This woman entrepreneur’s startup aims to disrupt the product engineering sector with high-end tech services

Sumana Iyengar is the Co-founder of Goavega, a product engineering and design house that offers product engineering services across cloud, cybersecurity, block chain, and data analytics.
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Sumana Iyengar grew up in Bengaluru in a middle-class family where her father ran a bakery and struggled to make ends meet.

“I was fascinated by my father’s undying spirit to run the bakery despite financial challenges. He has been my role model and continues to inspire me. He instilled the entrepreneurial spirit in me that later led to Goavega,” she recalls.

After completing her bachelor’s in engineering in electronics and communication, Sumana worked in the IT industry in a number of multinational companies before she started Goavega in 2014. She is also the Co-founder of Krimzen, a business management solution for retail dispensaries, wholesale distributors, product processors, and more.

“In 2013, my partners and I thought since we were each good at some aspect of technology, why not build a company of our own. Our strengths lie in product development and management services, and we decided to build Goavega on these,” she says.

Sumana was joined by Sachin Nigam, who is Co-Founder and CTO and set up the technology road map for Goavega, and Mahesh Alayil, the Co-Founder who takes care of delivery management, release management, training and skill development, and has expertise in mobile, social, and cloud computing. The three of them had earlier worked in the same organisation.

Goavega began as a technology consultancy with a handful of clients. The founders soon realised that their specialisation was in product engineering services where they could build world-class products and platforms with innovative solutions and products across domains for customers globally.

The startup provides digital product engineering services, which comprises technology advisory and strategy across cloud, cybersecurity, block chain, data analytics, etc.

These include adoption of devops, microservices, cloud-first, mobile-first and API-first approach, pyramid team structure with expertise in architecture, design, development, and testing and managing product life cycle end to end. The innovative offerings are coupled with agile methodologies, leveraging data using AI and ML, implementing security and privacy by design principles, and immersive experience using AR-VR.

Working in different domains

Goavega targets the global and Indian markets, working closely with SMBs, especially independent software vendors (ISV’s), product companies, startups. Its customers come from different domains such as education, healthcare, agriculture, retail and ecommerce, BFSI, etc.

It works on different revenue models such as Time and Material, Fixed Bid and Hybrid, charging customers for services provided on a monthly or milestone basis.

On Goavega’s solutions and far-reaching effects, Sumana says, “We have saved close to $4.5 million by adopting cloud migration strategy for an e-auctioning company. We have the ability to deliver 15,000+ packages with AI-powered routing mechanism for drivers.“We have completed more than 47,000+ training session, 3,000 + certifications, and 1,10,000+ assessment completions on a e-learning platform and more.”

Currently bootstrapped, Sumana says Goavega has been growing 15-20 percent year on year even though the company faces challenges in terms of hiring, infrastructure, and remote working.

Journeying through the VUCA world

The founder says we are now in the VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) world. “All four elements of VUCA are challenges the general public and we, as a company, are facing in the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Sumana was in New York on a business trip when it became clear that the coronavirus was spreading rapidly and would soon have an impact on people’s lives.

“Luckily, I was able to fly back from the US to India to self-quarantine at home where I’ve been since March. Already at this time, the lifestyle changes our customers had to deal with had an impact on Goavega. The journey through the VUCA world had begun,” she says.

“To reduce the effect of COVID-19 on the company, we gathered information from all functions of our organisation and built contingencies based on the insights derived from the data. Actions taken to ease the impact from this pandemic included forging strategic alliances with organisations that had complementary skills. We also diversified our portfolio to include sectors that may display urgent technology needs,” she adds.

In the future, Sumana wants Goavega to be one of the most trusted partners in the digital product engineering space.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

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