He recently sat down with TC to discuss his work for Tapdn, and advice he has for aspiring Tamil entrepreneurs.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself. How did your career begin in the tech industry?
I’d say that my career began with a series of adventurous mishaps that eventually led to a realization that I was meant to be an entrepreneur. Back in the early years of the dot-com era, I was introduced to a tech start-up community by my brother-in-law, Raghav Putrevu, who later founded and is now the CEO of a successful tech company himself, OrangePeople. I remember going for a tour of a start-up he was working in at the time and being so fascinated. The idea that anyone could start a company out of thin air was just surreal to me. Having been raised in California and seen the growth of Silicon Valley, I knew this was an industry I wanted to be in. That being said, in the early days of my career I spearheaded a series of start-ups that failed, but I learned a lot from these experiences which eventually helped me to succeed.
2. Describe your current involvement with Tapdn. What does the company do, what are their goals and what do you do?
Tapdn (pronounced Tapped In), is an IoT company that has grown with the emergence and maturity of the semantic web. We create IoT sensors and software solutions that glean data off of physical environments, to essentially bridge the digital world with the physical world. This data enables our clients to make consequential decisions and our software solutions allow for a truly connected workplace. We sit between B2B (Business-to- Business) and B2C (Business-to-Consumer) services. Our innovative end-to-end workplace efficiency solutions empower clients to make better decisions. Tapdn is committed to providing a more connected workplace by uniting workplace IoT sensors, devices and applications under one platform. Officially, I am the founder and CEO of the company. Apart from my regular duties as CEO, I oversee operations and focus on the company’s overall innovation.
3. Tapdn has recently partnered with CORT, a Berkshire Hathaway company. Tell us about how this partnership came about.
It may seem like an odd pairing but in reality it’s a strategic partnership between an IoT technology company and a well-positioned Berkshire Hathaway company. As Web 3.0 evolves, we believe that our services will change the way our clients and markets operate. CEO Jeff Pederson, and EVP Richard Ritter at CORT, had the foresight to see the value of this partnership. Working with CORT has been a delight for the Tapdn team. Although we are both independently owned companies, we have managed to create a great sub-culture.
4. What is a typical workday like?
A typical workday consists of managing chaos! My day is filled with a balance of putting out fires and connecting the dots; planning, making timely decisions and of course bouncing around airports. I spend a substantial amount of time planning for the future growth of Tapdn. This is only possible due to an amazing team that is constantly executing and creating the best solutions for our clients. I’m blessed to have a great team around me.
We are living in exciting times. We are witnessing massive shifts and disruption around us in a way we haven’t seen before. We see this with Google, Amazon, Apple, Tesla, Lyft, and my personal favorite Airbnb. Companies like these are shifting the way our world and markets operate, making it possible for new services and solutions to emerge. That being said, I spend a good amount of time learning as much as I can on new developments and keeping a vigil eye scanning for trends. Understanding the state and evolution of markets early is key to innovating the right products at the right time.
5. What are some of your future goals?
Tapdn is a promising venture and my goal is to expand its capabilities across industries. Our team and partners have been franticly working hard on an exciting service which is a bit secretive at the moment but stay tuned for the launch later in 2019! On a personal note, I would like to spend more quality time with my loved ones and finally take a vacation!
6. There seems to be a large number of Tamils in North America who are in the entrepreneurial sector. What do you think this trend says about the Tamil community? Any words of advice for budding Tamil entrepreneurs?
When I think about the stereotypical notions of Tamils, and in general South Asians, as it pertains to career choices and defining what success should look like, I realize how far our society has come. Seeing this trend of entrepreneurs really excites me. It shows that as a community, we are embracing the idea of allowing people to think outside the box. I hope that these budding Tamil entrepreneurs start to connect with each other to build a real community that will in turn support the next generation of entrepreneurs.
I don’t think I’m in any place to necessarily give advice, but along the way I have learned some invaluable lessons. To tech entrepreneurs -- if your first product release was imperfect, chances are you launched way too late. Urgency can be a great ally. Learn to innovate fast and keep releasing as often as needed. Just get your product out there. To entrepreneurs more generally -- most ideas are killed even before the seed stage so learn to guard your ideas until you are absolutely ready to share them with the world. The most important piece of advice I can share with all interested entrepreneurs is to stay gritty and keep the faith, it will definitely help you through tough times!
Interested in learning more about Tapdn? Check it out here!