Karthik Balakrishnan

Karthik Balakrishnan

CTO at Coin

 LinkedIn profile

Seniority

5 Years

Hierarchy

Executive

Management Experience

Legitimacy
Feedback
Ownership

My name is Karthik, and I'm currently building an eclectic team of engineers, architects, and policy wonks at A^3 by Airbus (www.airbus-sv.com) in San Jose. Previously, I was CTO of Coin (www.onlycoin.com) a consumer electronics start up based in San Francisco which was acquired by Fitbit in May. Most of my previous experience is in academia, and I have also worked for NASA and The Aerospace Corporation.

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  August 4, 2020
  4:30 PM (GMT)

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Stories

Helping a Good Developer Become a Legitimate Manager
6 December

Karthik decides to pair a green engineering manager with a senior engineer to help him changing his mindset

Legitimacy
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
New Manager
Career Path
Personal growth
EM
Karthik Balakrishnan

Karthik Balakrishnan

CTO at Coin

How to help engineers from larger companies adapt to a startup environment
6 December

An engineer from a larger company was struggling to take ownership. Karthik explains how he managed to make him successful thanks to coaching and good feedback.

Company Culture
Feedback
Ownership
Hiring
Underperformance
Collaboration
Onboarding
Managing Expectations
EM
Karthik Balakrishnan

Karthik Balakrishnan

CTO at Coin

Lessons from hiring an engineer who doesn’t fit the company’s culture
6 December

Karthik reflects on what he could have done better, after having hired a technically excellent engineer who did not fit the company’s culture.

Company Culture
Hiring
Toxic employee
Managing Expectations
EM
Karthik Balakrishnan

Karthik Balakrishnan

CTO at Coin

Experience

Co-Founder

Actual

Dec 2018 - current

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Angel Investor and Startup Advisor

Self

Jan 2017 - current

Angel investor and advisor to startups across several industries including mobile payments, fintech, self-driving automobiles, aviation and aerospace, manufacturing and supply chain, and smart homes.

Venture Partner

Pioneer Fund

Jan 2018 - current

Pioneer Fund is a venture fund that pools capital and expertise from 130+ Y Combinator alumni to make diversified investments in dozens of top YC companies. See current portfolio at https://www.pioneerfund.vc/portfolio

Head of Project, Altiscope

A³ by Airbus

Nov 2016 - Dec 2018

Founded Altiscope (now known as Airbus UTM) to build the future of air traffic control for drones, air taxis, helicopters, and piloted aircraft. As the executive in charge of this project, I recruited a team of experts across a diverse set of fields including public policy, government affairs, engineering, aviation and aerospace, and product. We worked closely with governments, operators, manufacturers, and other stakeholders around the world including in the US, EU, Asia Pacific, and Oceania to drive regulations and system requirements. We also deployed solutions, including becoming an FAA authorized LAANC provider, capable of giving UAS operators approvals to fly commercial missions in controlled airspace. Interested in learning more? Check out www.utmblueprint.com I transitioned Altiscope out of Airbus' Silicon Valley incubator (A^3) into the newly formed Airbus Urban Air Mobility group. The group is now known as Airbus UTM.

CTO and Co-Founder

Coin, Inc.

Sep 2012 - Aug 2016

Acquired by Fitbit and became the foundation for Fitbit Pay. Coin is a universal smart credit card that stores multiple credit, debit, and gift cards.

Ph.D. Candidate

Stanford University

Jan 2009 - Aug 2016

Designed a UV-LED based charge control system, with applications in precision formation flying of spacecraft and detection of gravitational waves. Launched the UV-LED system on a satellite aboard a Dnepr rocket on June 19, 2014. COSPAR ID 2014-033G On leave Spring 2013 through Spring 2016, then returned to finish. I was personally funded by the NDSEG (National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate) Fellowship, sponsored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and administered by the American Society for Engineering Education.

Engineering Intern

The Aerospace Corporation

Jun 2008 - Sep 2009

Guidance Analysis Department

Robotics Academy

NASA Ames Research Center

Jun 2007 - Sep 2007

Laser line scanner for autonomous Lunar exploration

SHARP

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Jun 2004 - Sep 2006

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