Jesuit alumnae Anarghya Vardhana, named by Forbes Magazine as one of the 30 under 30 top tech investors, shares three main elements essential to her success: the cultivation of her interests while at Jesuit, her determined work ethic, and the importance of social networking.
Before graduating in 2006, Vardhana competed on the swim team, participated in Intel Science Fairs, and learned the importance of fostering relationships. Vardhana stresses the significance of networking in her career as her job as an investor is to cultivate relationships with not only those companies she invests in, but mentors and peers as well. Vardhana stresses that community building was one of the most important ideas Jesuit instilled in her and praises the enrichment it brings to one’s career.
“Build a really, really, strong network of mentors and peers and people working… [and] learning in a variety of different fields because it’s incredibly valuable,” Vardhana said. “Be generous in your time and your experience in giving to people and that almost always comes back in some form or another and that can present itself in a variety of amazing opportunities for both your personal and professional life.”
After Jesuit, Vardhana attended Stanford, where she studied Science and Technology in Society, taking classes that ranged from the history of science, to feminism, to linear algebra. Her focus during her college years was on math, but the lessons she learned about how technology and society affect each other applies most directly to her current career as a tech investor at Maveron.
As an investor in the future, Vardhana sees great potential in entrepreneurial and financial literacy classes offered in high school. As more young people stray from the traditional job route and opt for building and growing something they are passionate about, Vardhana envisions the value of a course at Jesuit that would both inspire hopeful entrepreneurs and warn them of the work that lies ahead.
“A class on entrepreneurship would be super interesting: how to come up with an idea for a company, how to build a company, how to fundraise for that company, how to hire for a company,” Vardhana said. “More and more people are becoming entrepreneurial and seeing that as a career option so I think learning how to do that…could be a really powerful class.”
Whereas former generations learned about credit and balancing a home budget, Jesuit offers only Macroeconomics. Fortunately for current Jesuit students, entrepreneur club as well as investment club are now accessible, something Vardhana never saw as an option during her time at Jesuit. Seniors Paul Wise and Niko Jacobson started investment club in the fall of 2016 discuss and delve deeper into topics of the investment world with others who share their interest.
“It’s really motivating to see someone from Jesuit made the most of her opportunities here to accelerate her career,” Wise said. “I look up to her in a way that she didn’t follow a group or a group of ideas….It’s inspiring to see someone do that because it can be hard to take a different role than most people would take and pursue your own interests to help others.”
Listing peace and justice as one of her favorite classes at Jesuit, Vardhana expresses how she was inspired by the opportunity to work with and support entrepreneurs who build businesses that make the world a better place. Her first look into investing was at Frontier Tech Investors, a small, seed investment firm in San Francisco, where she fell in love with helping others achieve their dreams. However, being a woman in the tech world has not always been an easy thing for Vardhana, as well as many others.
“At Google I worked with a lot of women and had a lot of women managers and leaders which was amazing,” Vardhana said. “Then, I went into this small start-up and sort of had this opposite experience of being the only woman on the tech side of things and feeling in many instances of being shut out of conversations….I think that kind of culture was very tough on me and since then I have really sought out amazing women and diverse people from companies who show that there are…people who are able to educate those around them.”
In her current position as a tech investor at Maveron, Vardhana examines several companies and industries each day. She thanks Jesuit, especially the AP English courses, for teaching her critical thinking skills as well as giving her the courage to pursue what she loves.
“I think what Jesuit does a really good job of is that it’s not just go to school and learn the basics and leave school; it’s find what you’re excited about,” Vardhana said. “Now I invest in technology and a big part of that is really understanding it and continuing to have a passion for it and for its ability to change life.”