Mr. Rao is a serial entrepreneur with five successful high technology start-ups of his own. Mr. Rao is now an Angel Investor in several start-ups, mentoring the founders & serving on their boards. Mr. Rao was the first Indian-American to take a company public on NASDAQ.
Mr. Rao serves is principal investor & Chairman of Forest Devices Inc., which is developing cutting edge technology for early detection of strokes in the ambulance. He is also the principal investor & Chairman of WCB Robotics Inc. which has developed a game changing technology for wall and ceiling climbing robots, reinventing Bernoulli’s Principal. Mr. Rao is also the principal investor & Chairman of SiNode Systems, which is developing a potentially game changing, next generation battery based on graphene-silicon technology.
Mr. Rao was the principal investor & Chairman of Adhesys Medical Inc. which invented a game changing non-toxic, biodegradable, hemostatic wound sealant for the skin and inside the body. Adhesys was sold to a large German pharmaceutical company in 2017 for an exit that returned 8 times GOOSE’s original investment in less than 2 years.
Mr. Rao served 2 terms as Chairman of TIE Global - from 2011-14. TiE is the world’s largest organization of entrepreneurs with over 14k members in 61 cities across 18 countries.
Mr. Rao was the founder & CEO of Trex Communications Corporation. Founded in Dec 1997 and in the Satellite Communications business and later sold TrexCom to L3 in March 2000. He founded Midcom Communications in 1990, and as CEO and founder, grew the company into one of the 10 largest long distance carriers with $250 million in annual revenues, culminating in a successful $400mm IPO in July 1995. Mr. Rao also founded ASCENT, the largest trade association for the long distance & wireless industry with over 1,000 member companies and held the position of Chairman for its first 2 years.
Mr. Rao was the President of Enron North-America in 1996/1997, under his leadership he grew revenues from $300 mm in 96, to $2 bb in 1997. From 2000-03, Mr. Rao was CEO of Prime Wave Communications, a wireless tech start-up, and later from 2004 to 2007, and was the Chairman of Opelin Inc., an online data backup system and software which was sold to HP in 2007. Rao was also, Chairman of Whodini Inc. from 2011 to 2014, which developed artificial intelligence based knowledge management software and was sold to Declara in 2014.
Mr. Rao received the 2007 Literacy Advancement Award for his contributions to the advancement of Math and Science in the Houston School District. In 2008 he received the APAHA George H. W. Bush Award for Arts Achievement, and was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award for Entrepreneurial Achievement from his alma mater Marquette University. As CEO of Excalibur Pictures, he produced 4 award winning feature films & 1 documentary. “My Faraway Bride”, “The Whisperers”, “Before the Rains” and “The Lost Tribe” had successful runs in theaters worldwide. “Pocket Full of Soul”, released in 2011, is a documentary on Blues music. All 5 films are available on DVD & Netflix.
Mr. Rao was selected/voted one of the top 100 South Asians in America. In 2014, in partnership with renowned Chef Jett Hurapan, opened a high end Thai restaurant in Houston, TX called “Songkran”. He is also a professional speaker delivering motivational and keynote speeches at numerous Global Conferences, Universities, Fortune 500 companies and various trade organizations. He has been a guest lecturer at Rice University, MIT, University of Houston, University of Southern California and the Univ. of Lisbon, Portugal.
Rao, married to Sheela, 2 children; hobbies include golf, tennis, guitar, photography, poetry, travel and various charitable organizations.