Raghav and Sangeeth testing for our 1st and 3rd degree black belts
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SATYAGRAH SOULS is a monthly political series presented by Silicon Valley’s community leader, Saratoga Councilmember Rishi Kumar,  in highlighting the community involvement and success of Indian Americans in the United States. This series seeks to inspire us in giving back to our local community.  We Indian Americans are going through a transitional evolution, as we get entrenched in a new world, embracing new culture, exerting zealous work ethics, supporting the American economy as entrepreneurs, high tech geeks, doctors, lawyers and more. We are definitely imposing the positive intentions and good citizen values upon this fantastic country and making a huge impact. But can our involvement run a bit deeper with issues near and dear to our hearts, perhaps within our local city, or with the local public school that our children attend? Do we sometimes hear our conscience imploring, “Am I doing enough?”  Yes we can get involved just a bit more, push our comfort zone and enhance the learning and impact our involvement. Our involvement can simply start with developing a healthy curiosity in our local community, instead of being ‘busy’ bystanders. Once we get involved, we will quickly discover, how easy it is for us to make progressive change happen and how receptive everyone around is, to leverage our skills for it. There are leaders waiting to be discovered, why not “me”, by taking that first step? The give-back experience can be freeing, energizing – personally rewarding and transformative at the same time.  There are many who have made their mark in doing just that. With this monthly series, we want to highlight these SatyAgrah souls who are showing us the path. Here is a SatyaGrah soul, who has found the calling…



Entrepreneur, public servant & fitness fanatic

Hosting fundraiser for Ro Khanna

Sangeeth serves on the boards of the Los Altos School District, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula, Principal’s Exchange, Think Together and Beyond12.  Sangeeth Peruri is also the CEO and founder of VoterCircle. In his spare time, he is a fitness fanatic and competed on American Ninja Warrior 6.

An investment manager in his former life, he has spent the majority of his time devoted to public service since 2012. In 2014 Sangeeth ran for his local school board and was elected to the LASD Board of Trustees. In his role as a school board member, Sangeeth has focused his efforts around strengthening community relations and enhancing curriculum development. In his free time, Sangeeth spends most of his time pursuing athletic endeavors such as competing in the 2014 American Ninja Warrior competition.

Sangeeth is a co-founder and CEO of VoterCircle, a Silicon Valley startup that empowers voters to have an active voice in politics by connecting them with the candidates they support. He founded the company after successfully running for the Los Altos School Board in 2014 and realized the difficulties candidates have in reaching voters. Sangeeth founded VoterCircle to reduce the cost and time required for voter outreach enabling candidates to spend more time listening to voters and less time fundraising.

Sangeeth grew up in the Chicago suburbs and attended Brown University where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics. He then moved to New York in 1998 and spent two years as an analyst at Morgan Stanley before joining J. & W. Seligman in 2000 as a venture capitalist and later a hedge fund manager.

Sangeeth lives in Los Altos with his wife and two children.


When giving back, do things you love

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Chelsea Clinton came to speak at Blach Middle School in LASD

Sangeeth from investment manager to entrepreneur to a school board trustee – how did this all come about?

My youngest memory is stepping off the plane in India and seeing children with their hand out asking for money.  Since then my goal in life was to try and become successful as soon as possible and then focus on giving back. Fortunately my career went well and I was able to retire in 2012.  I decided I had made enough money and decided to dedicate the rest of my life to service.  After spending years going up and down the state of CA working with low-income school districts, I was asked to run for my local school board.  After seeing the democratic process first hand, I decided to start a company to see if I could make the electoral process more efficient.

Tell us about your election run? What prompted the run? What was the experience like?

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Riding in Los Altos Pet Parade with daughter IshaMy children have been blessed to attend an amazing school district.  After years of volunteering in the district the next natural step was serving on the school board.  I had a brutal campaign.  I had a budget of $4K vs my out of town PAC based candidates with a budget of over $100K.  I also faced a bottom of the barrel letter writing campaign that was spreading falsehoods to my endorsers, local newspapers and social media.  But in the end, we were successful!  I spent $0.40 per vote and won while my opponents spent over $11/vote and lost.  We also used the process to develop a new voter outreach technology platform that eventually led to the founding of VoterCircle, a friend-to-friend outreach platform.

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Talking to NBC about teacher housing programs in LASD

Given all the things you are involved with, where do you find the time and energy to

juggle so many different things? What is the one thing that excites you the most?

If am fortunate to be able to spend my time doing things I love.  To make the most of my time, I combine all of my endeavors – work, play, friends and family.  One of my co-founders is my closest friend.  He lives two blocks away and our kids are close friends as well.  So when we work on VoterCircle, our kids get to play.  My brother-in-law is another co-founder of mine.  So that allows me to stay close to my wife’s family.

I spend a significant amount of time working out (gymnastics, basketball, yoga, numerous martial arts and more).  But I am able to do most of these activities with my family.  After a grueling year long process I just tested for my 3rd degree black belt in taekwondo with my son who tested for his 1st degree.  In a few years, I am hopeful that my son and I will do this again, but with my daughter and wife joining us.

Raghav and Sangeeth testing for our 1st and 3rd degree black belts

As you look back on your community volunteering leading into a leadership community

role, what are somethings you did right, and something that you wish hadn’t? What advice would you give to someone who wants to give back, make a mark in the community

When giving back, it is important to do things you love. Otherwise you will eventually burn out and not make the impact you could.  For me, the hardest part is being able to say no. This was a mistake I made earlier on. There are only 7 days in a week and 24 hours in a day.  You have to remember that every time you say yes to something, you are implicitly saying no to something else.

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Competing on American Ninja Warrior 6 in 2014

What is the political future of Indian Americans in USA. What advice would you offer to steer Indian Americans to success in America?

Indian Americans have made an amazing amount or progress in the political arena.  Unlike 20 years ago, there are now Indian American elected officials at almost every level of government.

The main advice I would give is to not be afraid.  If you want to do something and give back, just do it.  If you run for office and lose, treat it as a learning experience and try again the next cycle.

Friends, this was an interview with Sangeeth Peruri. We wish Sangeeth the very best with his community leadership and efforts.


Dear Readers, Do you have a story to share? We invite you to introduce us to folks in your community who are making a difference – we would love to profile them. Are there similar stories you are familiar with locally. The ones who helped address a simple issue in the community to make life a bit better. Perhaps someone you know decided to make a run for school board, was appointed to the planning commission. Provide us your insights on Indian Americans locally and nationally who are making things happen. These perspectives will help construct roadmaps for our community to empower ourselves, to hopefully ignite a desire in all of us to represent our local communities as doers, leaders, establish and entrench ourselves in this glorious country of America and help make it a better place


ABOUT RISHI: Rishi is an elected city councilmember in Saratoga, CA and politically active in the state of California, as a board member on a few state and national political organizations.  He continues to follow his passion for community service, seeking to provide services to his constituents cheaper, faster and better, in his passion to make a difference. Rishi has diligent service, responsiveness, community outreach and engagement a key focus for his political leadership, be that strong independent voice. As Silicon Valley’s community organizer, Rishi is host of many social, educational, cultural community events, many of which are free and always inclusive usually addressing a need or a cause. Rishi’s day job is as a Silicon Valley hi-tech executive but his zeal for service effervescent. Rishi is also the President of the Bay Area Indian American Democratic Club ( whose charter is to further the interests and values of Indian Americans, work towards political empowerment and advance ethical standards in the political system. You can reach him via his website

Rishi’s pictures for the top header are available at

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