NASSCOM EMERGEOUT Startup 10: Suresh Sambandam, Founder and CEO, OrangeScape
Suresh Sambandam is the founder and CEO of OrangeScape. After an initial entrepreneurial stint of 3 years at the age of 19, he went on to work at Hewlett-Packard. Later, he joined Selectica and rose to senior position, as Director of e-Insurance product division in a short span. The e-Insurance division and its products were later acquired by Accenture. Suresh is a technocrat specializing in product engineering with expertise in software architecture for complex enterprise applications, inference engines, configuration engines, rule-based computing, and enterprise middleware. He has applied for multiple patents. Suresh is passionate about entrepreneurship, technology startups, and spends a significant amount of personal time in the start-up ecosystem in Chennai. Suresh is a member of the National Council of the NASSCOM Emerge Forum and also a core committee member of Product Forum at NASSCOM. He also does mentoring for budding entrepreneurs at the E-Cell of IIT Bombay. Suresh is a regular speaker at various industry forums and academic institutions.
OrangeScape is a Plaform-as-a-Service (PaaS) for building business applications that can run across cloud platforms such as Google App Engine, Microsoft Azure, IBM SmartCloud, Amazon EC2, and the developer’s own data center. Further, applications developed using OrangeScape technology are easily portable to any other cloud in the future, thus making it the only “cross cloud” platform for developing business applications. Also OrangeScape offers standardized application development practices across the cloud platforms that can be delivered in an easy-to-use development environment. In addition, OrangeScape facilitates free trial runs for customers of companies using their platform. Further the service is designed in such a way that development and testing environment at the developer end is not necessary. Development, testing, and staging are provided free and the developer can use this to create a test environment, which can be shown to customers. The developer company effectively begins to pay for OrangeScape services after they realize revenue from their customers.
OrangeScape is a pioneer in this space and is the only Indian company listed in research reports of Gartner and Forrester on PaaS. OrangeScape's patent-pending rule engine-based platform enables ISVs and solution providers to build scalable SaaS and enterprise applications easily and quickly. OrangeScape was showcased as one of the three emerging product companies in India by NASSCOM and was also awarded “Top IT Innovations” for two consecutive years. OrangeScape's technology is being used by global brands like Citigroup, Pfizer, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Fullerton, and 40 others.
Suresh has broken barriers and has shown that Indian startups thinking big is not difficult provided your focus is right and if you have the right people. Here is his piece of wisdom that he gladly shares with Indian Startup NASSCOM EMERGEOUT initiative.
1. Why did you take up entrepreneurship journey?
Suresh: I like this game (entrepreneurship) of combining idea, money, people, and time to create something great and useful that makes things better for people around us.
2. What keeps you going (how and where do you find your motivation levels)?
Suresh: The size and complexity of the problem we are solving and its potential impact for software industry as a whole keeps me going. Every time we show the demo, the prospects go through the jaw dropping “too good to be true” experience. Who would not want to see it again and again …
3. What is your advice to wannabe entrepreneurs in India?
Suresh: I can surely tell that the amount of knowledge one gains by pursuing an idea seriously and stays committed for 3 to 5 years irrespective of whether the company is successful or not will be 10 times higher than peers who are climbing the corporate ladder. So, start early and experience it.
4. What success means to you and your organization?
Suresh: Success of OrangeScape means defining a new narration for India. Not only India is good in IT services we can also make world class technology platforms (not just application products) from this country.
5. What are your learnings from the failures?
Suresh: Founders have to sell at early stages. More true for startups founded by techies who think they don't know sales. Hiring top heavy sales people at early stages is fatal. During later stages, not hiring professional sales people is fatal.
Startups are starved for cash, people, time, free neurons in the mind, basically starved for everything ... So, you can only do one thing right. Pick that thing. It is about putting all eggs in one basket. I know it sounds scary, but that’s the way it is. You better fail fast if that is what is going to happen!
During startup stages get money from an angel investor who is an ex-entrepreneur (successful or otherwise but has gone through all 9 yards of building a company) and willing to be a mentor and spend quality time. Basically smart money is better than just money, and especially this is true at early stages (first 1 to 2 years) for first-time entrepreneurs.
So you heard it from a pioneer who has shown what is possible in the Indian product environment. Being an ecosystem player, Suresh also spends time with entrepreneurs encouraging them and helping them develop the right mindsets.
As part of the Indian startup NASSCOM EMERGEOUT initiative, nine entrepreneurs have shared their views. To know what they are, please visit the links given below.
NASSCOM EMERGEOUT Conclave, Chennai, April 30, 2010
NASSCOM EMERGEOUT conclave comes to Chennai on 30 April 2010. With “Nurturing the IT DNA in India’s growth sectors” as its theme, the conclave focuses on sectors that hold relevance to Chennai such as the automotive sector, in addition to opportunities that exist in the UID space, and workshops on marketing, product design, and many others.
Mr. Bharat Goenka, founder, Tally Software is the keynote speaker. It is a no-brainer right now that if you walk to anyone and ask them to cite you an example of an Indian product, Tally ranks among the top list, and it has been that way for a while. Mr. Goenka is without doubt one of the most prolific icons of the Indian product software industry. Talk to him about product positioning, understanding user behaviour, pricing, marketing and building a brand that is as big as Microsoft in terms of training and development centers, and you are sure to walk away in awe. Would you miss hearing him?
Mr. Lakshmi Narayanan, Vice Chairman, Cognizant, has kindly consented to give the valedictory address. He has been a technology industry leader for over 30 years. As a founding member of Cognizant, he was been responsible for the company’s high-touch customer relationship and delivery excellence model. Under his leadership, Cognizant became the youngest IT services company to reach the $1 billion revenue milestone. To wrap up the conclave, Mr. Lakshmi Narayanan is going to engage in rather inquisitive conversation with Prasanto Roy from CyberMedia. He is also the part of NASSCOM Chairmen Council and under his leadership, some new initiatives in the EMERGE Forum were started.
To find the speaker list, please visit http://bit.ly/dvMYqq.
Please register for the conference here.
–Contributed by Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy, Chief Evangelist, YourStory.