The Qualcomm Mafia

July 21, 2023
Tech Mafias

Company "mafias" are all the rage, and we here at PIN love to dig deep into the most influential 'Tech Mafias,' especially since we're huge on democratizing access to startup investing by supporting communities with all the legal and bureaucratic work when it comes to setting up a community investment club.

This week we took a look at one of the oldest and most popular multinational corporations for designing and manufacturing semiconductors and telecommunications products - Qualcomm. The company IPO'd way back in 1991, it has since then consistently made billions in revenue every year. Some quick stats below.

Total number of companies founded: 170
Total capital raised: $4.7 billion

Some impressive tech startups have come out of the Qualcomm Mafia, like Near Intelligence, which was started by former Associate at Qualcomm, Shobhit Shukla. Near went public in March this year.

If you missed our previous posts, make sure to check the Twitter Mafia, Lyft Mafia, Stripe Mafia, Netflix Mafia, InstaCart Mafia, Dropbox Mafia, Revolut Mafia,Tesla Mafia,Square Mafia, Reddit Mafia, VMware Mafia, Amazon Mafia, SpaceX, Slack Mafia, OpenAI,Google Mafia, Pinterest Mafia, Shopify Mafia, Coinbase Mafia, Instagram Mafia and Skype Mafia articles. Investing in fellow coworkers' startups, especially as a community or alumni group, is one of the best ways to get in early on deals as well as support the ideas and ventures of people you love and admire. Who knows what's around the corner in your own network and community!

Companies Covered:

  • Webflow
  • BioIntellisense
  • BabbleLabs
  • Asimily
  • Prisms VR
  • Shield AI
  • NextNav
  • Celona
  • Productiv
  • Nura
  • E-Band Communications
  • Frore Systems
  • Aira
  • Nervana
  • Ignition Design Labs
  • KidZui
  • Cranite Systems
  • Pace
  • Flowcast
  • Urban Piper
  • Near
  • oneNav
  • PeopleGrove
  • Solana
  • Platform Science
  • Hourly
  • Housecall Pro
  • Subtle Medical
  • Oncue
  • Netradyne
  • Gate Labs
  • Palacio
  • Manifold AI
  • Operant
  • Mall IQ
  • Astro Print


Founder: James Mault
Qualcomm Role: Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Office
Capital Raised: $82M 
Investors: Fresenius Medical Care
Stage: Series B

BioIntelliSense revolutionizes Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) with its advanced platform. The FDA-cleared BioButton® wearable effortlessly captures vital signs, biometrics, and symptoms.


Founder: Samer L. Hijazi
Qualcomm Role: Engineering Intern
Capital Raised: $18M
Investors: Intel Capital
Stage: Series A

BabbleLabs is improving the communication among humans and machines by enhancing speech quality. It was acquired by Cisco Labs in 2020.


Founder: Shankar Somasundaram
Qualcomm Role: Systems Engineer
Capital Raised: $14.9M
Investors: Ridge Ventures
Stage: Series A

Asimily’s IoMT risk remediation platform holistically secures the mission-critical healthcare devices that deliver safe and reliable care.


Founder: KG Ganapathi
Qualcomm Role: VP, Technology
Capital Raised: $26M
Investors: NEA
Stage: Series A

Vimaan is a computer vision and AI solution company dedicated to providing 3PLs, brands and retailers with a 100% accurate view of their warehouse inventory. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, Vimaan automates and digitizes inventory capture, tracking and management across the warehouse, including receiving, put-away and picking, storage and pack and ship.

Prisms VR

Founder: Anurupa Ganguly
Qualcomm Role: Intern - Corporate R&D division
Capital Raised: $19.1M
Investors: a16z
Stage: Series A

Prisms seeks to break down barriers in K-16 math and science using intuitive, immersive and interactive virtual reality experiences. Their platform uses socially relevant applications in STEM today, novel 3D sense-making tools, and personalized learning arcs to build enduring understanding, fluency and identity in the mathematical sciences.

Shield AI

Founder: Ryan Tseng
Qualcomm Role: Technical Lead for Wireless Power Program
Capital Raised: $573.1M
Investors: a16z
Stage: Series E

Shield AI is an artificial intelligence company founded in 2015 with the mission to protect service members and civilians with intelligent systems.


Founder: Ganesh Pattabiraman, Arun Raghupathy, Subbu Meiyappan
Qualcomm Role: Product, Staff Engineer, Principal Engineer
Capital Raised: $533.4M
Investors: Goldman Sachs
Stage: Public

NextNav brings new dimensions to geolocation. NextNav Pinnacle uses highly accurate vertical positioning to transform location services so they reflect the 3D world around us.


Founder: Mehmet Yavuz
Qualcomm Role: VP, Engineering
Capital Raised: $100M
Investors: Lightspeed Venture Partners
Stage: Series C

Celona, the enterprise 5G company, is focused on enabling new generation of AI-powered business critical apps in the enterprise and helping organizations accelerate their digital transformation journey.


