As Executive Director at the Deshpande Foundation, Raj develops overall strategy, and channels the Foundation’s efforts to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation. He helped launch the Pond Deshpande Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of New Brunswick in Canada and has driven overall direction for the Merrimack Valley Sandbox initiative at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. Previously as Principal at Ambient Engines, Raj Melville provided marketing and strategy consulting to emerging social entrepreneurs. He founded the annual Forum for Social Entrepreneurs, organized and moderated numerous panels and workshops on social entrepreneurship, and currently mentors several startups focused on addressing key social issues.
Raj has over 25 years of product management, marketing and consulting experience including managing overall product strategy and features as Vice President, Product Management for nTAG Interactive, a spin off from the MIT Media Lab. As V.P. Product Management and Marketing, and later V.P Client Services, at mobile software vendor Vaultus, another MIT spinoff, (now part of Antenna Software) he provided marketing, product management and client services direction. Prior to that he was Sr. Director, Product Management at Be Free Inc. (now Valueclick), a market leading affiliate marketing ad server and e-commerce solution. Earlier he managed the launch of two high-end Internet server products at Electronic Book Technologies (later acquired by Inso). His early career included working at Microsoft Corp., Digital Equipment Corporation, and Booz Allen & Hamilton.
He is an active member of TiE Boston and the India Society of Worcester and co-founded the TIE Social Entrepreneurship Group. He has been a mentor and judge for several entrepreneurial competitions such as MassChallenge, MIT 100K, and the MIT IDEAS competition. Raj has a Doctor of Science in engineering from MIT focusing on optimizing the operation of computerized manufacturing systems; a Master’s from MIT’s Sloan School; and a Bachelor’s from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.