Indian American venture capitalist and UC Berkeley professor Rob Chandra died unexpectedly over the weekend of Oct. 19 at the age of 53.
Chandra was a resident of Palo Alto, California. He leaves behind his wife Shikha, son Rohin, and daughter Nina. His cause of death remained unknown at press time.
Chandra was a general partner at Bessemer Venture Capital for more than 15 years. In 2012, while still at Bessemer, he went on to serve as president and CEO of Avid Park Ventures, according to his LinkedIn profile. He became general partner at Avid in 2017.
Avid has invested in some of the Silicon Valley’s most well-known companies, including Uber, DropBox, Nutanix, Lending Club, Slack and several others.
Chandra was named five times to the Forbes Midas List of Top 100 venture capitalists, and was widely recognized as one of the top venture capitalists in the U.S.
He also served as a Distinguished Teaching Fellow at the
UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, where he taught courses in entrepreneurship, and alternative investing, including venture capital, private equity and hedge funds. He twice received the ‘Earl F. Cheit Outstanding Teaching Award,’ given annually by students to the top faculty member.
In an Oct. 23 statement, Bessemer noted: “We are deeply saddened by the news of our former partner, Rob Chandra, who unexpectedly passed away earlier this week.”
“During his years at Bessemer Venture Partners, Rob left an indelible mark on our partnership that continues to positively shape our firm today. Rob joined Bessemer in 2000 and was part of the leadership for over a decade as one of our managing partners.”
“Rob was instrumental in leading our transformation into a global venture capital firm. He was a mentor to many, helping strengthen Bessemer’s apprenticeship model and growing our partnership from within,” noted Bessemer in its press statement.
“Rob was a man who worked and lived by his principles; he was ethical, forthright, valued diverse perspectives, and was committed to collaboration and building lasting relationships,” said the company.
Chandra received his undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley and earned his MBA at Harvard. He previously served as chairman of the Menlo School Board of Trustees.
Chandra was also the sitting Chair of the Berkeley Endowment Management Company for the UC Berkeley Foundation and served on the Board of Dean’s Advisors at Harvard Business School, according to Bessemer.
Chandra’s nephew Nishant told The Daily Californian that his uncle loved UC Berkeley and being able to teach there. “Just being able to make an impact on so many people, and particularly at his alma mater, is something that I think he was very proud of,” he said in an email.