Founder: Ashish Aggarwal
Qualcomm Role: Software Developer
Capital Raised: $73M
Investors: IVP
Stage: Series C

Productiv is a SaaS management platform built on SaaS Intelligence and designed to help CIOs run a fundamentally smarter business. Productiv’s SaaS Intelligence uses intelligent insights and machine learning to power proactive governance, increase operational velocity, and deliver personalized employee experiences.


Founder: Dragan Petrovic
Qualcomm Role: Product Manager, Staff
Capital Raised: $21.9M
Investors: HAX
Stage: Series A

Nura makes headphones that adjust themselves to you, bringing you closer to the music you love with personalized sound.

E-Band Communications

Founder: Saul Umbrasas
Qualcomm Role: Strategy Consultant from CSMG
Capital Raised: $13.2M
Investors: Express Ventures
Stage: Series C

E-Band Communications designs ultra-low latency multi-gigabit capacity wireless technologies and solutions for algorithmic and high-frequency trading clients in financial services.


Founder: Bryant Chou
Qualcomm Role: Prototype Engineer and Market Researcher
Capital Raised: $334.9M
Investors: Y Combinator
Stage: Series C

Webflow is a visual development platform for building powerful websites without writing code.

Frore Systems

Founder: Seshu Madhavapeddy, Suryaprakash Ganti
Qualcomm Role: Vice President of Product Management, VP Technology
Capital Raised: $100M
Investors: Mayfield Fund
Stage: Series C

Frore Systems is a leading developer in thermal technology.


Founder: Suman Kanuganti
Qualcomm Role: Systems Engineer
Capital Raised: $35.6M
Investors: Lux Capital
Stage: Series B

Founded in 2015, Aira caters to the needs of individuals who are blind or have low vision, granting them independence and agency through access to visual information. Aira's mission is to break down barriers and enhance global accessibility with visual interpreting.


Founder: Arjun Bansal, Naveen Rao
Qualcomm Role: Senior Systems Engineer, Researcher
Capital Raised: $24.4M
Investors: Threshold
Stage: Series A

Nervana was one of the first startups to build a high-performance, scalable cloud platform for deep learning.

Ignition Design Labs

Founder: Seung Baek Yi, Terry Ngo, Erick Kurniawan 
Qualcomm Role: Sr. Program Manager, Principal Engineer, Senior Director
Capital Raised: $22.9M
Investors: Sierra Ventures
Stage: Series A

Ignition Design Labs is a veteran team of wireless networking engineers developing products for the next generation Internet-of-Things.


Founder: Vidar Vignisson
Qualcomm Role: Senior Staff Engineer
Capital Raised: $26.4M
Investors: First Round Capital
Stage: Series C

KidZui provides internet browsers for children to navigate in pre-approved areas on the web. Vidar is an innovative technology executive, with more than 30 years of experience with proven ability to manage and build teams of software developers and user interface professionals to deliver exceptional products, using agile methods.

Cranite Systems

Founder: Sunil Agrawal
Qualcomm Role: Software Engineer
Capital Raised: $23.5M
Investors: Industry Ventures
Stage: Series C

Cranite Systems offers remote access solutions enabling enterprises to secure and connect to wireless hotspots and wired locations.


Founder: Alex Shye 
Qualcomm Role: Senior Engineer, Corp. R&D
Capital Raised: $18M
Investors: BoxGroup
Stage: Series A

Pace brings people together to work on their mental and emotional health, wherever they are.


Founder: Ken So
Qualcomm Role: Corporate Development
Capital Raised: $14.2M
Investors: ING Ventures
Stage: Seed

Flowcast leverages its patented machine learning methodologies to create high-performing predictive models that assess risk and enable lenders to unlock credit to all size businesses at scale.


Founder: Devarshi Shah, Saurabh Gupta
Qualcomm Role: Staff Engineer,  Design Intern 
Capital Raised: $39.2M
Investors: Tiger Global
Stage: Series B

UrbanPiper is a social and mobile CRM, loyalty, rewards and digital store value card platform for multi-location retailers.


Founder: Shobhit Shukla
Qualcomm Role: Associate
Capital Raised: $234M
Investors: Sequoia Capital
Stage: Public

Near is the global leader in privacy-led data intelligence, curating the world’s largest source of intelligence on people, places, and products.


Founder: Steve Poizner
Qualcomm Role: Sr. Vice President and General Manager, Emerging Business
Capital Raised: $21M
Investors: Norwest Venture Partners
Stage: Series B

oneNav provides the pureL5 GNSS receiver for smartphones, wearables and trackers.


Founder: Adam Saven
Qualcomm Role: Summer Strategic Finance Analyst
Capital Raised: $8.9M
Investors: Collaborative Fund
Stage: Series A

PeopleGrove connects every student and all alumni with the network and resources they need to realize their full potential before, during, and after their time in college. Founded in 2015, PeopleGrove works with over 300 institutions worldwide, including Stanford University, the University of Michigan, Wellesley College, and the University of Maryland Global Campus.


