Board of Directors
Co-founder and CEO
Umesh Sachdev is Co-founder and CEO of Uniphore, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company focused on conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation across the enterprise. Sparked by his vision and focus to use technology to bridge the gap between the human voice and modern machines, Umesh’s passions morphed into a hypergrowth startup that has changed how businesses operate and solve complex enterprise customer service challenges. As one of the fastest-growing companies in the AI space, Uniphore’s pioneering work has transformed how business enterprises harness the value of conversations with their customers to create a future-proof customer experience – for every industry.
Umesh has been globally recognized as a ‘Next Generation Leader’ by Time Magazine, an ‘Innovator Under 35’ by the MIT Tech Review and a ‘40 under 40’ honoree by the Silicon Valley Business Journal. Umesh holds patents in AI and Conversational AI.
Co-founder and President APAC
Ravi, Co-founder & President-APAC, leads Sales, Delivery and Customer Success for Uniphore. His passion for mobile learning applications and technologies found traction when Uniphore was founded. Ravi and Umesh envisioned building solutions that give more power to human speech.
He has vast experience in directing technology teams in initiatives spanning mobile theft security, wireless network development, and mobile learning applications. Ravi is currently an active member of the Mobile Payment Forum of India (MPFI), where he identifies and develops business opportunities in the field of mobile payments. He is known for his excellent analytic skills, dexterity in problem resolution, and proclivity for driving operational excellence. Ravi is an alumnus of Jaypee Institute of Information Technology.
Andrea J. Ayers is the former President and Chief Executive Officer of Convergys Corporation, and has been a director of the Company since December 2014. She had a significant role in the transformation of Convergys from a company with three business lines to a customer management solutions company with approximately 125,000 employees worldwide.
Her expertise in multi-channel customer experience, customer management analytics and technology will be extremely valuable for Uniphore.
Burt Podbere serves as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for CrowdStrike. Since joining the company, Podbere has been instrumental in establishing the company’s long-term financial management strategy and developing the company’s global expansion strategy.
During his five plus year tenure at CrowdStrike he has help secure approximately $1B in equity financing through several funding rounds including its 2019 IPO as well as approximately $1.5B in secured and unsecured debt.
Podbere has worked in Canada, Europe, and the U.S. where he has garnered extensive knowledge of both domestic and international finance, SaaS businesses, and international operations.
Hilarie joined NEA as a Venture Partner in 2017 on the technology team where she focuses on enterprise software and services. A software industry veteran, Hilarie spent the last three decades at growth-stage companies in operating and board roles. Most recently, Hilarie was President at New Relic. Prior to that, Hilarie was President at Salesforce.com responsible for the company’s worldwide sales organization. Hilarie started her career at Intuit and Oracle.
Hilarie currently serves as a member of the board of directors of public and private companies including Zendesk, Automation Anywhere, HackerOne, BloomReach, Beyond Identity, Tulip, Knotch, Sentry, Toast, and Uniphore. She is Chair of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. She also is Chair of the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy Advisory Council and serves on the Board of Trustees. She previously served on the board of directors for Informatica, now a private company, Duo Security which was acquired by Cisco and Tableau which was acquired by Salesforce.
Hilarie has a master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree from Mills College. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two children.
John T. Chambers
John Chambers is the founder and CEO of JC2 Ventures, a purpose-driven venture capital firm focused on enabling startups from around the world to build and scale. In his role, Chambers uses his decades of experience disrupting the technology industry to invest in and coach companies that are leading the next market transitions.
Prior to founding JC2 Ventures in 2018, Chambers served as CEO, Chairman and Executive Chairman of Cisco. During his 25+ years with Cisco, he helped grow the company from $70 million when he joined in 1991, to $1.2 billion when he became CEO in 1995, to $47 billion when he stepped down as CEO in 2015.
Pankaj Patel was Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer at Cisco Systems, Inc. where he reported to the CEO as the Engineering head of the company’s $38 billion product and solution portfolio. He drove the business and technology strategy across Cisco’s Routing, Switching, Wireless, Security, Mobility, Video, Collaboration, Data Center and Cloud offerings delivered by a global team of over 26,000 engineers.
