Venkat Shastri’s first job in 1988 was with NASA, at its jet propulsion lab, where he got to work on the navigation of the Pathfinder that was used to explore Mars. His next gig was as a research scientist at Yale University, where he helped develop the robotics laboratory.
When he got tired of research, he switched to what he called his first hardcore job in the business, becoming the senior director of engineering at KLA-Tencor (Nasdaq: KLAC), exactly when the semi-conductor industry was going through a transition and automation began to boom.
Several gigs later, he is now the president and CEO of PCN Technology, which designs, develops and commercializes embedded systems that tap existing grid infrastructure for data communication, analysis, control and networking. The company closed a Series A round of venture financing led by Enertech Capital, to the tune of $8 million in late 2008.