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Issue Date: July 2008, Posted On: 7/11/2008

Venture Capital: Vinod Dham

Founder, NEA-IndoUS Ventures



Vinod Dham is a co-founder of NEA-IndoUS Ventures, a venture capital fund that he created in January 2007 to finance Indian businesses. Dham, who is widely known as the “Father of the Pentium” for developing Intel Corp.’s groundbreaking microprocessor in the early 1990s, established NEA-IndoUS Ventures in partnership with New Enterprise Associates, a prominent venture capital firm headquartered in Menlo Park, Calif.

Dham’s partners include Vani Kola, a successful Indian entrepreneur, and Kumar Shiralagi, former head of India investments for Intel Capital, Intel Corp.'s venture capital arm. The duo manages NEA-IndoUS Ventures from the Bangalore office of IndoUS Capital Advisors Pvt. Ltd., which targets India-based companies with small operations in the United States.

Some venture capitalists might consider this a risky investment, but that is okay with Dham – he thrives on challenges – because he looks at them as a way to give back to his homeland. Dham was born and raised in Pune, India. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in India, he came to the United States in 1975 on a student visa with just $8 to his name. He attended the University of Cincinnati on a scholarship, graduating in 1977 with a master's degree in electrical engineering.

He then took a job with NCR Corp. before moving on to Intel Corp., where he worked for 16 years and held the position of vice president and general manager of the company's microprocessor products division. In 1990, Dham took charge of development of the company's famed Pentium processor, which Intel introduced to the market in 1993. Two years later, Dham left Intel and joined start-up microprocessor company NextGen as its chief operating officer. At NextGen, Dham led the company's merger with Sunnyvale, Calif.-based chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices Inc. in 1996.

Dham was named group vice president at AMD, where he designed the company's K6 microprocessor and oversaw its launch in 1997. AMD marketed the K6 as a chip that could perform as well as its Intel Pentium equivalent, but offered it at a significantly lower price. The K6 had a considerable impact on the PC market.

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