Vinod and Neeru Khosla: Tech grants

NET WORTH: $2.2 billion

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Sun Microsystems, Khosla Ventures

FUNDING AREAS: Microlending to combat poverty, hunger and education. K-12 education.

OVERVIEW: Vinod Khosla's philanthropy reflects his venture capitalist roots and has led him to support groups that provide microloans to entrepreneurs in his childhood home. He also supports his wife Neeru's education nonprofit, CK-12 Foundation.

BACKGROUND: Vinod Khosla grew up in New Delhi, India, and was inspired to work in technology by a story he read about the founding of Intel. He received his bachelor's degree from IIT Delhi before coming to the U.S. for a masters at Carnegie Mellon in biomedical engineering, and an MBA at Stanford. He founded Sun Microsystems two years after receiving his business degree, though he eventually left to join the venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, and Byers.


MICROLENDING:  One of Khosla's most famous investments was in SKS Microfinance, now called Bharat Financial Inclusion Limited, which specializes in providing microloans to poor women in India. Keep in mind that Khosla is not just giving the money away—he is investing the funds in areas that he believes can turn a profit, thus giving him a continued stream of capital to invest in commercial poverty-fighting ventures.

In 2012, he and Zillow co-founder Rich Barton bankrolled Vittana, a nonprofit that tackled childhood poverty through education microloans. The operation shut down in 2014. 

EDUCATION: Khosla and his wife Neeru founded the Amar Foundation, which supports the CK-12 Foundation, an education nonprofit co-founded by Neeru. CK-12 provides free customizable K-12 open educational resources. The foundation's tools are used by tens of thousands of schools in the United States alone. 

Besides the CK-12 Foundation, Amar Foundation funds have gone to Stanford University for its athletic center and creative arts and design center, and to to support its computer science curriculum. In 2014, more than $2.7 million went to IIT Delhi Excellence Foundation to support scholarships at Khosla's alma mater.

MISCELLANEOUS: In 2015, in addition to giving $9 million to the CK-12 Foundation, the Amar Foundation made $300,000 in grants to the Open Medicine Institute, which is "a neutral, safe place for patients to collect, curate and share their own medical data and more while helping to contribute (if they desire) to a community of science."  

Khosla's impact investing has led to his involvement with green initiatives such as the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, where he is a board member, as well as the startup biofuel company KiOR, which has since been shuttered and has filed for bankruptcy. It was also reported near the end of 2015 that Twine Health had received funds from Khosla for its work in chronic condition health coaching.


  • Bharat Financial Inclusion general inquiries,

  • Khosla Ventures, 2128 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025, 650-376-8500

LINK: Bharat Financial Inclusion