Head of Global Operations in San Francisco, California
Passionate about the role of mobile, internet and e-commerce in business, Varsha Rao is theHead of Global Operations for Airbnb, based in San Francisco, overseeing the company's expansion in key markets in Asia. She joined Airbnb in 2013 after living in Asia for 5 years.
A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Rao holds a Bachelor's in Mathematics and Economics from the Wharton School of Finance. She completed her MBA at Harvard School of Business, where she graduated with distinction.
Varsha Rao joined McKinsey & Company as an Associate in 1995 and was promoted to Engagement Manager in 1997. During her tenure at the global consulting firm she co-authored the article ‘Internet Advertising: New Medium or New Marketing Paradigm’. The paper was published in the McKinsey Quarterly in 1997, and the research supporting the article led to Varsha’s interest in the impact that the internet could have on every aspect of a consumer’s life, and how marketers could leverage the internet to form unique relationships with consumers.
In 1998, Rao entered the world of e-commerce as co-founder and Co-CEO with her business partner Mariam Naficy of online retail company, Eve.com. By 1999, Eve.com, one of the original ‘start-ups’ during the first dotcom boom, was ranked 6th on the Forbes list of best e-commerce sites in 1999. Within two years of its founding, Eve had 125 employees, raised over $25 million in venture capital, and was sold to Idealab.
Varsha Rao has a wealth of experience in Asian markets, as well Europe, Australia and Latin America. She has served as Vice President and General Manager of OldNavy.com, where, under her leadership, revenue grew to nearly half a billion dollars. In 2008, she relocated to Asia and took on the role of CEO of SingTel Digital Media (STDM) in Singapore and launched inSing.com, a lifestyle and reviews local portal. She subsequently became Senior Vice-President of International for LivingSocial, with overall responsibility for 2,000 employees across 14 countries.