Founders Message

Chairman’s Message

Armenia has so many extraordinary people willing to sacrifice themselves to bring benefit to their fellow countrymen.  They harness their personal talent and energy, along with that of their friends and neighbors, to bring new light and hope to the lives of people who would not otherwise receive necessary support and attention. Meeting and witnessing the hospitality of the Armenian people sparked my yearning to give back by establishing The Paros Foundation to help the Armenian people.

This year proved the value of The Paros Foundation and my vision in successfully implementing useful and important projects in Armenia and Artsakh.  I see this as the future direction of The Paros Foundation. Through specific projects the Foundation and its family of donors can help provide value added benefits for Armenia and her people.

When you financially support Paros projects, every dollar you send goes directly to the effort because my family underwrites all of the Foundation’s administrative expenses. Consider partnering with Paros. If your family is already supporting projects in Armenia, you may wish to consider leveraging Paros’  administrative infrastructure to help oversee your project. We would happily partner with you to manage your philanthropic activities.

Thank you for making a difference in the lives of so many people.

Roger Strauch

About The Chairman

Roger Strauch is chairman of The Roda Group, an early stage venture capital group, based in Berkeley, California. Roger co-founded the firm with Dan Miller in 1997. The firm is focused on investment opportunities that address the consequences of climate change, stress on the Earth’s natural resources and the increased demand for low carbon energy. The Roda Group is lead or co-lead investors in: mOasis, which has developed a polymer based soil amendment that increases water and nutrient retention around the roots of plants; Inventys, which has developed a post-combustion CO2 capture technology for power plants; Gridtential Energy, Inc., which has developed an advanced lead acid battery that incorporates semiconductor wafers inside the battery to greatly increase performance in energy storage applications; and Axine Water Technologies, which has developed a low cost and chemical-free solution for treating industrial wastewater.

Roger is an investor in and advisor to PicsArt and SoloLearn – mobile apps developed in Armenia. With over 80 million monthly users, PicsArt is a mobile suite of creative picture editing tools and a community of artistic content creators. SoloLearn is a mobile based code learning application, with over 1 million monthly users, providing programming language courses.

Mr. Strauch is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Cool Systems, the manufacturer of Game Ready, a medical physical therapy system.

The Roda Group was the largest investor in Solazyme, now known as TerraVia (Nasdaq: TVIA), a renewable oil and bioproducts company and the leader in algal biotechnology. The Roda Group led or co-led every round of the company’s financings. In 2011 Solazyme set an industrial biotech funds raising record of $227M when they priced their IPO.

He was CEO and former chairman of Ask Jeeves (now Ask.com) a leading search engine on the web. Mr. Strauch was a board member and former CEO of Symmetricom, now known as Microsemi (Nasdaq: MSCC), a public telecommunications equipment manufacturer. In 1983 he co-founded TCSI Corp., a telecom software company. As TCSI’s chairman and CEO, Mr. Strauch led the company from a start-up to a successful IPO in 1991 and secondary public offering in 1996. Prior to TCSI, he was a communications system engineer and project manager for Hughes Aircraft’s (now Boeing) Space and Communications Group.

Mr. Strauch is Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley. He is a member of the Engineering Dean’s College Advisory Board of University of California at Berkeley. He is the recipient of the 2002 Wheeler Oak Meritorious Award from the University of California at Berkeley. In 2006, Mr. Strauch and his wife Dr. Julie Kulhanjian were named and honored as “Builders of Berkeley”. Mr. Strauch endowed the Roger A. Strauch Chair in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences and co-founded the William Saroyan Endowment for Armenian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Mr. Strauch is an Executive Member of the Board of Trustees of the Berkeley Repertory Theater, winner of the 1997 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Roger was the recipient of the 2010 Helen C. Barber Award from the Board of Trustees for a Trustee who serves the Berkeley Repertory Theatre with unique distinction. With Mr. Miller, he helped establish the the Roda Theater at the Berkeley Repertory Theater and the Ask Jeeves Planetarium at the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, California.

Mr. Strauch is a member of the Madison Council, a philanthropic advisory board to the Librarian of Congress. He is also on the Board of Trustees of the Northside Center for Child Development, a mental health social services agency in Harlem, New York City. In 2013, Roger accepted the Mamie Clark Award in honor of his aunt Dr. Hilde Mosse, one of the first caucasian child psychiatrists to work in Harlem.

Mr. Strauch is the Chairman of the Paros Foundation which supports arts and education organizations in Armenia. Roger co-founded and was an owner of ICON Communications, a broadband ISP in Armenia utilitizing WiMax technology. He is a Life Trustee of the Armenian Assembly of America.

For forty years, Roger has been a licensed amateur radio operator – he holds an extra class license. His current call sign is KD6UO and it was WA1KZE.

Mr. Strauch earned a Bachelor of Science degree, with distinction, from Cornell University and Master of Science degree from Stanford University, both in electrical engineering. He holds two patents in the area of wireless communications.

My Journey as an ABC

It was my privilege to address an audience of close friends and many other active members of the Armenian community at the annual Bay Area Friends of Armenia banquet. I was asked to talk about being an ABC, Armenian By Choice, and our Paros Foundation’s philanthropic work in Armenia. I tried to dig deep and reveal aspects of my personal identity. I hope that you too will think about your own identity and relationship with your Armenian heritage and take that opportunity to reflect upon who we are, what we are doing, and where we are going.

The following is a modestly edited version of my remarks:

Innovate Armenia talk February 2016

My relationship with Armenia started 46 years ago when, as a teenager, I visited Armenia with my brother and parents. It was the height of the Cold War and my father was one of our country’s senior representatives to the Soviet science community. My Dad was Chairman of the Harvard Physics Department. His mission was to seek out the best and brightest experimental physics labs in the Soviet “empire”. Click here to continue reading…