When your focus is on the finish line, challenges appear like minor hiccups- Pavana Jain

21st May 2015
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Technology has been a constant in Pavana’s life. Based out of Silicon Valley, Pavana Jain is the Co-founder of SHIFTMobility, an all-in-one platform for the automotive industry. Their disruptive technology is built from the ground up to simplify information networks for mobility.


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Married to her co-founder, Arvind Jain, she says, “Living in Silicon Valley and not starting up is criminal.” After working in Oracle for 18 years she decided to startup. What got her to startup was the massive opportunity the automotive industry was providing. “While cars are on the move, people who care for them are not. I saw a massive shift underway that would fundamentally reshape current business models and the opportunity was just too big to miss,” she shares.

In the aftermarket automotive sector, SHIFTMobility accelerates products to market for manufacturers, empowers distributors to reach their buyers from anywhere and anytime in seconds, and enable service centers to decrease the repair time per vehicle, which, in turn, helps them to service more cars and spend more time with their customers discussing their vehicle maintenance needs. As a multi-product company, their business model is designed to deliver all their clients the most value from mobile technology and cloud computing and they have several differentiated mobile SaaS offerings and services. The solutions can be tailored to suit the business strategy and revenue goals of each of the stakeholders such as manufacturers, distributors, and service centers.

“With the new W3C standards for connected cars, we are also in a position to rapidly deploy connected car networks with services required for smooth integration with in-vehicle devices, advanced diagnostics, infotainment and enterprise back-end systems,” says Pavana.

Born and brought up in Mysore, she did her schooling from Mysore and her engineering from Mysore University. After her graduation, she worked at a factory automation company, Yokogawa in Bangalore.

She moved to Silicon Valley after her marriage and did her Masters from 1991-1993 from the California State University-Northridge. She had worked for a PhD in Neural networks but never defended it.

In India, she was a sportsperson and has represented India in track and field. She loves kho kho. As a sportsperson, she always has her focus on the finish line, and sees challenges in her way to the finish line as minor hiccups.

While at Oracle she was the founding member of two major initiatives – Oracle Fusion Middleware and Oracle Cloud. She shares, “This was almost like starting but only with all the resources at your disposal. Working with the challenges of moving people to align to a new strategy and making it work globally were great learning that have helped even as an entrepreneur.”

Women in tech are few and Pavana has first-hand experience. “During more than 16 M&As that I was a part of or those that I led, I was the only woman to walk into meetings other than Safra A. Catz.”

What I learnt in a Fortune 500 company is that no matter where you are you have to stand out, that your voice is heard and it comes out now naturally after so many years.

As her venture grows, she plans to help in whatever way she can to see more and more women join the automotive industry and go to tech schools to learn how to fix a car.

Another interesting bit about her entrepreneurial life was the response of the VCs to a husband-wife

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team. The VCs of Silicon Valley had voiced their concern that a husband- wife team will not work. Pavana says, “Contrary to the perception my husband and I work very well together. We know our aim is to grow a business and so we leave our personal relationships at home.”

Pavana draws a lot of inspiration from her mother, an educationist, who for the past 40 years has been running a school for underprivileged children. “I am nowhere close to what my mother has done,” she adds. She recently lost her dad.

As an entrepreneur in the automotive sector, she drives a hybrid and is soon planning to move to an electric car “though not something as expensive as Tesla,” she says.

HerStory spoke with Pavana and here are the excerpts from our rapid fire with her:

HS: Did you think through the detailing before starting up or has it evolved with time?

P: Our vision has not changed from the time we started. We spent a lot of time evaluating both the customer and market needs, how businesses and commerce would evolve with touch devices, the technology depth and the challenges in vertical industry segment we would have to overcome in order to bridge the cloud and mobile computing before building the platform and solutions. As a result, our platform can not only address the current challenges but it is also extensible to the next frontier – the new wave of automotive innovations that are rapidly transforming the automotive industry including hybrid cars, electric cars, hydrogen cars, connected cars, Internet of Things (IoT), mobile-integrated manufacturing, and such.

HS: What do you love about your role as an entrepreneur?

P: I am excited about the freedom to innovate while solving real problems. I love building a company with great culture and learn from a fantastic team around me every day.

HS: And what is it that you don’t like

:-)

P: None. I am enjoying every moment.

HS: What drives you as entrepreneur?

P: Automotive industry is firing on all cylinders and probably more so than any other sector today. In ten years time, our roads, cars, businesses, and drivers will all have a different experience. SHIFTMobility is the player to watch out for along with other technology companies.

HS: What keeps you excited about what you do?

P: My company is amongst those building automotive innovations for the next decade. Making every car owner a happy camper and those servicing them fully mobile is just a start.

HS: Tough moments, challenges and how do you address it? Anything specific?

P: They really bring the best out of you. I thrive on them. The trick is to surround yourself with the best game changers; inventors, investors, advisors, employees, and customers – who all believe in the same vision.

HS: A motto you follow

P: Change is inevitable. Embrace it.

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