CHIEF MENTOR: PETER RELAN
Peter Relan combines a unique set of experiences: startups and big companies, technical and business, research and commercial, investor and entrepreneur, consumer and enterprise in his 30 years in Silicon Valley. These are experiences and stories that he readily shares with future entrepreneurs.
Peter came to the US to study computer engineering at UCLA. He started his career working at a start-up as a software developer of networking protocols. Soon after that he joined an Arpanet research group led by Carl Sunshine, inventor of the TCP connection handshake, and became a research engineer on network protocols and published a paper with Carl Sunshine and colleagues in the ACM in 1987. He took his research work and joined HP in 1988 and became architect of the Openview Platform at HP, now a multi-billion dollar business at HP.
During his tenure at HP, he attended Stanford University as an HP Resident Fellow and got his M.S. there in 1992. In 1994 Peter joined Oracle to work on Larry Ellison's then favorite project: Media Server, for VOD solutions being run by Jerry Held. Recognizing the power of the Internet to deliver video, Peter pivoted the organization towards Web video, and built the first http based media server solution with an MPEG 2 decoder in a browser, which was also being built at Oracle by Marc Benioff. Soon after that he was given the charter by Larry to run the Internet Division and build Oracle's first App Server, now a multi-billion dollar business for Oracle.
Peter left Oracle in 1998 after being recruited by Sequoia and Benchmark Capital to join Louis Borders, founder of Borders Books and Music, to become the founding CTO at Webvan where he recruited over 100 engineers, including 16 Phds from around the world, built the extremely sophisticated end to end system for ordering, distribution and delivery of groceries to consumers' homes in 15 months. The company went public within 2 years of Series A funding, as the biggest IPO ever in Silicon Valley, but then expanded way too fast into 9 cities and ran out of cash. Peter became an angel investor, and started his own company, Business Signatures, in 2001, shortly after Sep 11. He worked with his co-founders who were ex-Oracle colleagues and Dr. Jennifer Widom at Stanford to build a query engine for processing clickstreams, and the company applied the technology to on line fraud detection, and was acquired by Entrust, a public company, in 2006.
In 2007, Peter started his incubator YouWeb, with the mission of helping, young technical entrepreneurs start their companies, even if they did not have an idea. It was the year that the iPhone came out and Facebook opened its platform and many of the EIRs who joined Peter's incubator started gaming companies all of which went on to find follow onfinancings/exits.