Shishir Mehrotra knows a thing or two about disrupting things in a really big way. Despite trying to fight his destiny to be in tech, he has raised millions of dollars to launch startups and has worked on some of the projects that have changed our culture the most over the past decade.
I caught up with Shishir Mehrotra to put on an exclusive episode of the Dealmakers podcast. During the interview, we dived into how he was drawn into entrepreneurship, the questions he asks before funding other founders today, and the new venture he is tackling after helping make YouTube a success.
The Reluctant Tech Entrepreneur
Mehrotra comes from a family of academics and professors. His grandfather, grandmother, aunt, and father were professors. Both his parents were computer scientists.
His family immigrated to the US from India, and as a child, Shishir spent time around university campuses from New York to Virginia, to Indiana before they went to work at NASA, and he ultimately moved to Silicon Valley to be at the heart of the technology ecosystem.
As a child, he was one of the few kids who had a Sun Workstation at home. He used it to build things for fun, and for his mom’s business.
Of course, he was also pretty convinced he didn’t want to end up working in anything to do with computer science. He thought about being a lawyer and doctor, before landing his first job as a soccer referee.
Only when it came time to pick a major in college he decided computer science wasn’t that dull after all. Ironically, his father was absolutely against it. He was not interested in paying for some vocational degrees. Shishir went to MIT and got degrees in both math and computer science.
Business Competitions & The $40M Sabbatical
Shishir Mehrotra joined the grad school at MIT and was working on his Master’s. His friend David came up with an idea for distributed computing, and they convinced some professors to sponsor them to work. They put it into an application for the MIT 50K Entrepreneurship Competition.
Before they knew it, they were entrepreneurs.
They took advantage of MIT’s sabbatical and got funded by venture capitalist, Vinod Khosla, who was at Kleiner Perkins at the time.
Their startup Centrata landed Quest Communications as their first client in a $12 million deal. Every deal they did was a multi-million dollar deal.
After raising $40M, it wasn’t long before Centrata was sold.
Super Bowl Ads & Killing Cable TV
After a stint working at Microsoft Shishir had an epiphany after hosting a Super Bowl party. He thought, “What would it take to make television feel like the Super Bowl every day?”
His idea ended up becoming the skippable ad format that is the primary ad form that drives YouTube. It’s. The concept was simple, why not make it so that ads are skippable, and only charge advertisers when the ad is watched. That has gone from becoming a part of Google TV to Chromecast and now Google Home.
What many might not ever think of when it comes to big things like YouTube is that there are three phases every great business goes through.
See How I Can Help You With Your Fundraising Efforts
- Fundraising Process : get guidance from A to Z.
- Materials : our team creates epic pitch decks and financial models
- Investor Access : connect with the right investors for your business and close them