Nilofer serves on public and private boards that seek to navigate and thrive in the #SocialEra.
Her expertise comes from growing companies, small and big. She has served as CEO, Fortune 500 leader, and entrepreneur. She blends assets — strategic models, 20 years of experience in start-ups and multi-billion dollar global enterprises, market insights, and change management skills — to create results. Merchant founded and served as CEO of a global multi-million dollar services company, selling 80% of business. As VP of a web application start-up, she enabled the German company to do a successful exit. Merchant has profit and loss (P&L) experience at a public Fortune 500 company. Board of Directors, and CEOs at Global Fortune 1000 turn to her to make mission-critical decisions.
Founder and CEO of Rubicon Consulting, her strategic insight was sought after and profitably deployed by Adobe, Symantec, Symbian, HP, Yahoo, Openwave, Logitech, and VMWare. Her firm served four inflection points of growth: finding new markets, go-to-market strategies, defending against competitors, and optimizing revenue. She created the $200M go-to-market (GTM) strategy for VMware to enter the SMB space, designed the GTM that grew Adobe’s Education business from $20M to$180M, and identified a new $2B mobile data market for Openwave’s pivot, amongst others. And, Merchant is one of the few people who can say they’ve fought a competitive battle against Microsoft and won, for Symantec’s Anti-Virus $2.1B annual business. She has personally launched more than 100 products, netting $18B in sales, with expertise in Europe and US markets. She’s also advised social and ecommerce companies like Paycycle, Oodle, Buyosphere, ModeWalk, CrowdScience, and more. These experiences point to one thing: explosive global growth with superior shareholder value.
Prior to her own start-up, Merchant drove pricing, channel strategy, product launches, vertical segments, and marketing investment decisions for the Americas division of Autodesk (ADSK). She grew the business by nearly 50% from $200M to $310M in 20 months, including a major product diversification strategy. As VP of Sales & Marketing for GoLive, a start-up later acquired by Adobe (ADBE), she grew revenues from zero to $4.5M in 16 months. Merchant received industry recognition for an ingenious channel sales program she developed that grew Apple (APPL) server sales at nearly 900% CAGR over 2 years from $2 to $180M. She’s led start-ups, high-growth performance, and turnaround situations.
Merchant has extensive fiduciary and governance experience. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Ambassadors Group (NASDAQ: EPAX) where she serves on the audit committee. She also advises the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University. Appointed by Governor Deukmejian, she served on the California Community College Board of Trustees overseeing both budget and staff and the passage of AB1725 legislation. She has served on the Board of the Northwest YMCA where she led a $2M capital campaign. In addition, in five years with Vistage, a CEO peer advisory board, Merchant was twice voted “Most Valuable Player” in a blind vote by her fellow CEOs.
Besides serving as a corporate director today, she advises entrepreneurs, speaks professionally, writes, and teaches on innovation at Stanford & Santa Clara Universities. She holds an M.B.A. from Santa Clara, and a B.S. in Applied Economics from University of San Francisco.