Venky Harinarayan is an entrepreneur and investor. He was a founder of Junglee—a pioneering shopping search engine that was acquired by Amazon.com, a founder of Kosmix—an innovative search and categorization company that was acquired by Walmart Stores, Inc., and a founding investor in Efficient Frontier—a leading search and social media marketing company that was acquired by Adobe. Together, these start-ups were valued at $1 billion at the time of their acquisition. Venky has also played the role of entrepreneur in two of the most successful retailers of our times — Walmart and Amazon.com. Most recently, at Walmart, as Senior Vice President of Global e-Commerce, Venky created and ran @WalmartLabs, the innovation arm for the world’s largest company. At Amazon.com, Venky helped create the Marketplace business, that today accounts for more than half of all the units sold. He also invented the concept underlying Amazon’s Mechanical Turk.
Venky is also an active investor. He created Cambrian Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm in 2000 whose investments include Neoteris (Juniper), Aster Data (Teradata), and Yousendit. Venky was one of the earliest investors in Facebook, investing in 2005. Other angel investments include Lyft and TutorVista (Pearson).
Venky was named to the “100 Most Creative People in Business” by FastCompany in 2012 and to the “Venture Capital 100” by AlwaysOn in 2012 and is a recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from IIT Madras. Venky earned his bachelor’s degree from IIT Madras; master’s from UCLA and PhD from Stanford University, all in computer science.