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Anu Hariharan '04

Anu Hariharan with her husband and two sons
From left to right: Ram Parameswaran (‘03), Vikram, Anoushka, and Anu Hariharan (‘04).

Anu Hariharan

Class of ‘04
Managing Director and Partner at Y Combinator Continuity

As the managing director and partner at Y Combinator Continuity, I help lead the growth fund for Y Combinator, a technology startup accelerator. As part of this role, we invest in technology companies that have significant impact in the world for decades to come (e.g., Stripe, Brex, Faire). The best part of my job is working with Y Combinator (YC) founders from the very early days of their company's journey and seeing them scale exponentially in the first 10 years. There are now 15 public YC companies. Of the private YC companies, 316 are valued at over $150 million each, and over 80 are valued at over $1 billion each. We invest globally and our mission is to help startups really take off. Although I have very little time outside of work, when I do, I try to spend it with my family enjoying outdoor activities like skiing, biking, and hiking.

How did the college equip you for the “real world”?
My experience at Virginia Tech set the foundation for my life and career in the United States. Moving to Blacksburg was the first time I had traveled outside India. The international community and the wireless research group at Virginia Tech became my family. I celebrated Thanksgiving and holidays at Professor Jeffrey Reed’s and Professor Mike Buehrer's homes. I loved the project-based approach to most of our classes. Working on reconfigurable mobile devices was one of my highlights from college.

A project I worked on while at Virginia Tech was…
I worked on several projects. The one that comes to mind is the research project I worked on with Professor Jeffrey Reed that was funded by Samsung. The goal was to make the handsets and mobile phones (computing machines) reconfigurable via software instead of changing the hardware each time the wireless standard (3G/4G) switched.

What advice would you share with your college self?
Take the time to get to know your classmates deeply. Ask them questions like how did you grow up and what brought you here.

I also wish I had experimented more on side projects and tried to start a company while in graduate school.

Being a Virginia Tech alumna means...
You approach everything with an incredible work ethic and high integrity. Hokie at heart!

My fondest memories from my time in the College of Engineering are…
Spending Saturday nights downtown, taking the bus to the Walmart Supercenter, and the Diwali party!

Also, during my first year I worked at Owen's food court and learned how to flip burgers. 

I had never experienced snow and remember waiting at the bus stop when a fourth year student stopped by. He took me to Walmart to buy me a jacket because he was worried I was going to freeze. 

I also met my husband, Ram Parameswaran, at Tech. I am forever grateful for everything Virginia Tech has done for us.

The guiding principle for my work is to…
Focus on being a better version of yourself every day. I believe in the power of compounding. If we strive to be 1 percent better every day, I think we will learn and grow exponentially.

Why is it important to you to give back to Virginia Tech?
Without Virginia Tech, I wouldn't be in the United States. Professor Jeffrey Reed was one of my biggest supporters throughout my master’s degree program. It is an incredible honor to be able to support current students in a small way and pay it forward.


B.E., Electronics and Communication Engineering, National Institute of Technology Karnataka, India, 2001
M.S., Electrical Engineering, Virginia Tech, 2004
MBA, Finance, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 2009