Eminent scientists at CERN may be responsible for pioneering Internet. But in celebrating the existence of the world wide web we often forget the entrepreneurs who helped build its backbone in the early days. Gururaj Deshpande is one such entrepreneur.
Born in Hubli, Karnataka, Deshpande has a B. Tech in electrical engineering from IIT, Madras, and a PhD in data communication from the Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada. While Deshpande started his career at a Motorola subsidiary in Canada, he later moved to the US and co-founded his first company in 1984 called Coral networks.
After selling off the company for $15 million in 1987, he co-founded Cascade communications, another company that made routers which were some of the first building blocks in the growth of the Internet. His biggest venture till date, which made him a billionaire and put him in the Forbes 400 list, was the founding of Sycamore Networks that sells routing equipment. To this day Deshpande is serving as the Chairman of Sycamore and Tejas Networks, another telecom equipment manufacturer that he founded in Bangalore.
Appointed by President Barack Obama as the Co-Chairman of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Deshpande also actively promotes technological innovation with his own money, for which he has started the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at MIT with $20 million.