Nickhil Jakatdar

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Nickhil Jakatdar
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Spouse(s)Sudnya Shroff

Nickhil Jakatdar is an Indian-born entrepreneur based in California and is the CEO of GenePath Diagnostics Inc.[1], a next-generation molecular diagnostic company that creates tests and test kits for infectious diseases, oncology treatment and genetic disorders, for the global market[2].

Personal Life

Dr. Jakatdar grew up in India in kanpur,U.P. He completed his bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from College of Engineering - Pune (COEP) in 1995. He graduated with his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California, Berkeley in January 2000 under Professor Costas Spanos. Dr. Jakatdar has also completed the Genomics and Genetics program at Stanford University.

Dr. Jakatdar is married to Sudnya Shroff and they live with their three children in Los Altos HIlls, California.

Professional career

Dr. Jakatdar’s professional career includes starting or running organizations in multiple different domains (semiconductor manufacturing process control, chip design for manufacturability, consumer mobile video and genetic and molecular diagnostics), roles (CTO, CSO, COO, CEO) and geographies (India, SE Asia, China, Japan, HK, Europe and US). He started with co-founding Timbre Technologies while a student at Berkeley in 1998 in the area of metrology for semiconductor manufacturing process control. He was responsible for the overall product roadmap, where he developed artificial intelligence algorithms, in order to meet the requirements of advanced semiconductor factories. In 2001, after it was acquired by Tokyo Electron Ltd.[3] (TEL), he worked with the acquirer for 3 years as the head of product and strategy. In 2004, he joined Praesagus[4] as COO where he got into Design for Manufacturability (DfM), working on innovative models to capture the systematic variability of the manufacturing process so as to feed that back into the chip design process, thereby improving the performance of semiconductor chips. In 2006, Praesagus was acquired by Cadence Design Systems[5], where he was put in charge of making multiple acquisitions in the DFM space, and then running the acquired companies as part of Cadence’s DfM organization. In late 2007, he left Cadence and co-founded Vuclip Inc.[6], a direct-to-consumer mobile video startup, with the goal being to create the “Netflix of emerging markets".[7] Vuclip was acquired in 2015 by PCCW[8], a Hong Kong based company. Dr. Jakatdar left Vuclip in June 2019 to join GenePath Diagnostics, Inc. a next generation molecular diagnostics company based out of Pune, India and Ann Arbor, Michigan, as its CEO, where he is working in creating tests and test kits for genetic disorders, cancers and infectious diseases, such as Covid-19, tuberculosis, dengue, etc.

Timbre Technologies

Dr. Jakatdar’s professional journey began while he was a Ph.D. student at UC Berkeley. Along with his close friends and research colleagues, Dr. Xinhui Niu and Dr. Junwei Bao, he co-founded Timbre Technologies in September 1998, with the mission being to measure sub-100 nanometer dimensions on semiconductor chips with the accuracy, speed and precision required for manufacturing process control. In 1999, he collaborated with Nick Sturiale and Pedro Abreu at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business to enter the first ever Business Plan Competition. The Timbre Technologies business plan won the inaugural competition[9] and Dr. Jakatdar invited Mr. Sturiale to join as a co-founder of the company. The company was funded by Steve Domenik at Sevin Rosen in late 1999 and again in 2000. Dr. Jakatdar recruited Alan Nolet to be the CEO of Timbre in early 2000, and in February 2001, Timbre Technologies was acquired by Tokyo Electron Ltd. (TEL)[10] for $138 Million. Dr. Jakatdar stayed on at TEL until 2004, and was granted 46 patents[11] for the work done in the areas of broadband scatterometry and its applications to process control.


