- The Pakistani American, who will need Senate confirmation to assume the position, has previously served on the White House AAPI commission under the Obama administration.
President Joe Biden has nominated Dilawar Syed to be Deputy Administrator of the Small Business Administration. A technology entrepreneur based in California’s Silicon Valley, the Pakistan-born Syed has built and led global organizations in various leadership roles.
“I am deeply humbled, honored, and moved by the President’s nomination of me to help lead the Small Business Administration as the Deputy Administrator,” Syed wrote in a Facebook post. “If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, I will pour my heart and soul into helping entrepreneurs and builders everywhere at this challenging time,” he said. “I know firsthand the grit, hard work, and heart it takes to build a small business — often against tough odds. Thank you friends for all your support, encouragement, and love through the years. Our journeys are more than about ourselves — I hope I have the privilege to serve our President, and entrepreneurs across America.”
Syed immigrated to the United States from Pakistan as a freshman student to attend The College of Wooster in Ohio. He is currently president and CEO at Lumiata, an AI for healthcare company focused on reducing healthcare costs and improving patient outcomes, as per his LinkedIn profile. Previously, Syed was president at Freshworks. He founded the company’s North America business overseeing sales and marketing, customer success, and partnerships. Earlier in his career, Syed oversaw business operations at Yahoo!’s Platform & Infrastructure Division and was a product manager at Siebel Systems.
Throughout his career, Syed has driven civic efforts at the federal, state, and local level focusing on economic growth and entrepreneurship. He is the founding chair of California Entrepreneurship Task Force with the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. In that role, Syed “drives inclusive entrepreneurship bridging coastal regions with the state’s rural heartland,” according to his LinkedIn profile.
He served on President Obama’s White House Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) and chaired the White House Initiative on AAPIs’ Economic Growth Committee. In that role, Syed led the administration’s engagement with small businesses across the U.S. after the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Syed also served as a liaison with the Small Business Administration and the Department of Commerce on federal initiatives such as the President’s Export Council.
Syed was a surrogate in President Obama’s 2012 campaign, and served as a member of Obama for America’s 2008 National Finance Committee. He was a member of then California Attorney General Kamala Harris’ Policy Transition team; and in 2008 served as National Co-Chair of the DNC’s South Asian Leadership Council as an appointee of Gov. Howard Dean.
Syed is the co-founder of the AAPI Victory Fund, the first Super PAC of its kind which focuses on mobilizing Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) eligible voters and moving them to the ballot box.
He holds an M.B.A. from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and earned a B.A. in Economics and Computer Science from The University of Texas at Austin.