VA Shiva Ayyadurai is a scientist-technologist, entrepreneur and educator. He is the inventor of email. In 1978, while a 14-year-old high school student he invented EMAIL, the world’s first email system, which was the full-scale emulation of the interoffice paper-based mail system, for which he was awarded the first US Copyright. He holds four degrees from MIT, is a Fulbright Scholar, Lemelson-MIT Awards Finalist and Westinghouse Science Talent Honors Award recipient.
Born in Bombay, India, VA Shiva moved to America at the age of 7 in 1970. He completed his secondary school education at Livingston High School, Livingston, NJ. He pursued his bachelors, dual masters and doctoral degrees at MIT, spanning the fields of electrical engineering and computer science, media arts and sciences, applied mechanics and systems biology. VA Shiva’s research on pattern recognition and large-scale systems development has resulted in multiple patents, numerous industry awards, new computational platforms such as CytoSolve, commercial products such as EchoMail, and scientific and industry publications.
Since the age of 5, VA Shiva, was intrigued by medicine as he observed his grandmother, a farmer and healer, in the small village of Muhavur in South India, apply Siddha to heal and support local villagers. Those early experiences drove him to pursue modern Western science and technology and Eastern medicine with the aim of becoming a scientist and healer. Over the last three decades, his formal Western research and study focused on developing new systems for pattern analysis across multiple disciplines. In parallel, he trained in many Eastern modalities including various forms of Yoga, Meditation, Nutritional and Herbal Medicines, learning from esteemed sages and masters in the oral tradition.
Today, VA Shiva, teaches a pioneering new course at MIT called Systems Visualization in MIT’s Department of Comparative Media Studies. He is the Chairman & CEO of CytoSolve, Inc., and Executive Director of the International Center for Integrative Systems located in Cambridge. He has started and successfully grown several start-up companies. Following his winning of a White House competition to automatically analyze and sort mail President Clinton’s email, VA Shiva started EchoMail,Inc. which grew to nearly $200 million in market valuation. He has appeared in The MIT Technology Review, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, NBC News, USA Today and other major media. Shiva was named Top 40 in the Improper Bostonian. He has also authored three books on the Internet and EMAIL: Arts and the Internet, The Internet Publicity Guide and The EMAIL Revolution, which will be coming out in 2013.
VA Shiva continues his passion for entrepreneurialism as Managing Director of General Interactive, a venture fund that incubates, mentors and funds new startups in various areas including rural healthcare, media, biotechnology, information technology, to name a few. He has also started InnovationCorps to fuel innovation among teenagers worldwide. He serves as a consultant to CEOs and Executive Management at Fortune 1000 companies, as well as government organizations such as the United States Postal Service, Office of Inspector General.
VA Shiva is a member of Sigma-Xi, Eta Kappa Nu and Tau Beta Pi. He supports the Shanthi Foundation, which raises money to provide scholarships for education of orphaned girls. He is also a supporter of various arts and non-profit organizations including the Guggenheim Museum, Very Special Arts, National Public Radio and the National Geographic Society. VA Shiva enjoys yoga, travel, tennis, animals, art and architecture, and lives Belmont, MA, USA.