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.
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 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Chairman of the Board of Directors of Cool Systems, the manufacturer of Game Ready, a medical physical therapy system.
- Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley.
- Engineering Dean’s College Advisory Board of University of California at Berkeley.
- Executive Member of the Board of Trustees of the Berkeley Repertory Theater, winner of the 1997 Tony Award
- Madison Council, a philanthropic advisory board to the Librarian of Congress
- Board of Trustees of the Northside Center for Child Development, a mental health social services agency in Harlem, New York City
- Life Trustee of the Armenian Assembly of America