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Integrated Innovation Institute

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Alumni Spotlight - Alok Rishi (MSSM '09)

Launching Two Companies, And a New Career

What does it take to be an entrepreneur? Dedication, timing, sacrifice-- and most importantly-- the right support.

When he came to our part-time MSSM program in 2007, Rishi already had a thriving career in the software industry. At the time, he was working for Sun, a large Information Technology (IT) systems company. In a 22-year tenure at Sun, he had flourished in a variety of roles, starting out as a technical support engineer and ascending to chief technologist for one of its divisions for data centers and networking.

For his master's experience, Rishi was looking to discover something new within himself, to discover what was possible for the next 20 years of his career. He never expected that this new path would lead him to entrepreneurship, but after just a few courses, he identified an opportunity with an emerging technology that consumers were already quickly adopting: "During my time at CMU, I began to notice that the cloud movement was taking hold, and I became curious about how it could be utilized within an enterprise."

Fast-forward to the summer of 2009: Rishi harnesses the entrepreneurial spirit he gained while at CMU to launch Yunteq, a provider of cloud orchestration software for public and private clouds. Yunteq allowed larger enterprises to create their own "cloud." At the time, most enterprises were spending weeks or even months allocating the physical hardware necessary for launching business applications. The software developed by Yunteq converted everything to cloud hardware, including computers, network devices, and storage equipment. Through this process, businesses could now access their IT resources on demand and over the internet in a matter of seconds, allowing them to focus on their core competencies and save a significant amount of time and money.

By 2011, Yunteq had made an impact on the industry and caught the attention of companies producing hardware and software needed to build clouds. That year, the company was acquired by Coraid, a business offering an inventive cloud storage solutions in both the public and private sectors.

With such success in his first startup, Rishi moved into his next venture: Khaylo, Inc. Founded in 2013, Khaylo is a cloud-based platform that tracks your exercise and cardio activities. As co-founder and CTO, Rishi has enjoyed watching the company grow.

The Integrated Innovation Experience

Alok Rishi (MSSM '09) always dreamed of attending Carnegie Mellon University. He knew of their reputation for excellence in artificial intelligence and robotics. However, due to his career and location on the west coast, his dream to attend CMU went unfulfilled for many years. Thinking he was finished with academics, much to his surprise, he discovered CMU Silicon Valley and made the decision to join the part-time M.S. in Software Management program.

Rishi deeply values the network he's built through CMU and encourages others to become an active part of the CMU alumni community, "Do not view your time at CMU-SV as just a degree! Rather, experience it as an alive and active relationship that will continue throughout your life."