Google mentor Rajeev Motwani, who advised Sergey Brin both before and after Google's launch, died unexpectedly at home. In addition to Google, Motwani advised PayPal and a variety of other Silicon Valley startups.
Rajeev Motwani, 47, who served as a mentor and unofficial adviser to Google
co-founder Sergey Brin, was found dead in his home swimming pool on June 5.
Reports have suggested that the Stanford professor's death was a drowning
According to the Stanford University Website, Motwani's areas of research
interest included databases, data mining, information retrieval, Web
researching, and privacy and security, "particularly in the context of
databases and informational retrieval."
The weekend saw an outpouring of grief from Silicon Valley
giants, many of whom had relied on Motwani over the years as an adviser and
counselor to students and tech entrepreneurs.
"Officially, Rajeev was not my advisor, and yet he played just as big a
role in my research, education, and professional development," Sergey Brin
wrote in a June 5 blog posting. "No matter what was going on with my life
or work, I could always stop by his office for an interesting conversation and
a friendly smile."
Brin also recounted how Motwani helped both him and Larry Page as Google
developed from graduate-student project to corporate behemoth:
"Rajeev was there to support us and guide us through challenges, both
technical and organizational," Brin wrote. "Eventually, as Google
emerged from Stanford, Rajeev remained a friend and advisor and he has with
many people and startups since."
Tributes poured in from across the Web.
"Success never came in the way of Rajeev's quest for knowledge and
innate desire to help others," Om Malik, founder and senior writer of
Gigaom, wrote on the
on June 5. "There wasn't a startup he didn't love. Like his
chosen specialization of search, Rajeev was searching for the unknown."
"For those of you who didn't know Rajeev, you might get the impression
that he was your typical Silicon Valley insider-loud, brash, full of
bravado," David Hornik of August Capital wrote on VentureBlog
on June 5. "He was anything
but. Rajeev was soft spoken and gentle. He was self-confident but didn't feel
the need to prove anything."
Those startups also included PayPal. Motwani, who earned his degrees in
computer science from IIT Kanpur and U.C.
Berkeley, is survived by a wife and two daughters.