Vistex — a suburban tech firm whose CEO, Sanjay Shah, is perhaps best known for paying a then-record $17 million for the penthouse at Chicago’s Trump International Hotel & Tower in 2014 — is getting up to $105 million from a private equity firm and plans to double its Chicago staff in the next few years, according to a Chicago Tribune report. The investment will allow the company to open an office in Chicago and is a stepping stone for the 20-year-old company to go public, said the Indian American executive, who has yet to move into his Trump Tower digs, the report said. “This is really to invest more in the business so we can launch into going public someday and build a larger company,” the report said. The investment from Silicon Valley private equity firm Accel-KKR includes an initial $65 million for a minority stake in Vistex, and an option for an additional $40 million. Shah, 50, said the funding will enable him to hire new sales, marketing and engineering talent, doubling the Chicago-area staff to 600 over the next two to three years.
Mishra Conferred the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award
Chicago-based physicist Dr. Chandra Shekhar Mishra accepted the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award from the Ram Nath Kovind, the president of India. He received this award as an eminent physicist of Indian origin who has fostered international cooperation and technological advancement in high- energy physics. This prestigious presented at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention, organized by the Ministry of External Affairs. Mishra is a senior scientist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and a Fellow of American Physical Society. He has held many senior management positions at Fermilab. “I am honored to receive this recognition from my motherland. I sincerely hope that my efforts over the last decade to return something back to India will help establish its energy independence and train future scientists and engineers of India,” said Mishra after receiving the award from the president. Mishra is the founding U.S. technical coordinator and worked closely with directors of three Department of Atomic Energy Laboratories. Dr. Vinod Sahni and Mishra worked together in laying the foundation of this collaboration under the guidance of Dr. Kakodkar. The collaboration operates under the US-India S&T Agreement (2006) and the annexed agreement (2014) signed by Dr. Ratan Sinha, chairman, Atomic Energy Commission of India, following the recommendation by the Indian Cabinet Committee on Security.
Fortanix Raises $23M Led by Intel Capital
Fortanix Inc., a Runtime Encryption technology company, has closed a $23 million Series B round of funding led by Intel Capital. Round participants included existing investors Foundation Capital and Neotribe. In addition, Sunil Kurkure, director of Intel Capital, will join the Fortanix Board of Directors. The funding brings the company’s total funding to $31 million. Fortanix is executing on its bold vision of solving cloud security and data privacy problem. By decoupling security from the infrastructure, Fortanix removes complex and intractable security challenges experienced with current solutions. Running applications in protected enclaves enable a new level of security on premise, in hybrid environments, and even on remote clouds, protecting data even when systems are compromised. “Fortanix uniquely protects encryption keys, databases, machine learning algorithms, and containers to secure organizations’ data in private, public and hybrid cloud environments,” said Ambuj Kumar, co-founder and CEO of Fortanix. “This new funding is a testament to the tremendous growth we’ve already experienced, in 18 months since we first launched our product. We are also excited to add Sunil Kurkure to our Board of Directors, and we will leverage his exceptional leadership and guidance as we grow our business.”
IIT Grad Who Handled United Airlines on 9/11 is IndiGo’s New Captain
Ronojoy Dutta, who worked at United Airlines during the most infamous day on U.S. soil, Sept. 11, is now tasked with captaining IndiGo. The India carrier named him CEO in January. The airline, India’s biggest by market share, posted a loss of $92 million in the July-September quarter of financial year 2019. It corrected course in the October-December quarter, but profits were about 75 percent lower year-on-year at Rs190.9 crore, Quartz reported. While 67-year-old Dutta has been working on a five-year business plan for IndiGo ever since he was made a principal consultant in December, now he will be in direct control. Dutta is a graduate of IIT Kharagpur and Harvard Business School. He joined United Airlines in 1984 and went on to serve as its chairman between 1999 and 2001. In 2002, United filed for bankruptcy with nearly $1 billion in debt. Dutta was forced to quit with a $1.6 million payout, the report said. He returned to India as an adviser to Air Sahara in 2004, and was appointed CEO after a few months. The airline had then just launched its international route from Chennai to Colombo, and Dutta helmed its rapid expansion, registering a 35 percent annual growth in revenue. He quit the company after Air Sahara was bought out by Jet Airways, the country’s oldest private airline, it said.
Rajan Zed Nominated to Police Chief’s Impact Panel in Nevada
Hindu activist Rajan Zed has been nominated to Reno Police Chief’s Impact Panel in Nevada. The panel, which constitutes of community leaders, meets with police chief and other senior police officers; and discusses current events, department updates, matters that pertain to the community, etc. Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, is a Hindu and interfaith leader. Bestowed with the World Interfaith Leader Award, Zed is a senior fellow and religious adviser to the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy; on the Advisory Board of The Interfaith Peace Project, etc. He has been a panelist for “On Faith,” an interactive conversation on religion produced by The Washington Post; and produces a weekly interfaith panel “Faith Forum” in a Gannett publication for over seven years.