An All-Star Squad: the 500 Miles Advisors

We are humbled by the success we have achieved at 500 Miles over the past year. We now have over 1,000 companies on the 500 Miles app and members from 1,592 colleges and universities. High-growth employers including ThoughtSpot, Infer, Talkdesk, and Zenefits are now hiring through 500 Miles and more companies are signing up to hire top talent on a weekly basis. We built a proprietary algorithm for discerning gender diversity ratios at tech companies and created 22 different Stacks, a popular feature for discovering companies on 500 Miles. Additionally, we made it to number 3 on Product Hunt and received press coverage from VentureBeat and International Business Times.

Despite all the success, we are just getting started. More importantly, we know we would not have achieved what we have so far without our all-star Advisory Team. As they say, you da real MVP.

Because our Advisory Team has been such a boon to our success, we thought we would share their stories with you. Here are the 4 superstar members of the 500 Miles Advisory Team:

The 500 Miles Advisory Team

Opher Kahane — Opher is a serial entrepreneur and executive, now on his third industry-disrupting startup, Origami Logic. Opher serves as the CEO of Origami Logic which is changing the way businesses measure, analyze, and optimize their marketing efforts. His previous two startups, ClassX, a VoIP pioneer, and Kagoor Networks, a VoIP analytics pioneer, were market successes. ClassX merged with VocalTec and went public on the NASDAQ in 1996 and Kagoor was acquired by Juniper Networks in 2005 for $82M. While running Kagoor, Opher spearheaded the creation and formation of the session border control market, establishing distribution/OEM partnerships with global vendors such as Siemens, Lucent, Avaya, Fujitsu and NEC. After Kagoor was acquired by Juniper, Opher served as General Manager and SVP of Juniper’s $1B routing division.

Besides 500 Miles, Opher has advised 5 other startups including CloudOn which was acquired by Dropbox. He holds a degree in Computer Science and Mathematics from Tel Aviv University and has been on the 500 Miles Advisory Team since 2014.

Gokul Rajaram — Gokul is currently Product Engineering Lead at Square, a role he has held since 2013. Previously, Gokul worked at Google as Product Management Director of AdSense and at Facebook as Product Director of Ads. In between his time at Google and Facebook, Gokul co-founded Chai Labs, a NLP/summarization technology platform used by publishers such as NBC, Travel Ad Network, and Travelocity. Gokul sold Chai Labs to Facebook before joining the company in 2010.

Since 2008, Gokul has invested in or advised 19 companies that have been acquired or gone public. He is currently Chairman of the Board at Course Hero, an educational technology company that provides students with course-specific content, tools and services for more effective learning. In addition, he serves on the board of RetailMeNot (NASDAQ:SALE), a leading digital savings destination connecting consumers with retailers, restaurants and brands, both online and in-store.

Gokul’s colleague at Google, Nathalie Criou, had this to say about him:

“Gokul’s energy is seemingly endless — his ability to get things done fast is absolutely incredible and his fighting spirit remained intact no matter what was thrown at him.”

Gokul has served as an advisor at 500 Miles since 2014. He holds degrees from the Indian Institute of Technology, The University of Texas at Austin and MIT.

Daniel Tunkelang — For 10 years, Daniel served as the Chief Scientist at Endeca, a company that revolutionized interactive information retrieval and exploratory search for enterprises. In 2011, Endeca was acquired by Oracle in 2011 for $1.1B. After leaving Endeca, Daniel went to work for Google where he served as Tech Lead for Local Search. He primarily worked in local search quality, leading the team that matched the local search index against the web index to establish the official home pages of local businesses. In 2010, Daniel joined LinkedIn as the Director of Data Science Product.

In this role, he led and built a team of data scientists focused on information extraction and relevance problems. In 2013, he became Director of Engineering for Search where his biggest contribution was creating and building LinkedIn’s Query Understanding team. In 2015, he became LinkedIn’s Data Scientist in Residence helping to run the Economic Graph Challenge and selecting winning proposals for the competition.

Besides 500 Miles, Daniel advises Lyra Health, Karat, Flipkart, Etsy, Zettata, MAANA and Endor Software. He is also a Venture Amplifier at Amplify Partners where he assists the Fund in identifying and evaluating investment opportunities, and assisting portfolio companies by providing strategic guidance and mentorship. Daniel joined the 500 Miles Advisory Team earlier this year and holds degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics from MIT and a PhD in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon.

Manu Sharma — Manu currently serves as VP of Growth and Data Science at shopkick, the #1 mobile shopping companion that helps users save money and get rewarded. Founded in 2010, shopkick was acquired by SK planet in October 2014 in the biggest acquisition in mobile commerce history.

Prior to joining shopkick, Manu served as Director of Data Science at LinkedIn where he led a team of 30 “rock star” data scientists. His team focused on turning data into products and actionable insights as well as thought leadership like “A pixelated portrait of labor” (article from The Economist featuring Manu’s work).

Before becoming Director of Data Science, Manu served as a Senior Data Scientist at LinkedIn from 2009 to 2011. He was an early member of LinkedIn’s security team and developed a Spam classifier to identify spam and spammers. Chris Pruett, Director of Engineering at LinkedIn had this to say about Manu:

“Manu possesses the powerful combination of a keen intellect, articulate communication skills, and the engineering chops to implement his algorithms in production-ready code.”

Manu joined the 500 Miles Advisory Team earlier this year. Holds a PhD from Princeton University and Chemistry degrees from Delhi University and Indian Institute of Technology.


Originally published at blog.500miles.io on February 19, 2016.

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