Padma Rao

Padma Rao

I focus on direct to consumer products whether digital or real. Currently, I work towards starting my own consumer company as I advise several VC firms and companies.

San Francisco, California, United States
Member since June 06, 2013
  • About

I am a(n):


My favorite startups:

Zirtual, Julep (full disclosure - I'm on their board)

What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?

People feel like they have to tell you the up and to the right story rather than sharing their challenges. If they aren't open, then you can't help them.

What's the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs/innovators make?

They tend to focus on the part of the business the feel comfortable with. For example, if they come from product, they think that all things can be solved with product when they may actually have a distribution problem.

What are the top three lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?

1) Be open-minded, but filter.
2) You are nothing without your team (and the inverse - a bad egg can destroy things).
3) Be decisive. It doesn't mean that you must be right or that you can't change it later. When the decision is necessary to move forward, make it.

Full bio

Professional Bio 

Padma Rao is an entrepreneur who brings expertise in driving revenue growth through customer acquisition and retention.


 A true interdisciplinary executive, Padma’s technical background, analytical approach, and business acumen have produced impressive results for an array of companies across industries. Padma was most recently Head of Marketing at Zynga, building a world-wide customer acquisition and retention, brand, and promotions operation from the ground up during the company's high growth period from 2009-2011. Notable accomplishments include increasing Zynga’s new customer base 10x while cutting costs 50 percent and building one of the top 10 largest email programs in the world with unprecedented CTR at scale.


Prior to Zynga, Padma served as Director of Strategy and Analytics at Sephora/LVMH, where she managed the e-commerce P&L. Through her efforts to identify brand-specific strategic opportunities, increase buyer conversion and user satisfaction, and establish robust analytics to drive all online marketing activities, she grew revenue by 30 percent and profit by 10 percent. Padma also held marketing roles at Netflix and Gap, where she acquired deep experience in e-commerce and CRM. She designed and refined customer acquisition programs, while building predictive models to assess marketing vehicles, isolate drivers of churn, and increase ROI through customer analytics.

Padma started her career in engineering across the entire stack, including roles as an ASIC software engineer, a database architect, and a web developer for organizations like Alcatel-Lucent, Calix Networks, and the Georgia Tech Research Institute. She holds MS degrees in Computer Science and Chemistry from Georgia Tech, and a BA in Economics and Chemistry from the University of Arizona. 


Padma is most passionate about bringing innovative products to market and building great companies. She is a natural mentor and coach, and is delighted to offer her experience and enthusiasm in supporting the visionary entrepreneurs and their startups.