The SymphonyAI Team

Our Team

Over 1,600 talented leaders, data scientists and other professionals operate the SymphonyAI Group under the leadership of one of Silicon Valley’s most successful serial entrepreneurs, Dr. Romesh Wadhwani.
Meet the team that incubates, transforms, builds, and invests in B2B AI solutions.

The SymphonyAI Team


Ishan Manaktala

Operating Partner

Ishan is a results-oriented entrepreneur with the knowledge, expertise and track record to incubate, grow and transform businesses that focus on enterprise software, data and analytics.

As an operating partner, Ishan’s focus at SymphonyAI is incubation and acquisition opportunities across the operating group’s financial services and enterprise technology segments. Additionally, he plays interim C-level roles across the SymphonyAI portfolio companies.

Prior to SymphonyAI, Ishan was COO of CoreOne Technologies, a Symphony Technology Group portfolio company; which was exited to IHSMarkit. At Deutsche Bank, Ishan was the global head of analytics for the Electronic Trading Platform. Ishan started his career at CitiBank. Ishan has a dual MBA degree from Columbia Business School and London Business School.


Leif Pedersen

Senior Operating Partner

Leif E. Pedersen is a senior operating partner at SymphonyAI Group, responsible for revenue growth across healthcare, life sciences, industrial, and defense sectors.

Mr. Pedersen is a seasoned software industry executive with more than 25 years of product and marketing experience across multiple vertical industries and a proven track record of building high-performance teams. Mr. Pedersen was most recently CEO of Dassault Systèmes BIOVIA, a scientific product development software firm for providing solutions for life and material science.

Before joining BIOVIA, Mr. Pedersen served as executive vice president at Innovative Interfaces; senior vice president of marketing, product management and corporate development at Accelrys Software Inc.; and vice president at Siemens Corp. with global responsibility for driving company growth within the automotive, pharmaceutical, aerospace, consumer packaged goods, food and beverage, chemicals and other industries.

As vice president at Siemens (previously UGS Corp.), Mr. Pedersen was responsible for managing business strategies within eight industry verticals. He was part of a team that successfully grew UGS into a leading global product lifecycle management (PLM) software solutions company. Prior to UGS, Mr. Pedersen held executive leadership positions with Vignette Corp., Novell Inc., CA Technologies, and Oracle Corp.


Eshwar Belani

Operating Partner

Eshwar is a partner at SymphonyAI focused on incubating, transforming, and growing companies that leverage AI to disrupt B2B markets. Eshwar assumes interim operating roles across SymphonyAI’s portfolio to accelerate company business goals and enhance customer and shareholder value. Prior to SymphonyAI, Eshwar led products and alliances for Rubrik, where he launched a suite of products that grew the company to an annual run rate of $100 million after only six quarters. Rubrik is the fastest-growing enterprise infrastructure company and was featured on Forbes’ 2018 The Cloud 100 list.

Previously, Eshwar was the vice president of strategy at Rocket Fuel (NASDAQ:FUEL), responsible for shaping strategic direction and driving ancillary revenue through new business initiatives. He helped close Rocket Fuel’s $230M acquisition of [x+1] to expand Rocket Fuel’s enterprise solutions portfolio. Prior, Eshwar was Rocket Fuel’s vice president of products and business development, responsible for brand and direct response products and data and measurement partnerships. Eshwar helped Rocket Fuel grow revenue to over $240 million to claim the #1 spot in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500™ list.

Previously, Eshwar was the founder and CEO of Sensact Applications, an IoT company focused on solutions for smart physical environments; drove product strategy for Epiphany’s (now Infor) marketing and analytics products, including Epiphany’s flagship CRM marketing and analytics platforms; co-founder and CTO of iLeverage (acquired by Epiphany in 2000), an advertising and collaborative selling solutions company; and a software development engineer in Oracle’s Application Server Group.

Eshwar serves as an advisor at Singularity University and Alchemist Accelerator and is a charter member of TiE Silicon Valley. He holds a MS in computer science from U.C. Berkeley, Management of Technology from U.C. Berkeley, and a B.Tech in computer science from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras. He has authored several academic publications and holds six patents.


Pradyut Shah

Senior Investment Partner

Pradyut Shah is a senior investment partner at SymphonyAI Group and oversees all investment and acquisition activity at the firm. He currently serves as a Director on the Boards of Symphony AzimaAI, Symphony MediaAI and Ayasdi.

Pradyut was previously a Managing Director and founding member of Insignia Capital Group, a middle-market private equity firm where he served as a Director on the Boards of portfolio companies in the consumer sector. Prior to Insignia, he was a Vice President at Behrman Capital where he was significantly involved with a number of private equity investments from 2004 to 2011, including Athena Diagnostics, Brooks Equipment Company, Peacock Engineering Company, Pelican Products and WIL Research Laboratories. Prior to Behrman, Pradyut spent 3 years at Credit Suisse First Boston’s Technology Group.

He attended the Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology at the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated summa cum laude with a B.S.E. in Computer Science from the School of Engineering and Applied Science and a B.S. in Economics with a major in Finance from the Wharton School of Business.


Vibhor Rastogi

General Partner

Vibhor is an investment partner and co-leads the corporate development and minority investments function at SymphonyAI. Prior to joining SymphonyAI, Vibhor was an investment director at Intel Capital where his deals generated over $2B in exits as measured by enterprise value.