Dr. Jakatdar joined Praesagus as Chief Operating Officer (COO) in 2004, where he worked closely with the founder and CEO, Dr. Taber Smith (Ph.D. MIT). Together, they refocused the company’s efforts on international markets, especially partnering with the global semiconductor foundries, such as TSMC, UMC and Chartered Semiconductor, so as to become the chemical mechanical polishing (CMP) modeling software of choice for fabless chip design companies, such as ATI and Nvidia. In 2006, Praesagus was acquired by Cadence Design Systems[12], where Dr. Jakatdar was put in charge of making multiple acquisitions in the DfM space, including ClearShape. CommandCAD, and Praesagus, in addition to driving an IP strategy with partners. Dr. Jakatdar was granted 1 patent[11] for the work done in the DfM area while at Praesagus and then at Cadence. He left Cadence in 2007.


Dr. Jakatdar co-founded Vuclip, a mobile video on demand platform, in 2008 along with Dr. Xinhui Niu[13]. While it’s initial roots were in building a mobile video transcoding technology platform, Dr. Jakatdar and the team refocused the efforts on creating a freemium business model based direct-to-consumer service for the emerging markets. This meant getting into the content licensing business with the top content providers in the market as well as integrating into the billing platforms of mobile telecom operators in order to reach the masses. Vuclip introduced a number of key features in 2008-2011 that later became the mainstay of most direct-to-consumer mobile video platforms, including delivering short form content, creating a mobile centric technology platform with an emphasis on reducing data usage, offering a freemium service with micro-billing for premium content, and many other such innovations. By 2014 Vuclip had reached about $10M in revenues, had integrations with about 20 mobile telecom operators across 10 countries in SE Asia, India and the Middle East and had about 200 employees. Vuclip had raised about $40M before its acquisition from New Enterprise Associates (NEA), JAFCO, SingTel and had Silicon Valley luminaries, such as the late Stanford Professor Rajeev Motwani, Tony Bates (ex-CEO of Skype) and Steve Boom (VP - Music at Amazon) on its advisory board[14].

In 2015, Vuclip was acquired by PCCW, a Hong Kong based telecom company that was also a pay TV provider, with an ambition to become the Netflix of emerging markets. The service was rebranded as Viu. Post the acquisition, Dr. Jakatdar continued to run the company as CEO and added original content productions across more than 10 languages and more than 100 new originals over the period of 3 years from 2016-2019. By the time Dr. Jakatdar left, Vuclip had about 450 employees, 40M monthly active users, more than 40 mobile telecom carrier integrations and had one of the two highest minutes per active user engagement times amongst all the OTT providers in Asia[15] ‘[15]. Dr. Jakatdar was granted 4 patents[11] for the IP generated during his time at Vuclip.

GenePath Diagnostics

Dr. Jakatdar was deeply affected by the loss of his mother, Meera Jakatdar to breast cancer in 2018. Having seen her fight cancer over a 5 year period, he realized the severe shortcomings around the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in the developing world, relative to that afforded to wealthier patients in the developed world. Through his friend and classmate, Dr. Nikhil Phadke, he understood the importance of genetic sequencing to derive the mutations of the tumor so as to devise a more personalized treatment plan for the cancer patient. With that in mind, Dr. Jakatdar decided to devote his time to understanding the basics of genomics and genetics through the relevant programs at Stanford University in early 2019 and in mid 2019, Dr. Jakatdar joined Dr. Nikhil Phadke in his startup, GenePath Diagnostics, as the CEO. GenePath Diagnostics is a next generation molecular diagnostics company based out of Pune, India and Ann Arbor, Michigan. GenePath runs both a NABL accredited clinical lab, where it has processed more than 35,000 clinical samples to-date, as well as has an R&D facility, building test kits for genetic disorders, cancers and infectious diseases. Starting in March 2020, GenePath received NABL accreditation for its Covid testing lab in Pune[16], where it has processed more than 24,000 clinical samples and in Sept 2020, GenePath also received the ICMR and CDSCO approvals for its Covid-19 testing kit[17]. Its kit is now being used in labs across India as well as CLIA certified laboratories in the US. In September 2020, GenePath Diagnostics announced the launch of one of the cheapest Covid-19 tests in the world[18] ($20) as well as announced Pune’s first drive-up facility for rapid and accessible testing for all[19].

