Varsha Rao's Biography

Varsha Rao is an entrepreneur and international executive, with a passion for e-commerce and global businesses. Her experience spans the spectrum from financial analyst to founder and CEO of an internet-based cosmetics company. Until late 2016 Rao served as Head of Global Operations for Airbnb, the global community-based travel marketplace. Airbnb's global travel marketplace which supports the entrepreneurial aspirations of its hosts around the world, was a great match for Varsha Rao, who started her own career as an entrepreneur. She launched her e-commerce business, Eve.com, in 1998. Eve.com was an internet beauty product retailer, which in 1999 ranked 6th on Fortune Magazine's list of best e-commerce sites. Rao sold the company to Idealab in 2000.

Education and Early Career

Varsha Rao grew up near Boston, Massachusetts. She received a dual degree from the University of Pennsylvania, a B.A. in Mathematics and a B.S. in Economics, graduating magna cum laude. Rao later earned her MBA at Harvard Business School. Upon graduating from Harvard, Rao joined the New York office of global management consulting firm McKinsey & Co., where she focused on clients in consumer technology, new media and telecom. While at McKinsey, she developed strategies for succeeding in the online environment, co-authoring an article titled, “Internet Advertising: New Medium or New Marketing Paradigm" with Michael Zeisser, Andrew Parsons and Caroline Cartellieri. Part of her role as a consultant required her to assess the internet as a viable host for e-commerce. Her research spawned a personal interest in the world of digital commerce, leading her to launch her own internet company—Eve.com.

A Digital Focus

Rao continued to invest her professional energies and develop her passion for business through senior roles with online retailers such as Oldnavy.com. Her international exposure began in Singapore where she serviced as CEO of Singtel Digital Media, a subsidiary of SingTel, the Singaporean Telecommunications company with a subscriber base of 500M. While at SingTel, she launched inSing.com, a local guide for restaurants, movies and events in Singapore. Varsha Rao’s experience and vision have provided her with the tools to build start-ups from the ground up and scale them internationally. She brings her problem-solving and business planning skills to the digital marketplace, emphasizing the importance of consumer engagement and customer satisfaction. Rao makes her home in San Francisco with her husband and two children.