Desh Deshpande

Dr. Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande is a Trustee of the Deshpande Foundation along with his wife, Jaishree. He is also the President and Chairman of Sparta Group LLC, a family investment office, and the Chairman of Tejas Networks.

Desh’s entrepreneurial career spans the last three decades. He was involved as the founder, a founding investor, or chairman of several companies including Cascade Communications, Sycamore Networks, Coral Networks, Tejas Networks, Cimaron, Webdialogs, Airvana, Sandstone Capital, A123 Systems, and Curata.

Desh lives in Boston and serves as a life member of the MIT Corporation, and his support allowed MIT to create its Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation. 

The Deshpande Foundation founded by Desh and Jaishree strengthens ecosystems that create significant social and economic impact through entrepreneurship and innovation. Leveraging the experience gained at the MIT Deshpande Center, the Deshpande Foundation has facilitated the launch of five other centers: Deshpande Center for Social Entrepreneurship in India; EforAll (formerly known as the Merrimack Valley Sandbox) in Lowell and Lawrence, Massachusetts; the Pond-Deshpande Center at the University of New Brunswick in Canada; the Dunin Deshpande Queens Innovation Center at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario; and the Gopalakrishnan Deshpande Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras, India. The Deshpande Foundation also provided the founding grant for MassChallenge in Boston, the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps™), the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), and the Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Program (UPOP) program at MIT.

Desh holds a B. Tech. in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology – Madras, an M.E. from the University of New Brunswick in Canada, and a Ph.D. from Queens University in Canada.

Desh co-chaired a National Council to support President Obama’s innovation and entrepreneurship strategy from 2010 to 2015.