Sunil Paul (born November 12, 1964) is an Internet entrepreneur who has founded companies such as Brightmail and Freeloader, Inc. He was the co-founder and CEO of Sidecar, an on-demand peer-to-peer taxi service that was billed as a rideshare community with operations based in San Francisco, CA.
Early life and background
Paul was born in Punjab, India. At the age of 4 his parents immigrated to the United States where he was raised in Nashville, Tennessee. Paul holds a B.E. in Electrical Engineering from Vanderbilt University.
Before Paul became an entrepreneur he worked as a Policy Analyst at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, working on nanotechnology and information technology and work on NASA Space Station information systems. From 1988-1990 Paul served as a Senior Engineer for Booz Allen Hamilton. For the following three years he served as a Senior Analyst at the United States Congress, Office of Technology and Assessment. Starting in 1994, Paul served as an Internet Product Manager and Director of Corporate Development for America Online, Inc..
In 1996, Paul co-founded and launched his first startup with Mark Pincus, Freeloader, Inc., a web-based push technology service. Paul served as the Chief Executive Officer from January 1996 - June 1996 when Freeloader, Inc. was acquired by Individual, Inc., for $38 million and Paul became the President of Individual Inc. from June 1996 to July 1997.
In 1998 Paul founded Brightmail (previously known as "Bright Light Technologies"), an e-mail filtering company, and raised $55 million in three rounds of venture capital led by Accel, TCV and Symantec. Brightmail was acquired by Symantec on May 19, 2004 for $370 million in cash.
Paul is a founding partner in Spring Ventures, a venture capital firm with investments in companies such as LinkedIn, Solazyme and has served on the board of Zynga since November 2011.
In February 2012 Paul co-founded Sidecar, an on-demand peer-to-peer ridesharing service with Jahan Khanna, Adrian Fortino, and Nick Allen. Sidecar was based in San Francisco, CA and raised $10 million Series A funding in October 2012 from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Google Ventures. Sidecar operated in Seattle, Los Angeles, Austin, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, New York City and Washington, D.C.. Sidecar closed on December 31, 2015.
He is also active in clean technology non profit projects such as Clean Economy Network, Gigaton Awards and Gigaton Throwdown, Carbon War Room and MapLight.
Issued to Paul in 2002, Sidecar held the US Patent #6356838 which covers a method for accepting a transportation request for passenger pickup, determining location and directing a vehicle to the requested location.
Issued to Paul in 2000, Brightmail held the US Patent #6052709 which covers a system and method and system for controlling delivery of spam email messages.
Prior to moving to San Francisco, CA Paul has lived in Nashville, TN and Washington, D.C..