Among top billionaires in the world (according to Forbes), Vinod Khosla is a well-known and well-acclaimed tech guru, engineer, technologist, entrepreneur and a businessman. He soared to popularity way back in 1980s when he founded Sun Microsystems where he was the chairman and CEO. Later on Vinod Khosla and venture investments became synonyms when he launched his own venture capital firm, Khosla Ventures.
Let us look at how Vinod carved a path of success for himself.
Vinod Khosla and Venture Investments, and Beyond
Here we will go through details of his early life and education, his different business endeavors, success at KPCB, start of Khosla Ventures and his affiliations as well as accomplishments.
The Early Days
Despite the fact that Vinod was from an army family, right from early age he showed interest in technology and entrepreneurship. At the age of sixteen, he learned that Intel was founded and made up his mind to start his own technology firm. This proved to be a turning point since Vinod from then on started pursuing a career in technology.
B.E.E. | Masters in Biomedical Engineering | MBA
Right after completing B.E.E. from IIT, New Delhi, he tried to startup a soymilk company but that endeavor failed. He then decided to move to US for further studies where he completed his masters from Carnegie Mellon University in biomedical engineering.
He then moved to Silicon Valley and completed his MBA from Graduate School of Business, Stanford University.
The First Business Endeavor – Daisy Systems
As soon as he completed his MBA, he joined Daisy Systems as a co-founder, an electronic design automation firm. The company started performing well, made good revenue and had an IPO as well. But, soon enough he got frustrated since it was necessary to design the hardware upon which the software was to be built.
The Start of Sun Microsystems
Instead, in 1982 he co-founded a new company, called Sun Microsystems (SUN being abbreviation for Stanford University Network) which aimed to develop workstations to be used by software developers.
The other co-founders of the company were his classmates from Stanford, Andy Bechtolsheim, Scott McNealy and Bill Joy (a computer science graduate from UC Berkeley). The company was funded by John Doerr, who was one of his friends as well as one of the board members of KPCB (Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers), a venture capital company.
Vinod remained Sun Microsystem’s CEO and first chariman from 1982 till 1984 but then decided to leave the company and turn into a venture capitalist.
During his stay at Sun Microsystems, he pioneered use of RISC processors as well as other open systems.
Success at KPCB
He joined KPCB in 1986 as one of the general partners and played a crucial role for the company in many different ways.
Advent of Nexgen: First of all, he played an instrumental role in challenging monopoly of Intel by building Nexgen, a semiconductor company which was finally acquired by AMD (Advanced Micro Devices).
Rise of Juniper Networks: The next successful business that Vinod helped grow was Juniper Networks which stood against dominance of Cisco in the router market. In addition to it, Vinod played a decisive role in search strategy for the web search firm Excite.