*Dr. Amr AWAD-ALLAH - EECE(1992) - cofounded the Multi-Billion Dollar company "CLOUDERA" in 2008 | Department of Electronics and Electrical Communications Engineering

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*Dr. Amr AWAD-ALLAH - EECE(1992) - cofounded the Multi-Billion Dollar company "CLOUDERA" in 2008

Date: 
Sun, 02/10/2016
*Dr. Amr AWAD-ALLAH - EECE(1992) - cofounded the Multi-Billion Dollar company "CLOUDERA" in 2008

 

 

APR 2, 2016 @ 02:14 PM

Did A Ride From The Airport Lead To An Immigrant's $4 Billion Company?

 

 

I write about globalization, business, technology and immigration.  

 

A ride from the airport changed Amr Awadallah’s life. Amr earned a B.A. and M.A. in electrical engineering from Cairo University in Egypt. He applied for Ph.D. programs abroad and was accepted to Stanford. He intended to follow in his father’s footsteps and return to Egypt to become a professor.

“Coming in from the airport, I saw the headquarters for HP and Oracle, and just seeing them excited me about the possibilities of business,” said Amr in an interview. “And Stanford inspires you with the culture of entrepreneurship, the courses, the speakers, and how to start a company and raise money. It changed me.”

 

 

Amr Awadallah (Photo by Cloudera)

Amr Awadallah (Photo by Cloudera)

Amr left Stanford before completing his Ph.D. and was fortunate enough to be eligible for a J-1 visa, which allowed him to work for two years and start a company called VivaSmart, which was acquired by Yahoo. He worked for Yahoo for 8 years and finished his Ph.D. in electrical engineering. Despite his own Ph.D., Amr said, “When it comes to working for companies, getting a Ph.D. can be a mistake. Companies are not really that interested in Ph.D.s. One should get a Ph.D. to teach or as an important personal achievement but not for business.”

 

In 2008, Amr started Cloudera with three co-founders and today serves as chief technology officer. The four founders raised important initial capital from Accel. Cloudera’s leadership feels less pressure to go public, according to Amr, because it has raised $670 million in equity funding and its largest investor is Intel. The company has grown rapidly, employing 1,100 people with a valuation of $4.1 billion. (Amr was featured in a recent report from the National Foundation for American Policy on Immigrants and Billion Dollar Startups.)