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Aug 29

Get to Know LISTA TechLatino Member Manoj Fernando, CEO and the Thinktomi Story

Manoj Fernando

Idea – Connections – Startup and it begins at NestGSV.

When Manoj Fernando, Founder and CEO of Thinktomi, came to NestGSV six months ago, he never imagined that he could form a company with people that he would meet at Nest. “It’s almost like NestGSV has a magic,” says Manoj. “I would have never thought Nest would lead to the creation of an educational company.” The NestGSV courtyard is where Manoj met all the key players that now form Thinktomi.

Thinktomi means Think “rich”. Their goal is to give you richness in education, skills and life. “We like to say that we are unbundling education, taking what has historically been extremely expensive and formulaic and breaking that apart, unbundling the system,” says Eric Rajasalu, SVP of Sales and Marketing. They are doing it in a cost effective way so people do not have to leave grad school $100,000 dollars in debt.

Manoj came up with the idea after teaching an executive level MBA class at a local college. He found it very interesting how much knowledge was lacking; especially given it was Master’s level coursework. Feedback from the class and the executive knowledge of the students led to the Manoj’s idea that there is an opportunity to do something in the educational space.

Manoj now needed the perfect team. That’s where Nest played its role. Manoj met Douglas Park first, at a strategy session taking place at NestGSV for a company called RecordLogix. Having a unique background in academia, business, and law, Manoj thought Doug would be a nice fit for the company. A couple weeks later they both met back at Nest and Manoj pitched his idea to Doug. After a couple follow up sessions, Doug was convinced and came onboard as Chief Education Officer and General Counsel. Now they needed a technologist. Manoj got a call from his friend Sudesh Kumar. Sudesh was living in Hawaii, but happened to be visiting the Bay Area. Manoj invited him down to NestGSV to take a look at the space. Again, Manoj sat him down in the Nest courtyard and told his friend about the idea for Thinktomi. Sudesh though it sounded great, wanted in and became CTO.

All Manoj needed now was a sales and marketing person. That’s where Eric Rajasalu came into play. Manoj received a call from one of his business advisors, who happened to have met Eric while fixing his cracked iPhone. He told Manoj to come down to Nest to meet Eric. Manoj was hesitant to drive all the way down from the East Bay to NestGSV for the introduction, but at the last minute decided to take a chance. They met in the Nest courtyard and just over a week later Eric was onboard as the SVP of Sales and Marketing. Manoj had his perfect team and a company that formed right here at NestGSV.

So what’s next for Thinktomi? Right now they are in the process of developing a lot of their educational programs. They have programs ranging from beginner to advanced levels. In addition to their own programs they are offering, Thinktomi is also working with NestGSV on three advanced courses. “We are really excited about these classes because we think these are very useful and high value topics for entrepreneurs that will help them move their company forward,” says Doug.

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