Silicon Valley legend Venkatesh Shukla honored by alma mater in India


Silicon Valley-based Indian American venture capitalist and entrepreneur Venkatesh Shukla was honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award by the Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology (MANIT) for his achievements. The institute held its 19th and 20th convocation ceremony on November 25, marking the completion of graduation, post-graduation, and PhD degrees of 3177 students in 2022 and 2023.

Venkatesh Shukla (right)

Shukla is the former president of TiE Silicon Valley and Chair of TiE Global. He is also the founder and managing director in a seed-stage VC fund and has been involved with numerous startups as an executive, investor, board member, or adviser.

Shukla shared his thoughts and experiences while speaking to the graduating classes of 2022 and 2023 at MANIT.

“The lessons I learned in the class and outside are what made me what I am today. There has never been a better time to be an engineer. The pace of change brought about by technology is breath-taking. And technology is now impacting the life of every person and every organization in the world,” he said.

“It took the old-style landline telephone 75 years to reach 10 crore (100 million) users, it took the internet seven years, WhatsApp 2.5 years, and ChatGPT just two months.”

“Every such change represents a massive opportunity for those who know how to take advantage of it. All the riches in the world have been made during times of profound change – in the old days, it used to be wars. Now it is technology, industrial revolution, computers, the internet, and now artificial intelligence. None of these people sought to be billionaires – they were passionate about their ideas and wealth was a consequence of those ideas turning out to be big ideas,” Shukla added.

Even the smallest of organizations — a school, a panchayat office, or an NGO has to rely on technology. The market for technology keeps getting bigger every year. “That is why some of the biggest technology companies like Apple, Microsoft, Nvidia, and Google are now bigger than the economies of the majority of the countries in the world. There are only 15 countries in the world whose GDP is bigger than a trillion dollars — that means Microsoft and Google are bigger than 185 countries in the world.”

Being a venture capitalist who funds innovative entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, Shukla is at the epicenter of technology development. He asserted that a significant percentage of the entrepreneurs bringing change to this world are engineers.

“Engineers understand how to commercialize technology and bring its benefits to a much larger group of people. They are uniquely capable of doing this because they understand technology better than any other person trained in any other profession. A tiny company that I invested in, Tekion, whose founder came from Tesla, has made half of its employees in India — almost 150 of them crorepatis (millionaires). There will be thousands of such companies in India going forward. You have the rare privilege of graduating at a time of unlimited potential. Every innovative company — big and small — from all over the world, wants to come to India to harness the talent here. Be prepared, be proactive, and think big. Don’t look for short-term – bet on the long-term potential,” Shukla advised.

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