Our Team

The NextPlane Team

NextPlane’s core team is made up of successful veterans of the tech world who know a thing or two about life, business and a lot about UC technology. We believe that a close- knit, talented team can do anything with planning and hard work.

We are dedicated to building open, B2B UC collaboration communities. Our team combines technological expertise with deep knowledge of the global UC marketplace and a clear vision of the future.

Farzin ShahidiFarzin Shahidi

Founder and CEO

Farzin, “The Maestro” Shahidi is a successful entrepreneur with over 30 years of experience in the enterprise software and services industry. Farzin has a M.B.A from Drexel University, and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from University of Colorado at Boulder. Farzin enjoys dreaming up creative metaphors and ways to describe complex technology to non-technical people, spending time with his family, practicing Tai Chi Chen, and cultivating Bonsai trees.

Sanjay PujareSanjay Pujare

Founder and CTO

Sanjay, “El Diablo” Pujare is responsible for setting the company’s overall technical direction and product architecture. Sanjay brings over 20 years of experience developing complex applications and enjoys a well-deserved reputation for delivering high quality products in a timely, cost effective manner. Sanjay holds a M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Toronto and a B.S. in Electronics Engineering from IIT Bombay. Sanjay enjoys traveling and outdoor activities and has rekindled his interest in music because of his children.

Nick SearsNick Sears

Senior VP Business Development and Sales

Nick, “Rainmaker” Sears is responsible for global sales and business development strategy at NextPlane, including developing enterprise customers, service providers, and vendor relationships. As a keen SCUBA diver and certified PADI Rescue Diver, Nick spends as much time under the water as time allows. When not getting wet, Nick also plays competitive table tennis to keep him on his toes.

Yogesh RainaYogesh Raina

Vice President SaaS and Engineering Services

Yogesh, “Wizard of Oz” Raina is responsible for managing NextPlane Cloud services, quality control, product management and technical engagements with customers. Yogesh holds a B.E. in Electronics and Communication from Bangalore University. He is interested in soccer, hiking, travel, and sci-fi movies where he finds inspiration for the new products he dreams of creating.

Sarva BellanSarva Bellan

Architect

Sarva, “The Prince of Darkness” Bellan is responsible for the overall architecture of the NextPlane UC Exchange. Sarva holds a B.S. in Electronics and Communication Engineering from CIT/Bharathiar University in Coimbatore, India. In his free time, Sarva enjoys the dark glow of the computer screen, immersing himself in MOOCS and playing online chess.
Silvia RestrelliSilvia Restelli

Senior Principal Software Engineer

Silvia, “Pull a Rabbit” Restelli develops and maintains many of the key components of the NextPlane UC Exchange. Silvia has more than 20 years of experience in software development at all levels ranging from operating systems and device drivers to enterprise software solutions. Silvia graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Milan and landed in the US on a one year assignment….. Twenty years later she is still here and calls California her home. Silvia loves travel, movies, and the outdoors.

Ali KholafaeiAli Kholafaei

QA Lead

Ali, “Octopus” Kholafaei oversees our software development process to ensure the quality of all final products. Ali has an M.S. in Computer Science from the Technical University of Vienna in Vienna, Austria. Ali loves the outdoors and wildlife and spends most of his free time hiking.

Venky TallaVenky Talla

Senior Principal Software Engineer

Venky, “I’ve been there and done that” Talla contributes to the development of the various peripheral components of NextPlane. Venky has over 20 years of software development experience both in leading engineering teams as well as individual contribution. Venky has a M.S. in Computer Science from West Virginia University. Venky loves the outdoors and nature and spends most of his weekends digging in the dirt at his farm near Hyderabad.

Mariana ProdanMarianna Prodan

Product Marketing Manager

Marianna, “Social Media Fairy” Prodan comes to NextPlane with a strong background in Cloud technology and many years of navigating the technology startup scene in Silicon Valley, New York, and London. At NextPlane, she is overseeing all online, social, email marketing and advertising activities. Marianna holds an M.B.A from Cass Business School (formerly City University of London). She enjoys photography, cooking, and exploring the beauty of California with her three young boys and her husband.

Margaret SandsMargaret Sands

Senior Technical and Business Writer

Margaret, “Tina, the Wiry-Haired Tech Writer” Sands is NextPlane’s master story teller. Margaret has over twenty years of experience working in high-tech business and technical environments (primarily software and hardware) designing, writing, and editing technical and marketing communications. Margaret graduated from Mills College and holds an M.A. in Linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley. She loves cooking, writing, playing the piano and hanging out with her moody little Chihuahua, Douglas.

Neil PortneyNeil Portney

Regional Sales Manager

Neil is based in southern Florida and has over 20 years of experience in Computer Telephony Integration in the US as both a Regional Manager and National Sales Manager with products that include enterprise voicemail, speech recognition, attendant consoles and unified communication systems. Neil attended the University of Miami where he majored in Political Science. He likes reading, music, and hanging out with his best friend Buck – a very handsome basset hound.

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