My Journey as a CEO
I am Sumana Iyengar, Co-Founder and CEO of Goavega. I’m a wife. I’m a mom. I’m a marketer. I’m an entrepreneur. I believe in empowering women to follow their passion. Be bold. Be respectful. Be proud.
I have heard people say that entrepreneurship is built into a person’s DNA. Others argue that it must be learned, my father used to run his own bakery business, but I’ve had to learn — and am still learning — a heck of a lot along the way.
I grew up in Bengaluru, India in a very middle-class family where my father would strive to make both ends meet with his efforts in making the bakery business survive. I was fascinated by my father’s undying spirit to run the bakery despite financial challenges. He has been a role model for me and continues to inspire me even today.
After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering, I worked with many technology companies developing my understanding around core technologies which enable clients to achieve their business objectives. The big change happened in 1996 when I moved to Singapore and lived there for 9 years. This stint tremendously helped me in understanding and adapting to diverse cultures. After moving back to India, I worked in an MNC technology giant and gained experience in client management, people management, risk management, and successfully executing projects which delivered product solutions for customers globally.
5 years ago, my close buddies Sachin Nigam, Mahesh Alayil and I decided to start our own company, Goavega. Goavega is a portmanteau of Goa, one of India’s most happening states with both eastern and western cultural influence and Vega, one of the brightest stars in the space. Just like we combined the two words to create our identity, our vision is to combine the latest technologies, best practices, and global talent to help our customers grow their businesses. We began as a technology consultancy with a handful of clients providing high-end technology consulting and services.
The first couple of years of running Goavega taught me about sacrifice, something most entrepreneurs understand. I gave up spending time out with friends for discussions at home with my partners over coffee, not wanting to spend a penny on anything that wouldn’t help build my company. We worked out of a two-bedroom apartment initially. I made few mistakes throughout the years and learned countless lessons about hiring, dealing with agencies, Vendors, how to make payroll, how to manage cash flows, sales and marketing and everything else. But I pushed on, gained clients and eventually built a debt-free, profitable, 50+ employee organization.
It’s been quite a ride and one that I couldn’t have managed on my own. As times have gotten tougher in this crazy economy, I have grown more and more appreciative of the support network I have around me. I am doing my best to keep morale up by playing the role of cheerleader for my team to make sure they know that they are important and their jobs are secure. Nonetheless, I often liken my recent efforts to build my business to be on a treadmill: Continuously running to remain at the same spot!!
Being a CEO, I have realized that the team is at the tip of the pyramid. With team first, everything is possible. I have learned to build and develop a team which can lead the business with utmost integrity and transparency. At Goavega, we equip our teams with new technical skills, soft skills, and emotional intelligence. The technological inventions have always revolutionized the business world, and people need to adapt to the constant changes and prepare themselves to what comes around the corner. Thinking alongside our customers and understanding their wants and business solutions, we promise to deliver and assure a better experience by offering innovative solutions to their business needs.
We have experienced a drastic change from service-oriented customers to innovation-oriented customers. This gives us immense pleasure in offering innovative solutions and making Goavega a versatile solutions provider. These innovative offerings have benefited our customers who have taken their products to the next level. With our innovative solution providing the expertise we make each product competitive with faster time to market and in a cost-efficient way. We have set our vision and mission keeping our customers in mind. Our day starts and ends with a single-focused thought: how we can digitally transform their business and make them future ready.
That’s the journey I have ahead of me. I plan to share my past struggles and lessons, discuss what I’m learning from my peers and clients, introduce new ideas in technology and management, and talk about client’s relationships and much more. I hope that you will learn from my mistakes and experiences, and I eagerly — if a bit nervously — anticipate the feedback I will get from you along the way.
At Goavega, we think futuristic. Goavega, go future.