Nand Mulchandani

About this episode

It all changed one day while Nand was sitting in traffic on the 101 freeway. Why am I doing this? Nand had experienced no less than 4 successful exits of cyber security companies where he was founder or CEO. He was one of the most accomplished cyber security entrepreneurs in the Silicon Valley and his origins trace back to writing compilers for Sun Microsystems. At that moment, Nand decided to leave corporate life and set course to start a new phase of his career in the government.

His first step was to uproot his family and move them into graduate housing at Stanford where he would finally do that MBA degree he had considered long ago. Throughout Nand’s hour long interview with Jack and Dave, Nand explains how his family embraces the abrupt change from predictable Valley life and comforts to community living inside a small apartment on campus. While Nand is determining how to best complete projects with 19 year-olds, his wife Sarbani and children flourish, starting a non-profit as a result of their experience.

Nand’s next step towards Washington D.C. is a one year stint across the country to the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government where he aimed to learn “the art of politics”. His time spent amongst princes and fledgling politicians taught Nand important lessons in complexity, the power of good Queen ballad during karaoke and the occasional necessity of a Scorpion Bowl to wash it all down.

After considering a run for Congress, Nand completes his plan to restart his career in government when by a series of unusual events (and a bit of start-up hustle) he becomes the CTO of the Department of Defense’s efforts in Artificial Intelligence. From his new vantage point, he shares what tech companies look like from the Washington D.C. perspective and answers heady questions such as “Who’s more trustworthy? A politician or a venture capitalist?” and we find out whether it’s easier to be in a government or a Valley boardroom.

Meet our guest

Nand Mulchandani

CTO, Department Of Defense's Joint Artificial Intelligence Center

About Nand

Nand Mulchandani is the Chief Technology Officer of the JAIC (Joint Artificial Intelligence Center) at the United States Department of Defense. Nand brings 25+ years of experience in the technology industry as a serial entrepreneur and senior executive in the enterprise infrastructure and security software industries to his service in the government to help transform the DoD in adopting next-generation AI and software technologies.

Most recently, Nand was at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government and Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, and remains a non-resident Fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Prior to that, Nand was the Vice President of Market Development and Strategy for Citrix, a leading provider of desktop virtualization and networking infrastructure. Nand joined Citrix through its acquisition of ScaleXtreme, where Nand was the CEO and Co-Founder, that was funded by Accel and Ignition Partners.

Prior to ScaleXtreme, Nand was the CEO, Co-Founder, and senior executive of a number of technology startups and companies – as an Entrepreneur-In-Residence with venture capital firm Accel Partners, CEO of OpenDNS (funded by Sequoia Capital and Greylock, acquired by Cisco), as the founder and head of Security Products and Marketing at VMware, Co-Founder and CEO of Determina (funded by Bessemer Venture Partners, Mayfield and USVP, acquired by VMware), and Co-Founder of Oblix (funded by Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, acquired by Oracle). Nand started his career at Sun Microsystems as a compiler architect and holds a patent on dynamic code generation.

Nand has a BA with a degree in Computer Science & Mathematics from Cornell University, a Master in Science in Management from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, and a Master of Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.