Mr. Patel is a proven results-oriented and seasoned technology leader with 25+ years of experience developing highly scalable products and services by building and leading large, high-performance global engineering organizations, setting clear vision, directing strategy and delivering against goals. He is passionate about translating strategy to execution, and delivering the best experience for the customer.
Mr. Patel retired from Cisco in October of 2016 and now serves on the Board of Directors of several startups. He is focused on incubating, investing, and advising startups with their strategy, product development, and go-to-market as well as helping them scale. Patel is also a mentor and sponsor to numerous employees throughout the industry.
Pradeep Tagare manages National Grid Partners’ $250M enterprise and energy-focused corporate venture fund based in Silicon Valley. The fund has invested in 20 startups including 3 early-stage VC Funds in the UK, Israel and the US.
Pradeep joined National Grid Partners from Intel Capital where he worked for over 13 years in Silicon Valley and India. At Intel Capital, Pradeep led 16 investments which resulted in 2 IPOs and 8 M&A exits with 2 Unicorns and 1 Decacorn in the portfolio.
Prior to Intel Capital, Pradeep spent over 12 years in Silicon Valley in technology/product marketing roles at startups such as Inference, BroadVision, Healthon, and as an entrepreneur starting Yopa, a mobile middleware software company (acquired by XDrive/AOL). Pradeep has an M.S.E.E from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a BE (EE) from the University of Bombay, and is a Kauffman Fellow.
Rob Rueckert joined Sorenson Capital in 2015 and leads the firm’s growth-stage technology practice. He co-founded Sorenson Ventures in 2017 where he invests in software and security. Influenced by his engineering background, Rob is a “product-first” investor, focusing on product leadership, technical depth, and differentiating quality – a winning formula for innovation and growth. Rob enjoys working closely with ambitious leaders and is equally devoted to both solving their challenges and celebrating their accomplishments.
Prior to joining Sorenson Capital, Rob spent 15 years in Silicon Valley at Intel Capital, where he invested in over 50 companies worldwide and across multiple technology sectors, including enterprise software, cloud computing, data platforms, security, communications, consumer internet, and consumer devices. Rob managed and oversaw more than 25 successful exits from his portfolio, including four IPOs and acquisitions by Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Samsung, Cisco, and many others.
Additional past positions include software and data engineer / consultant for Arthur Andersen and executive roles for a number of other companies. Rob holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth and a Bachelor of Science in information systems from Brigham Young University. He is a Kauffman Fellow.
Sumant is Managing Director and co-founder of LA-based March Capital Partners, in addition to being co-founder of two leading technology incubators in the San Francisco Bay Area; The Hive, focused on AI and Blockchain driven companies, and The Fabric, focused on cloud, IoT and network infrastructure companies. He has been part of incubating more than 25 companies. Sumant leads investments in Cloud Computing, IoT, AI/ML, and Network Infrastructure as well as companies supporting the Indian market. He currently serves on the boards of numerous market-leading companies, including Astound, BillDesk, The Rubicon Project, CarTrade, IoTium, KMesh, SparkCognition, Decision Engines, and Xage Security.
In his nearly two decades of venture capital, Sumant has generated multiple meaningful exits in companies he has either incubated or been the first institutional investor. His exits include Velocloud Networks (acquired by VMWare), Perspica Systems (acquired by Cisco), The Rubicon Project (NYSE: RUBI), Kosei (acquired by Pinterest), Appcito (acquired by A10 Networks), Deep Forest Media (acquired by Rakuten), Kazeon Systems (acquired by EMC), Mimosa Systems (acquired by Iron Mountain), Ankeena Networks (acquired by Juniper), Cetas (acquired by VMware), and Apture (acquired by Google).
In 2000, Sumant joined Clearstone Venture Partners, where he went on to become a Managing Director four years later. Prior to Clearstone, Sumant spent more than eight years as an entrepreneur, starting companies in both India and the United States.
Sumant has an M.B.A. from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Michigan State University. He is a Charter Member of TiE.