Narendra Gupta, Co-founder of Nexus Venture Partners, passes away

The entrepreneur-turned-investor was 73 years old, and is survived by wife Vinita Gupta, and two daughters.
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Narendra Gupta, one of the first entrepreneurs from India who co-founded a venture in the US and took it to a public listing, passed away in the San Francisco Bay Area on December 25.

He was 73, and is survived by wife Vinita, and two daughters.

Nexus Venture Partners, a venture-capital (VC) fund that Gupta co-founded with Sandeep Singhal and Suvir Sujan in 2006, issued a statement on Sunday evening.

"It is with profound sadness that we announce the sudden demise of Dr Narendra Gupta, 73, Co-founder of Nexus Venture Partners on December 25th. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family in this very difficult time," according to the statement.

Nexus Venture Partners, which currently has $2 billion of assets under management, was part of the first wave of venture-capital (VC) funds in India. IndoUS Venture Partners (now, Kalaari), Erasmic Venture Fund (now, Accel India), and Helion Venture Partners were Nexus' contemporaries.

While Sandeep Singhal and Suvir Sujan led the investments in India, including startups like Snapdeal, Gupta played a pivotal role in evincing the interest of limited partners in the US to invest in India, apart from identifying product startups there, with engineering teams in India.

"We had defined the problem," Gupta told this writer in 2016. "To solve it, we had presence in Silicon Valley. If you create successful product companies in India, combine technology talent in India with product marketing talent in Silicon Valley, then you give them some funding. Hopefully, things will happen."

Gupta was an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT Delhi), where he received the Presidents’ Gold Medal for top performance.

After graduation, he moved to the US in 1969. He got an MS from the California Institute of Technology and a PhD from Stanford University in engineering in 1974.

Gupta co-founded embedded software company Integrated Systems Inc (ISI) in 1980, where he served as President and CEO for 15 years. He took it public, and subsequently merged ISI with Wind River Systems.

He was a vocal critic of high valuation of early-stage startups in the early stages. "What has disappointed me is what the venture community has done to the (startup) ecosystem," Gupta told this writer in 2016.

"It has basically pushed them to grow fast—and spend too much money. I typically tell companies, ‘cut down costs (because) capital is expensive'. The ecosystem has been immature. ... Entrepreneurs here (in India) are exceptional—and their psyche in such an environment is very important," he said.

"Naren was a stalwart in the global technology and entrepreneurial ecosystems and a pioneer of Indian venture capital," said the Nexus Venture Partners statement. "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."

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