[Techie Tuesdays] Gaurav Gupta's journey back home from the Valley
Contrary to common belief, that the startup environment nurtures the entrepreneur in a person, technologists and other skill based individuals benefit a lot from the stormy startup environment. Building something from scratch successfully, against the turbulent environment of a startup can be addicting; knowing the mindset of your regular superstar techie, they get a kick out of it. And our Techie Tuesday today proves the point. Gaurav Gupta is director of engineering at Nexus VP funded database technologies startup, ScaleArc.
Gaurav’s story is particularly interesting because he has seen every journey that a startup can provide - success, failure, growth and acquisition. Read on for a little journey into Gaurav’s past.
Gaurav calls himself a small town boy. After completing his BE from Pune, he went on to complete his higher studies from the University of Maryland BC. This was in the mid 2000s, where IT jobs in US were scarce, but luckily for Gaurav, there was a startup that wanted to hire him. “Soon after my post graduation, there were a couple of entrepreneurs, who got in touch with me to work on a location based product. In typical valley style we met at Starbucks and I decided to work with them.” Gaurav was happy about the fact that he got to build something cool, straight out of college, which in retrospect, he thinks was few years early for the time. After pitching aggressively to VCs for 8 to 9 months, the team gave up on the idea.
However, failure didn’t deter Gaurav and soon he was working with another Valley startup, Neopath. “This was a company that worked on File Area Network and virtualization and we worked hard for 5 years.” Neopath was then acquired by Cisco, where Gaurav worked for another two years.
From his decade long career in the Valley, Gaurav holds 3 engineering patents, but when asked about it, he shy’s away and says, "I didn't invent anything."
Always in love with India
Since he went abroad, Gaurav always wanted to come back to India. “The Valley just kept delaying it. Everytime I decided to go back, something new would come up and I stayed on. Finally, I decided to put a stop to it, and came back to work with ScaleArc.” Gaurav describes the growth in India very exciting. “ScaleArc is a homegrown team with a product that really sells itself. The best part is, that there are many startups like this in India and I feel that’s really exciting,” he says.
Celebrate failure - It is the genesis of Innovation
The biggest difference Gaurav sees between the Valley and India, is the way we treat failure. “In India people still have an affinity towards big companies and find it difficult to move away from it. We have very little appetite for risks,” says Gaurav. While hiring for ScaleArc, Gaurav says that a candidate’s resume which shows that they’ve tried and failed at something would catch his eye more that someone else’s resume with the right skill sets. “Failure is the genesis of innovation. It removes fear and free’s the person to try absolutely anything. The taboo of failing has stunted our country’s growth,” said Gaurav.
At ScaleArc, Gaurav lauds his interns for their appetite to grasp and learn new things. “I would be doing a very big disservice to them if I were to advise them to join a big company and let their skills rot. Bright minds like theirs should try new things without being subjected to the taboo of failing.”
Always a techie
When asked about why he isn’t doing a managerial role, despite his experience, he said, “It really depends on what you like to do. I have dabbled with management and even have a degree for it. But enjoy working on technology.” He credits the Valley environment which keeps his interest in technology quipped. “I’ve had the luck of working on such diverse things in a short span of time. I’ve have taken chances on some things, but I have no regrets. I would have regretted it if I had gone through the last ten years without taking those chances.”
Get in touch with Gaurav here.
Learn more about ScaleArc here.