On December 25, the community lost Naren Gupta, a serial entrepreneur, venture capitalist, advisor to CEOs and entrepreneurs worldwide, a community leader, and a husband who would candidly exhibit his affection for his wife with a slight smile if you discuss her column. Gupta died Saturday afternoon while on vacation in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“He had a cardiac arrest. He was gone in 15 minutes,” Vinita Gupta, wife of Naren Gupta told indica over the phone.
Vinita Gupta sounded calm and alert as always but her voice was shaky as she described landing in California just 30 minutes before. She had yet to decide about the memorial service, given the paperwork she had to navigate across states to get her husband’s body back to California.
Gupta, who was based in Northern California, was one of India’s highest-profile venture capital investors who in 2006 set up Nexus Venture Partners, an investment company that invested in early and early-growth stage investment experience in the U.S. and India.
Nexus Venture Partners published a statement on Naren Gupta’s demise: “Naren was a stalwart in the global technology and entrepreneurial ecosystems and a pioneer of Indian venture capital,” it said. “He was a mentor and a close friend to all of us at Nexus and we will miss his passion, caring nature, and towering intellect.”
Gupta, an alumnus of IIT-Delhi, came to the U.S. and earned an M.S. in aeronautics from the California Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in Applied Mechanics from Stanford University, all his degrees being in engineering.
He has received IIT-Delhi’s Presidents’ Gold Medal, and distinguished alumni awards from Caltech and IIT. He was also a fellow of the prestigious Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Though based in California, Gupta was always concerned about India’s development and was one of the few to welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi to California in 2015. He served as co-chair of the Indo-American Community of the West Coast, the team formed to host Modi in Silicon Valley.
He has served on the boards of several public and privately held companies. He was recently the chairman of the board of Red Hat, Inc. prior to its $34 billion acquisition by IBM; and he was on the board of trustees of the California Institute of Technology, and the Advisory Board of Asia Society Northern California.
Through Nexus, Gupta has invested in several developers’ products, including HyperTrack, H2O, and Postman. He has also made “unique cloud investments” in Aryaka, DimDim, Druva, mCheck, PubMatic and Snapdeal. These companies share a similar trait, that they were developed by entrepreneurs from India but serve international markets.