Mahesh Murthy

Mahesh Murthy, a serial entrepreneur has 24 years of marketing and communication experience, out of which over 14 years are in online marketing. After dropping out of college, Mahesh sold vacuum cleaners from door-to-door and then, found a home in advertising with Grey In India and Ogilvy in Hong Kong, where he won international notoriety as Creative Director in HP, Microsoft, Unilever, The Economist, Pepsi and MTV. He wrote and directed a spot voted “Asia’s best commercial of the decade” for them.

Mahesh then moved to a Silicon Valley firm, CKS Partners (later, USWeb/CKS) as Creative Director and eventually, Partner, where he helped create and launch the first commercial version of Yahoo in 1995 and the “Earth’s biggest bookstore” campaign for in 1997. After a successful IPO for CKS, Mahesh moved to Head Marketing at iCat, an e-commerce firm in Seattle, which was subsequently acquired by Intel. Mahesh then returned to India to run Channel V, a rival to MTV, till its sale to Newscorp in 2000 and founded Passionfund to invest in and guide start-ups.

Among his investments were Geodesic, a mobile software firm with a 2008 market cap of over $500m; EBS Direct, a multinational loyalty and marketing services firm; Compassbox, acquired by Career Launcher and WebDunia, India’s leading multilingual portal.

Mahesh pens reasonably infamous columns across various business publications and has played the Donald Trump, equivalent role in an Indian rip-off of The Apprentice, involving entrepreneurs and business plans. While running digital marketing campaigns for his favourite charity in late 2003, Mahesh saw an opportunity to change the basic business model in advertising and set-up Pinstorm with a bunch of great people to do so. Since, company has grown and better people than him, like others listed here have come on-board, his contribution to business is increasingly restricted to decide whose lunch box to raid at the communal table.

Mahesh Co-founded his second fund, Seedfund in 2006 along with lot of investors like Google and Motorola, to create and guide even more revolutionary companies.


Winners have product strategy, losers have social media strategy.