Varsha Rao Entrepreneur, Operating Executive and Investor
Varsha Rao is a global tech executive, entrepreneur, public speaker and mentor, with a passion for global commerce, digital marketplaces, and healthcare tech. She is the CEO of Nurx, which is increasing accessibility and affordability of healthcare in the US by providing on demand deliveries of birth control prescriptions, PReP, and home screening tests.
Varsha is the former Head of Global Operations at Airbnb, where she focused on a number of areas including international markets, supply acquisition, vacation rentals, customer service, trust and safety and the company’s expansion across Asia. Rao has decades of experience in ecommerce, startups and digital marketing.
Prior to joining Airbnb, Rao served as SVP of International for LivingSocial, where she managed 2,000 employees in offices across 14 different countries. She began her stint at LivingSocial while she was living in Asia expanding the company's footprint into Korea and South East Asia. While living in Singapore, before joining LivingSocial, Rao served as CEO of Singtel Digital Media. In this capacity, she directed the launch of a new digital lifestyle guide, InSing.com, which features reviews and valuable information about Singapore’s entertainment venues, restaurants, and shopping outlets. She oversaw all aspects of InSing.com, including marketing, product development, sales, content development, and the division's overall administration.
Varsha Rao began her career as an entrepreneur in San Francisco following her tenure at McKinsey & Company, a global consulting firm, where she was employed from 1995 until 1997. Her duties included undertaking an intensive assessment of the internet and its impact on consumerism and marketing. The output of her research was a co-authored article titled “Internet Advertising: New Medium or New Marketing Paradigm”, which was published in the 1997 McKinsey Quarterly. Her research sparked a personal interest in the web as a new medium for commerce, leading her to establish Eve.com, a web-based cosmetics and accessories retail outlet in 1998. Eve.com quickly became successful, securing a leadership spot in the dotcom world, and earning 6th place on the Forbes list of Best Ecommerce Sites in 1999. Within two years, Eve.com grew to 125 employees, raised $25 million in venture capital and was sold for $110M.
After the successful sale of Eve.com, Varsha Rao continued her career in e-commerce, joining OldNavy.com where she served as Vice President and General Manager. Under her leadership, OldNavy.com experienced significant market expansion, with revenue growth to close to half a billion dollars.
Her passion for entrepreneurship extends to her personal time as well. She is an active mentor and coach to new founders. An example is her role as mentor with KStart Incubator, a resource for Indian startups. She is also a frequent speaker at conferences and workshops, where she shares her tech experience, touching on the topics of leadership, global expansion, women, and diversity.
Varsha Rao believes strongly in the importance of education as a channel to life-long success. Her philanthropic efforts therefore focus primarily on organizations involved in enabling access to education and improving children’s academic outcomes.
Rao graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with dual degrees, a B.A. in Mathematics from the College of Arts and Sciences and B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School of Finance. She later received her MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School.