Karan Mehandru joined Madrona in 2022 and focuses on investments across all stages in SaaS, data infrastructure, security, cloud computing, and intelligent applications powering the future of work. Karan is based in Madrona’s Palo Alto office, which Madrona established when he joined the firm.
Journey to Madrona
Karan brings a deep bench of venture investing experience to Madrona. Prior to joining Madrona, Karan was a managing director and head of venture capital at Steadfast Capital, where he built and led the firm’s VC and private equity practice. Karan led investments in Zapier, Klaviyo, Lucid, Forethought, Sendbird, Jumpcloud, Algolia, Wealthsimple and other high-growth software and fintech companies.
Prior to Steadfast, Karan was a general partner at Trinity Ventures for a decade, where he led the firm’s investments in Auth0, Beautiful.AI, Cohesity, CommerceIQ, Jama Software, MileIQ, Outreach, Pipefy, RJMetrics, Simply Measured, Stitch Data, Valtix and WayUp.
Before Trinity, Karan worked at Scale Venture Partners, where he focused on growth-stage investments in enterprise software, SaaS, IT infrastructure, cloud computing and related areas. Prior to Trinity, he spent almost a decade earlier in his career in operating roles across product development, marketing and sales for startups and billion-dollar tech companies.
Karan is on the board of directors of Stanford University’s DAPER Fund and is a charter member of C100, a nonprofit supporting Canada’s innovation economy. As a contributor to top-tier technology publications, Karan frequently writes and speaks about leadership, startup culture, and the changing nature of venture capital. He is a fierce advocate for his portfolio CEOs’ professional and personal development and a champion for underrepresented founders.
Karan also currently serves (or has served) on the boards of Auth0, Outreach, Pipefy, Forethought, Sendbird, CommerceIQ and others.
- As humbling as this profession is, I believe the best investor partners are optimists who imagine with an entrepreneur a version of the world that doesn’t yet exist and then relentlessly works to help them become the best version of themselves.
- As a founder and as an investor, you have to have the courage of your convictions to make things happen and change the world, but the best founders balance that grit with intellectual honesty. They are two sides of the same coin.
- I have a bias for action and lean in on founders who are built the same way and embrace change as an important part of growth. To quote Will Rogers, “Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there.”
When he’s not in the office…
Karan loves spending time with his wife, three children, and their little maltipoo. Having played competitive tennis in his younger years, he is passionate about sports and the competitive and team spirit it instills.
Karan earned a bachelor’s in engineering from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, and a Master of Management Science degree from Stanford University. Karan was born and raised in India and spent a decade in Canada before moving to the U.S. That journey and experience taught him the power of empathy and grit at an early age, which he says shaped who he is as a human, a father, and a VC partner to entrepreneurs today. It also allows him to bring a global outlook to investing, company building, and his philanthropic pursuits.