GenePath counts Ash Lilani (Saama Capital), Dr. Arati Rao (Oncologist, Vice President-Head of Clinical Development at PACT Pharma), Elliott Donnelley (Founder of White Sand Investor Group), Aditya Ghosh (ex-CEO Indigo Airlines), Renee Kaplan (CEO of The Philanthropy Workshop), Vivek Paul (Founding Partner TPG Growth), Dr. Steven Benner (Distinguished Fellow, The Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution), Lata Krishnan (Board of Stanford Health Care), Dr. Prithvi Mruthyunjaya (Ocular Oncologist, Stanford Cancer Institute) Amit Singhal (National Academy of Engineering), Arul Chinnaiyan (Cancer Research Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research, University of Michigan), as its key advisors and investors[20].

Boards and Advisory Boards

Dr. Jakatdar has been an advisor and investor to more than 40 startups over the years, including (acquired by Google)[21], Mezi (acquired by American Express)[22], Viewics (acquired by Roche)[23], CommandCAD (acquired by Cadence Design Systems)[24],,,, Lynx Dx, Matician, Jombay, Blend, PayActiv and Shoptimize. He is an investor in the Oakland Roots, a men’s professional soccer team based in Oakland. He serves on the Boards of KPIT (NSE: KPITTECH)[25] and on the Philanthropic Council of the South Asian Heart Center. He is also an advisory board member of the Bhau Institute of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Leadership in Pune, India[26].

Awards and recognition

  • Awarded the Distinguished Pioneer Award by the Department of Electrical Engineering at Berkeley in 2002[27]
  • Lifetime Achievement Award - College of Engineering Pune in 2008 [citation needed]
  • Featured on the cover of the Forbes magazine - Middle East in 2015[28]
  • Has 51 patents issued to date[11]
  • Won the IEEE Best Paper Award in the area of Transactions in Semiconductor device fabrication|Semiconductor Manufacturing for 2001[29]
  • Won the first ever Berkeley Business Plan competition, organized by the Haas School of Business in 1999[10]


  1. "Our Team and Lab". GenePath Diagnostics. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
  3. "TEL Acquires Timbre Technologies | Press Release | Tokyo Electron Ltd". Retrieved 2020-09-22.
  6. "Vuclip", Wikipedia, 2020-01-20, retrieved 2020-09-22
  7. Editor. "Report: Viu tops OTT users in SE Asia". Retrieved 2020-09-22. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  8. "PCCW expands OTT strategy with Vuclip acquisition". Pacific Century Group. 2015-03-12. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
  9. "04.26.2001 - Semiconductor technology takes first place in UC Berkeley business plan competition". Retrieved 2020-09-22.
  10. 10.0 10.1
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3
  15. "Viu emerges top in Southeast Asia streaming poll, beating Netflix". TBI Vision. 2020-06-19. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
  18. "RT-PCR test kit of Pune firm gets nod for manufacture, sale in India". The Hindu. Special Correspondent. 2020-09-04. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2020-09-22.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  19. Aug 29, Rujuta Parekh / TNN / Updated; 2020; Ist, 20:14. "GenePath diagnostics opens Pune's first drive-up Covid-19 test centre | Pune News - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2020-09-22.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  20. "Advisors". GenePath Diagnostics. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
  21. "Google Acquires YC-Backed Flutter, A Gesture Recognition Technology Startup, For Around $40M". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
  22. "Virtual travel assistant Mezi acquired by American Express". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
  23. "Roche to acquire Viewics, Inc. to provide data-driven lab business analytics and add further digital capabilities along the laboratory value chain". Retrieved 2020-09-22.
  25. "Nickhil Jakatdar". KPIT. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
  26. "About Us". Bhau Institute. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
  28. East, Forbes Middle. "Resizing The Silver Screen". Forbes ME. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
  29. Boning, D.S. (November 2002). "2001 Best Paper Award". IEEE Transactions on Semiconductor Manufacturing. 15 (4): 369–370. doi:10.1109/TSM.2002.804871. ISSN 1558-2345.

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