The Stanford University Board of Trustees recently elected Kavitark "Ram" Shriram, founder of Sherpalo Ventures LLC, a Menlo Park venture fund, to a five-year term. The board used electronic ballots to conduct the election, which took place in November. Shriram will take his seat at the board's Dec. 7-8 meeting.
Including Shriram, the board will have 32 members, three fewer than its limit of 35.
"Stanford is fortunate to welcome Ram Shriram to the Board of Trustees," Leslie Hume, chair of the board, said in an email message.
"Through his involvement in the Education and Engineering schools, and the Parents Advisory Board, Ram has proved an exceptionally thoughtful and generous volunteer, with a deep commitment to Stanford's mission. His expertise in business and technology and his broad global perspective will be of great value to the board."
Shriram is the founder and managing partner of Sherpalo Ventures, which he established in 2000.
The venture fund, whose website features a photograph of Mount Everest, takes its name from the Nepalese mountaineers – known as sherpas – who guide visiting climbers to the top of the highest peak on Earth. Shriram combined "Sherpa" and Palo Alto – home to venture capitalists and startups alike – to create "Sherpalo."
He said the mountain represents the heights entrepreneurs must climb to succeed in the rugged business of developing and commercializing early stage technologies.
"Young companies face numerous challenges as they seek to grow and gain traction," the Sherpalo Ventures website says. "For founder leaders, it is invaluable to have an experienced Sherpa guide to share the load and make success come a little easier, perhaps a little faster and with fewer mistakes."
Sherpalo has invested in a variety of startups, including Bump Technologies, which allows people to swap contact information, photos and music files by simply "bumping" their phones together; StumbleUpon, which helps people discover and share websites; FlightCaster, which predicts flight delays; and ZumoDrive, which uses "hybrid cloud technology" to provide unlimited storage on computers and smart phones.
Currently, Shriram is focusing some of his funding efforts in India, where his interests include social entrepreneurship, education, energy, sanitation, and telecommunications infrastructure.
He is married to Vijayalakshmi "Vijay" Shriram, and the couple has two daughters, both of whom are students at Stanford.
The couple has served on Stanford's Parents Advisory Board since 2006. In addition to various philanthropic programs in India, they have endowed the Shriram Family Professorship in Science Education in Stanford's School of Education.