Indian American Niraj Shah and his business partner Steve Conine have been named as the 2018 Cornell Entrepreneurs of the Year, according to the Cornell Chronicle.
Shah and Conine both graduated from the College of Engineering at Cornell in 1995 and will be honored on April 19 and 20 at the celebration of Entrepreneurship at Cornell’s conference in Ithaca.
Shah and Conine co-founded Wayfair in 2002 and rapidly grew the business to become the largest online retailer of home furnishings, housewares and home improvement goods in the U.S. with extensive operations in the U.S. and Europe, employing more than 6,800 people, according to the Cornell Chronicle.
“Steve and Niraj have worked together through many ventures, with Wayfair being the largest to date. It is wonderful to see two founders who literally met at Cornell advance their business and technology interests so productively,” Zach Shulman, the director of Entrepreneurship at Cornell, told the Cornell Chronicle.
Before founding Wayfair, Shah and Conine have partnered in several other successful ventures including Simplify Mobile and Spinners, an IT services firm that they sold to the global technology consulting firm iXL in 1998, according to the Cornell Chronicle.
Shah served as the CEO of Simplify Mobile and Spinners and was also the chief operating officer at iXL.
According to the Cornell Chronicle, he was an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Greylock Partners and is on the board of the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce as well as the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
Conine has served as the chief technology officer of Simplify Mobile and as a top executive of Spinners, according to the Cornell Chronicle.
He was also the COO for the London office of iXL, today he leads the development of the architecture and software systems at Wayfair.
According to Cornell Chronicle, the Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year award is given annually by Entrepreneurship at Cornell to Cornell graduates who exemplify entrepreneurial achievement, community service and high ethical standards.