Dev’s hands-on approach to venture capital has roots in his own experience as a founder. After finishing his MBA at Harvard Business School in 1998, he came to Silicon Valley to immerse himself in the world of startups, initially as a product manager for an enterprise software company and then as founder of his own software company, Covigo, a developer platform for mobile applications.
“Through five years of building a team, raising venture capital, scaling up, scaling down, selling the company to Symbol Technologies, and then spending a year integrating Covigo into Symbol, I learned a ton about the do’s and don’ts of building a company,” Dev says. “After that, it felt natural to continue working with technology startups and learn how to support them in their growth.”
After leaving Symbol, Dev became VP at Venrock, a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley, where he served as a member or observer on several boards, including Inrix, Redbeacon, and Slideshare.
Since joining Lightspeed in 2011, Dev has focused on investing in consumer and enterprise companies that have low-friction, software-based models. Dev has led Lightspeed’s investments in Byju’s, Darwinbox, Fastfox.com, Innovaccer, and Sharechat. “Finding the opportunity to work with extraordinary founders going after impact opportunities is energizing and humbling,” he says. “I look for fearlessness to go against conventional wisdom and speed of iteration.”
Dev credits the network he built in the Silicon Valley ecosystem during the formative years of the commercial Internet for helping him empower companies in India to think bigger and execute faster.
“You have to have the humility to accept that past is not exactly prologue,” he says. “One can’t assume that replicating past successful models will lead to success in the future.”