From Sijo K. Batch 1. 2013.
First day, Asha gave us time to get our SIM cards, unpack, check out the neighborhood and get over the jet lag. We walked around University Avenue and Palo Alto area soaking up the visit to small offices where Google and Facebook started. We walked into a dinky little office on Hamilton Ave where some Indian and Israeli programmers gave us free cell phone holders for the car. The startup was called Waze. We spent time in Coupa Cafe, University Cafe, Keplers book store, visited HP Garage, drove by Steve Jobs’ residence, and walked over to Mark Zuckerberg’s residence (which is right behind the RC Fellowship home)!!!!!
On Tuesday (10th), I met up with the concerned person in Wadhwani Foundation . She was impressed with what we were doing at Startup Village and was also impressed by the Asha’s efforts of building a startup corridor between India and the valley. She also has made introductions to Romesh Wadhwani and their CEO Ajay. We also set up an appointment with Legal Force to understand all the nuances of setting up an entity for our startups in the US. Needless to say, that was a really productive and insightful meeting. In the evening we went to attend a meetup at a nearby hackerspace named HackerDojo. There was a pitch session that was attended by representatives from 3 VC firms; one of which was an Indian from Ojas Ventures. In the evening I met up with Sneha of Kochipost and her husband Arun. Arun is doing a very interesting startup. Arun recently moved from India to the valley, set up his company here and also raised his Series A from here.
Wednesday, 11th: We visited nestGSV in the morning, the incubator that Suma is also a part of. Gene there gave us a nice tour and we stayed on for their community lunch gathering. Companies such as Skully helmets operate out of this facility. nestGSV seems to have a stake in Coursera ! We met the CEO of Nest and he mentioned that CIIE (IIM Ahmedabad accelerator) team was there a day before and that they are looking at partnerships with incubators in India. Interesting ! Samsung has also set up their accelerator there in partnership with nestGSV.
In the afternoon, we visited Herocity at Draper University in San Mateo. This is where BoostVC operates out of of which Apurv is also a part of. We spent considerable time there interacted with Bryan, who is a founding parter along with Adam Draper. He patiently sat through all our product introductions and offered feedback. He also connected Akash to the founders of the company by the name Down (previously Bang with Friends). Down is one among the successful BoostVC startup. Huge interest on their part for BitCoin startups as well.
Late evening, we attended a meetup at Akamai office. It was a talk by one of the Facebook engineers. The session was heavily technical in nature. Nonetheless, it was a good experience to get exposed to the size and scale of technical challenges that Facebook encounters on a daily basis and to get to know how they are going about solving them
Thursday, 12th: We met Karen Wickre of Twitter today over lunch. She used to be with Google earlier and happens to be a good friend of David Krane of Google Ventures. We met David at Asha’s home. Karen took us to one of the incubators situated in the same building by the name of Runway. We then went to the Mozilla office. Its en route to the Mozilla meeting that we ran into each other 🙂 Its on the same day that we ran into Ron Conway at the Twitter office. We interacted briefly and he also asked me to convey his regards to Asha. Late in the evening, we attended a holiday party at nestGSV which Gene was kind enough to invite us to. That was a lot of fun and we also ended up singing Karoake late into the night!
Friday, 13th: We visited Evernote in the morning. Met two amazing individuals by the name of Troy Malone and Hemant Garg. We spent about two hours talking about various things. Infact, the meeting went beyond just discussions and they have signed up both Arvind and Vijith to integrate their product with Evernote. Exciting things shaping up there and I will send you a separate mail with that details.
Post lunch, we went to SF to visit Rocketspace. The Canadian Government has set up their incubator (CTA) at Rocketspace and we were hosted by the Canadian trade commissioner John Zimmerman. Rocketspace is a unique model in itself and companies such as Uber and Spotify (not to mention several others) came out of this space. Personally for me also this was a very valuable and insightful interaction to help me further refine the model for Startup Village in Kochi.
In the evening, we were hosted by Dipender Saluja of Capricorn Ventures (Jeff Skoll’s venture Team) and Yatin Mundkur of Artiman Ventures. We interacted for about a good two hours. Dipender gave us excellent feedback on our startups and pointed us to our next steps. He also said that he will try to arrange a Tesla factory visit on request from the kids 🙂
Saturday, 14th: We met up with Neeraj Arora of Whatsapp in the morning at University Cafe. Around the same time Sanjay of Action for India also came over to drop a hi. Radhika introduced me to Sanjay and Sanjay works closely with Sam Pitroda on the initiative. Sanjay was also quite excited by everything that we were doing and connected us to Vivek Wadhwa. Vivek is presently spending time with Singularity University and has agreed to meet up with us tomo.
Subsequent to the meeting with Neeraj, we all went to SF to meet Anna Waldman for the much awaited hacker hopping part of the trip. The hacker hopping overall turned out to be a super amazing experience I have to say. We first visited Sudo room and American Steel Studios at Oakland and then NoiseBridge in SF. At American Steel Studios, we visited Luke’s garage. Luke also happens to be a INK fellow and is also a YC startup. NoiseBridge was the high point of the day though. That place is quite something in itself!
Sunday, 15th: Its a fairly relaxed day today. We do have some follow up meetings. We will also be meeting Pete of the startup named Lyft. They are SF based and is competing head on with Uber. Im planning to visit Explroatorium and / or the San Jose tech museum today; if I can manage time that is. This Fellows will also be visiting the computer history museum while finding time to do their shopping. We decided to skip the 17 Mile Drive and the Napa trip owing to shortage of time.
Plan for Monday and Tuesday:
Monday, 16th: We will be meeting Karl Mehta & Vivek Wadhwa in the morning. Then Parthiv Patel of Facebook over lunch who Radhika Shah introduced to us. Radhika and Ashit work closely with Asha on extending her efforts to newer circles. Manish Chandra CEO will be hosting us at Poshmark office in the afternoon. Late in the evening, we will be visiting the Dropbox office in SF. We might also get an opportunity to visit the () lab; we happened to meet the professor at the nestGSV party and that was how the connection happened. Amazing how small this place is.
Tuesday, 17th: We will be meeting Kamran Elahian of Global Catalyst ventures in the morning and visiting the Google office subsequent to that. Im yet to hear from Radhika Malpani unfortunately so I worked up the visit through a friend of mine who works at Google. We then have to head out in the evening towards the airport to catch our flight back to India! 🙂
Alex (who was introduced by Aditi) used to join us from time to time based on his schedule. The meetings that didnt work out were Airbnb, NEA, Slac, Jawbone and Get around; primarily because we could not schedule a meeting in such a short time frame. Im sure we will be able to do much better next time around with some amount of advance planning. I will heed your advice and stay committed to expanding our network so that our entire RC community benefits out of it.
Radhika was of amazing help despite the fact that she was not keeping well. So was Deepak in providing few introductions. Suma was a gracious host at the nestGSV party. Anna was amazing and it was lovely of her to have shown us around on hacker hopping day. Arjun ended up being a great friend of all of us.
As always, you are the driving force that provides the right nudge and momentum to make everything happen. A heartfelt thanks for all the amazing help and support extended to us through and through. Your allowing us to stay at your first home (543 as we all call it), is quite something in itself but way more significant is the manner in which you’ve adopted into your RajeevCircle family !!