Indians Abroad

Gururaj Deshpande

Famous As Entrepreneur
Born In Hubli, Karnataka
Nationality American

Dr. Gururaj Deshpande is known for his contributions to the networking and telecom industry. He is the Chairman and one of the founders of Sycamore Networks Inc. He has carved a niche for himself with his futuristic ideas. His innovative and creative convictions have brought about a dramatic change on the business and technology front. His work and achievements have inspired quite a number of people, which only helps explain why he is such a popular speaker at several business organizations, technology institutions, management schools and government organizations. He has helped manage many organizations with his technical skills, research and development and business foresight. He has also helped several educational institutions by imparting knowledge gained from experience. Dr. Gururaj is also well known for his philanthropist ideas and has contributed effectively to the research and development centers in Massachusetts. The Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation was started by him with a vision to support and promote new technologies in the field of biotechnology, information technology and micro technology.

Early Life
Dr. Gururaj Deshpande was born in a thriving city known as Hubli. The city is tucked away in the northwestern part of the state of Karnataka. He was born in a Deshastha Brahmin's family, which is said to be one of the oldest communities amongst the Hindu-Brahmin sub-castes in India. He came from a very humble background, his father worked for a government office as a labor commissioner. After his schooling, he graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. He earned his degree in electrical engineering. He later went on to complete his Ph.D. (Faculty of Engineering & Applied Science) at the Queen's University, which is located in Ontario.

After his education, Deshpande commenced his career at Codex Corporation, which is said to be the sister company of Motorola. The company was located in Ontario. Codex Corporations was a technology-manufacturing unit that focused on producing high-speed modems. Deshpande, thus, migrated to the U.S.A and three years later in 1987, he was made the co-founder of Coral Networks that produced routers, but two years later, he sold the company. He then started another company called Cascade Communications whose products and services boosted internet business for internet-based companies. Deshpande provided his services to the company first as a President and later as an executive Vice-President; seven years later he sold the firm to Ascend Communications. In 1998, he founded Sycamore Networks and was also the co-founder of Tejas Networks in 2000. Sycamore Networks focused on research and development of new products while Tejas Networks producing networking and telecom products and is heavily funded by many multi-national technology companies. Currently, Deshpande is the chairman at A123Systems, Sycamore Networks, Tejas Networks and Sparta Group. He holds a position among the board of directors at Airvana Inc. and earned a membership at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Achievements and Awards
Over the years, Deshpande has contributed immensely towards new technologies, the innovation of products, services, research, and development. In 2002, he set up the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation, which was established to encourage new creative discoveries and ideas in various areas by sponsoring and funding research and development. In 2000, he was a part of the Forbes Richest Americans in the world list. He was fortunate enough to find himself a place in a list of exclusive 400 slots. In 2010, he was elected the Chairman of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which is a government organization set up by the American President. The organization was established with the view to sponsor innovative ideas.

Personal Life
He is married to Jayshree Deshpande who is the sister of Sudha Murthy, a social worker, writer and wife of the Infosys founder Narayan Murthy. Gururaj and Jayshree have two children and live in Massachusetts, America.

Time Line
1984: Deshpande established Coral Networks.
1990: He set up Cascade Communications.
1997: Cascade Communications was purchased by Ascend Communications.
1998: Sycamore Networks was established.
2000: Deshpande was listed in Forbes as one of America's richest person.
2000: Tejas Networks was founded. He currently is the Chairman of the company.
2002: Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation was inaugurated as a research center.
2010: He now is the Chairman of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.