Primary Role
Co-founder and CEO @ PandaWhale
California Institute of Technology

Person Details


Adam Rifkin is co-founder and CEO of PandaWhale, an online community of interesting things and people.

He is also co-founder of a 8000-person network of startup founders and engineers called 106 miles, which meets monthly in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, and Southern California.

From 2005 to 2009, Adam spent most of his time as co-founder and CEO of venture-backed startup Renkoo. Renkoo made Facebook and MySpace applications that were enjoyed by more than 36 million people. Adam also worked on an open source real-time Web server project called mod-pubsub with Joyce Park, his Renkoo co-founder.

Adam's career began in the 1990's with over seven years of work at Caltech on a doctoral fellowship, sponsored in part by Microsoft and IBM. His research explored Internet-scale publish/subscribe systems and ancillary Internet-scale Event Notification Services. He left Caltech in 1999 before completing his PhD to found enterprise software company KnowNow with Rohit Khare.

Adam served KnowNow in several roles over five years, including CTO, COO, VP Marketing, and VP Engineering -- wherever the company most needed him at any given time. He left day-to-day operations of KnowNow in mid 2004 and joined CommerceNet, where he served as Director of Open Source Initiatives until early 2005, when he joined Joyce Park in founding Renkoo.

Adam's fifteen years of industry experience include research and development engagements at Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, the Air Force, and NASA-Langley. Adam also worked on consulting assignments for companies such as Canon, Nextel, and Sun, as Founder and Principal of 4K Associates, an alliance of Internet professionals offering strategy consulting to organizations of all sizes.

Adam has authored over 30 publications in distributed & decentralized systems and event-driven architectures, receiving Best Paper awards at the IEEE International Symposium on High Performance Distributed Computing and the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences.

Adam graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.S. in Mathematics and Computer Science from the College of William and Mary; has a pair of Master's degrees (one east coast, one west coast); and was certified as an Engineering Manager from the Caltech Industrial Relations Center in 1995.

Adam's hobbies include blogging, tweeting, letting go, falling down, reflecting, simplifying, breathing, affirming, and connecting.

Experience (4)

  • 74081610b99f61c287d8b263b44f1d2a


    Co-founder and CEO
    Jan 11, 2011
  • F26331da0ba6fe4a3e3cf0172bde1e08


    Non-Hollywood Adam Rifkin
    Aug, 2010
  • D6eac745740be618973af9a36b34c7c7


    Co-founder and CEO
    Mar, 2005 - Sep, 2009
  • 9dbecf9f1838349acaded0d47e163b12


    Co-Founder and Board
    Dec, 1999 - Dec, 2008