Vibhor’s M&A and venture capital areas of expertise include artificial intelligence and machine learning, data center infrastructure, cloud computing, enterprise mobility, Internet of Things, aoftware-as-a-service, digital media, wearables, digital health, digital commerce/payments and has served on over a dozen boards to help management teams with their growth strategy, mergers and acquisitions planning, financial planning, recruiting of top management and business development activities.

Prior to his investing career, Vibhor was a top-ranked management consultant with Deloitte Consulting where he led teams on a number of high-profile, award winning engagements at Fortune 500 clients in industries including healthcare, financial services, manufacturing and telecom.

Vibhor holds an MBA with high honors from the University of Chicago where he was selected for the prestigious Student Managed Investment Fund scholarship based on academic excellence and community leadership. Vibhor holds an engineering degree from the Indian Institute of Technology at Kanpur where he won a Dean’s award for academic excellence.


Nital Vora

Sr. Director of Product Management

Nital Vora drives product strategy to incubate AI enabled solutions for disrupting B2B markets. Nital is building, launching, and commercializing Enterprise SaaS products for over 15 years.

Prior to SymphonyAI, he led product management at Oracle where he conceived, developed and launched industry cloud solution for Consumer Goods which accelerated digital transformation of large CPG brands. Prior to Oracle, he was head of SaaS product management at iVanti where he launched IT Management product line that enabled the company to transform itself into a competitive SaaS vendor. Prior to iVanti, Nital spent a decade building and launching Cloud based CRM software at SAP, NetSuite and RightNow Technologies.

Nital holds a M.S. in Computer Science from University of Illinois and an MBA from Santa Clara University.


Erica Schroeder

Head of Marketing

Erica leads SymphonyAI marketing, working with Symphony AI portfolio companies to build awareness and create marketing programs that drive enterprise AI adoption across vertical industries.

Prior to joining SymphonyAI, Erica was senior director of marketing for, where she led content and drove a number of other marketing functions, partnering closely with product and sales organizations. Prior to, Erica was senior director of marketing for SunPower Corp., where she led marketing for SunPower’s commercial and utility solar businesses across the U.S, Europe, and Japan. Prior to SunPower, Erica was a director of marketing at Cisco Systems Inc., leading marketing for a variety of emerging technology products. She also held leadership corporate communications and analyst and public relations positions in Cisco’s service provider business.

Erica began her career as a journalist at PC Week (now eWeek), where she edited several news sections, wrote a column, spoke at industry events, and covered a variety of markets, including telecommunications, networking, enterprise software, storage, and enterprise video.

Erica holds a bachelor’s degree from Duke University and has completed executive MBA programs at Kellogg School of Management and Oxford University’s Said Business School.


Carl Hekkert

Head of Finance

As head of finance for SymphonyAI, Carl Hekkert is responsible for finance, IT, legal, human resources, compliance, and administrative functions. Carl drives transformational finance and people initiatives across the SymphonyAI portfolio and also assists with deal structuring and integration.

Before joining SymphonyAI, Carl held senior finance roles at software, AI and professional services companies, including Motorola Solutions, Vigilant Solutions, and Astreya Partners. Previously, Carl was the head of finance for SVB Financial Group’s corporate VC and warrant portfolios. Carl also served in finance leadership roles at Varian, Juniper Networks, Agilent Technologies, and HP.

Carl began his career at the Silicon Valley practice of Ernst & Young, where he earned his CPA designation, and in KPMG’s Risk Advisory Services group. Carl’s expertise includes technical accounting and SEC reporting for public and private technology companies, venture fund accounting, equity financings, acquisition due diligence, systems implementations, and human resource programs.

Carl holds a bachelor’s of science degree from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and a master’s degree in culture from Regent College Vancouver. Carl is an adjunct faculty member of William Jessup University’s MBA program.


Patrick Carey

Head of Talent

Patrick leads SymphonyAI executive and strategic hiring, partnering with SymphonyAI portfolio companies on talent strategy and people practices. Before joining SymphonyAI, Patrick led inside sales and global sales strategy/operations for Findly, an HR technology start-up focused on optimizing hiring for Fortune 1000 companies. Findly, now Symphony Talent, was acquired by Symphony Technology Group. Previously, Patrick held sales and channel leadership positions at Salesforce and customer service company and managed technical recruiting for Aerotek, an Allegis Group company.

Patrick graduated from the University of San Diego with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.


Michael Cashin

Director of Business Development

Mike is a director and head of business development for SymphonyAI Group. He is responsible for all aspects of deal origination and qualification. Before joining SymphonyAI, Mike was the head of corporate development for ESW Capital, a $2 billion private investment firm focused on enterprise software acquisitions. While at ESW Capital, Mike was responsible for the entire deal lifecycle and personally closed six transactions representing more than $145 million of equity in under two years.


Previously, Mike was a member of the business development team and led the technology efforts at OpenGate Capital. Mike began his career in private equity as an associate with Pegasus Capital Group.


Mike holds an MBA with a focus in finance and entrepreneurial management from Pepperdine Graziadio Business School and a bachelor’s of science degree in business administration from Pepperdine University.


Mike is based in Los Angeles and can be reached at [email protected].