Founder: Anatoly Yakovenko
Qualcomm Role: Senior Staff Engineer Manager
Capital Raised: $315.8M
Investors: a16z
Stage: ICO

Solana Labs  is a technology company that builds products, tools, and reference implementations to further expand the Solana ecosystem.

Platform Science

Founder: Jack Kennedy
Qualcomm Role: President, Qualcomm Enterprise Services
Capital Raised: $197.7M
Investors: 8VC
Stage: Series C

Platform Science is a platform for on-vehicle mobile applications that offers fleet management software solutions.


Founder: Amir Faintuch
Qualcomm Role: President, Qualcomm Atheros
Capital Raised: $39.2M
Investors: J Ventures
Stage: Series A

Hourly is a software company that offers real-time payroll and time tracking solutions for carriers, business owners, and agents.

Housecall Pro

Founder: Ian Heidt, Roland Ligtenberg
Qualcomm Role: Director, Product & Business Development Manager
Capital Raised: $175M
Investors: General Catalyst
Stage: Series D

Housecall Pro provides the mobile operating system for home service professionals to run their business, while also connecting them to a homeowner booking engine.

Subtle Medical

Founder: Enhao Gong
Qualcomm Role: Interim Engineering Intern
Capital Raised: $46.9M
Investors: Bessemer Venture Partners
Stage: Series B

Subtle is developing deep learning/AI technologies to improve the quality and efficiency of medical imaging.


Founder: Vineet Thanedar
Qualcomm Role: Senior Engineer
Capital Raised: $11.3M
Investors: Bowery Capital
Stage: Series A

Oncue uses an innovative technology and on-demand booking service that helps moving companies scale faster, work smarter and create better futures.


Founder: Avneesh Agrawal, David Julian
Qualcomm Role: President, Principal Engineer
Capital Raised: $262.5M
Investors: M12
Stage: Series C

Netradyne harnesses the power of Computer Vision and Edge Computing to revolutionize the modern-day transportation ecosystem. Netradyne is an industry leader in fleet safety solutions, immediately improving driver behavior and fleet performance, setting the commercial vehicle driving standards.

Gate Labs

Founder: Danial Ehyaie
Qualcomm Role: Senior Engineer
Capital Raised: $21.6M
Investors: Cota Capital
Stage: Series B

Gate is the world's first camera-equipped lock, that features keypad lock, 2-way audio, motion-activated camera and call button. Gate enables secure, verified access to your home with unique access codes and live video streaming of every interaction at your door.

Rising Stars


Founder: Rahul Ranjan
Qualcomm Role: Strategy and Business Development
Capital Raised: $10.4M
Investors: Faster Capital
Stage: Seed

Palacio is now called Canvia. It provides digital art canvases.


Founder: Sourav Dey, Rajendra Koppula
Qualcomm Role: Senior Systems Engineer, Staff Engineer
Capital Raised: $7.5M
Investors: Waterline Ventures
Stage: Seed

Manifold.AI is an AI-powered research cloud for life sciences. Manifold gives researchers a single place to collect, organize, and analyze life sciences data together.


Founder: Vivek Bhakta
Qualcomm Role: Data Science Intern
Capital Raised: $6M
Investors: FJ Labs
Stage: Seed

WOMBO is an AI entertainment company democratizing creativity. Their first two products launched in 2021. Both have hit number one in 50+ countries and have cumulatively been downloaded over 85 million times.


Founder: Priyanka Tembey, Vrajesh Bhavsar
Qualcomm Role: Senior Software Engineers
Capital Raised: $3M
Investors: Felicis Ventures
Stage: Seed

Operant stands out as the sole runtime application protection platform designed specifically for cloud-native environments. Its technology provides comprehensive security measures, ensuring the safety of modern applications through fine-grained enforcements.

Mall IQ

Founder: Ferit Ozan Akgul
Qualcomm Role: Senior LBS System Engineer
Capital Raised: $2.5M
Investors: 500 Global
Stage: Seed

Mall IQ, Inc. is a privacy-first Location Intelligence & AI Platform, empowering Financial Institutions & Fintechs, Loyalty Platforms and Retailers in delivering anonymous personalization at scale.


Founder: Daniel Arroyo
Qualcomm Role: Senior Project Manager
Capital Raised: $2.2M
Investors: Christine Tsai
Stage: Seed

AstroPrint provides advanced software solutions for the Additive Manufacturing industry. Solutions include Multi-Printer Management solutions for Enterprise (such as Stanley Black and Decker) and white labeled Operating Systems for OEMs.

Founder: Suman Kanuganti
Qualcomm Role: Systems Engineer
Capital Raised: $8.4M
Investors: Village Global
Stage: Seed is reinventing human-to-human messaging leveraging AI that helps people collaborate, exchange ideas and deepen their relationships with others while prioritizing trust, transparency, and individual ownership.

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