Manjot PahwaVice President // Advisor. India.
Manjot’s career path has been a roller coaster ride and she brings deep experience as an operator of over a decade in her approach towards investing. A daughter of immigrants in India and the first girl in her community to have a job, she started her career as an engineer at Google in Silicon Valley.
Spending almost 7 years at Google, she kept on reinventing herself, from scaling services to billions as a Site Reliability Engineer to building infrastructure for consumer applications to heading product for one of the fastest growing open source projects in history. Google was also the place where she first met Hemant, who later on became a partner at Lightspeed.
If Google was about coming of age, starting up was becoming an adult. In 2019, she left her job and the US to come home to build a devtools startup in India. Even before COVID, she believed that world class technology companies can and will be built from India. During this time, she also got to observe Lightspeed more closely from the perspective of a founder and experienced the intense curiosity to get to the truth of the rest of the team.
The tide turned with the onset of COVID and she had to shut down her venture. The biggest lessons during this time were about people and relationships, “I learnt that everything in life is about relationships and people: teams, companies and businesses”. She started partnering with founders in the ecosystem and discovered her love for building and helping other founders and startups grow, working at the cusp of technological revolution. “I developed a deep network within India such that I was aware of most of the startups in OSS, devtools and infrastructure in India”.
This led to the next part of her story, joining Stripe in APAC as a product manager and eventually leading the business for Stripe in India. During this time, she continued her love affair with startups on the side and started dabbling with her first angel checks. By this time, she had known the Lightspeed team for over 5 years. “The Lightspeed team exemplifies the values I stand for: when I asked myself with which group I can unlock the next phase of growth, the answer was clear.”
Attracted to all things at the extreme edges of innovation, she gets her high from deep tech. “There’s never been a more exciting time for boring infrastructure, as Tim Hockin used to say”. She likes partnering with founders with a fire in their belly, high agency and low ego. “Macro optimist but micro pessimist. Also let no one else dictate the reach of your dreams.“
Manjot brings the same intensity and curiosity she has at work to her fitness and play: she stumbled into aerial silks and circus arts and is passionate about long-distance running. “Always learning and growing, reinventing myself, the next innings of life has just begun.”