanchard. 1995. p. 210 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ "Eminent Bafians". Bafians. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  9. ^ Andy Gulliman (24 June 2015). "25 years of Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors' Showcase". Campaign. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
    - "New Directors' Showcase 1994". Saatchi & Saatchi. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  10. ^ Communication Arts. Vol. 37. Coyne & Blanchard. September 1995. p. 129 – via Google Books.
  11. ^ Heather McCabe (29 April 1998). "Speed: The E-Commerce Mantra". WIRED.
  12. ^ "Intel To Acquire iCat". Intel. 30 November 1998.
  13. ^ Myay Bhushan (7 August 1999). "A Radical Refocus Aims At The Upscale Youth Market". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc.: 46 – via Google Books.
  14. ^ "'If you do a typical MBA, you'll never be a successful entrepreneur'". Rediff News. 26 September 2006. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  15. ^ Kripa Mahalingam (24 November 2012). "It's not about the money". Outlook Business. Retrieved 26 September 2021.
    - Nadhe, Shivani Shinde (5 February 2014). "Seedfund: India's 'desi' fund plans a third offering". Business Standard India. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  16. ^ "Mahesh Murthy "India's Largest eCommerce Platform"". etailingindiaexpo. Retrieved 5 February 2017.[dead link]
    - Leslie D'Monte (28 September 2006). "Search engine marketing". Business Standard.[dead link]
    - "Indian Companies in Asia's Top 100". Techtree News. 15 September 2005. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011.
  17. ^ "Lintas and Pinstorm tie up for digital advertising". Mint. 18 March 2008. Retrieved 26 September 2001. 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.
    - "India Inc all a Twitter". Business Standard. 21 October 2009. Archived from the original on 22 October 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'
    - "Mahesh Murthy's Presentation at 140Conf". Archived from the original on 7 September 2012.[dead link]
  18. ^ Shivani Mohan (3 June 2009). "Mahesh Murthy: Maverick Marketeer". Khaleej Times.
  19. ^ Pankaj Mishra (21 April 2017). "Mahesh Murthy in new sexual misconduct charges; Seedfund says had heard other rumours". Factor Daily. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  20. ^ Pankaj Mishra (1 March 2018). "Complaint before NCW against Mahesh Murthy alleges rape; new harassment cases emerge". Factor Daily. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  21. ^ Manish K Pathak (9 February 2018). "VC investor Mahesh Murthy gets anticipatory bail after charges of sexual harassment". Hindustan Times.
  22. ^ Apoorva Mandhani (8 July 2020). "Delhi HC reverses its gag order on publishing sexual abuse allegations against Mahesh Murthy". The Print. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
    - "No Escape for Mahesh Murthy, the VC Who Went to Court to Stop Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Him". Yahoo. Retrieved 12 January 2021.[dead link]