Founder & CEO, Greenlight Technologies
I migrated to the U.S. within a year of graduating from IIM Lucknow (Batch of 1992). I was extremely fortunate to work with some incredibly gifted and talented technologists on the planet at AT&T Bell Labs during my initial years here. Thereafter I did a couple of consulting stints with PW and Andersen Consulting in Financial Services. During the dot-com era, I ventured into entrepreneurship and founded two successful technology start-ups prior to starting Greenlight Technologies. I also completed my MBA program at The Wharton School during this time.
During my second year at Wharton, I did a thesis on “Impact of SOX (the Sarbanes-Oxley Act) on long term shareholder value”. This was very contemporary during those days. During my research with various companies and stakeholders in the compliance process I saw a huge opportunity to introduce automation in the area of risk and compliance management. Majority of compliance and controls activities were largely manual and were based on limited sample testing. I set out with a vision to create a technology platform that will allow companies to detect and prevent compliance violations by monitoring 100% of business transactions across all business applications in real time.
Greenlight Technologies provides software solutions to help organizations quantify risk exposure and vulnerability in dollar terms across various domains—cybersecurity, regulatory reporting, operational risk and access management. Our unique ability to integrate with and correlate data across multiple business applications, coupled with powerful analytics aimed at business users, delivers enterprise visibility of risk exposure and regulatory compliance from a single platform.
While we have evolved as a company to provide increasing business value across various operations, it is this platform that provides a foundation for scalable, sustainable solutions for SOX, as well as regulatory compliance mandates across industries.
Today we are helping over 300 global Fortune2000 customers and their boards comprehend their Cyber Governance posture and take corrective actions regarding cyber risks. We have 14 sales offices across the world, while our engineering offices are at New Jersey, U.S.A. and Pune, India.
I was attracted to entrepreneurship as I believed it gave one the ability to define their own career and destiny, while having complete freedom to create something that helps solve a particular problem. The infectious euphoria of the success of many of my friends during the dot-com era provided the ultimate impetus for me to jump in with both feet.
There's nothing more exciting and challenging than having a vision and then actually building it from the ground up. It's humbling, rewarding and a learning experience to build a team of people who are dedicated, talented and have signed up to make your vision successful. The most gratifying experience is interaction with happy and satisfied customers. Today we are helping some of the top companies in the world deal with the most critical issue of our times – Security, and I am very excited and privileged to be associated with some of the brightest minds to help tackle this problem. Every day is different and this keeps me on my toes and helps me enjoy life by keeping it exciting.
My previous experience at Bell Labs and more so my consulting days helped immensely. Bell Labs had the same environment as a technology start up, but the products were built for internal consumption. Consulting allowed me to be a part of a practice that was built from ground up, both these experiences shaped the company I built. The difference being that earlier the companies funded these initiatives, but as an entrepreneur I was on my own.
The biggest challenge with having your own start up is being directly responsible for strategy, customer success, execution, growth, and making sure that you manage all the financial aspects of the company in time and successfully. I remember making timely payroll in the early days was really nerve-wracking! But by surrounding yourself with the right people - having a capable and trusted team - helps a lot.
The most exciting part of my journey has been interacting with the senior most executives of large companies, domain experts and accomplished investors. It is a humbling experience and I am always awestruck by how approachable some of these personalities are contrary to what one may think based on their profiles.
I vividly remember my first interaction with the CEO of a Fortune 50 company, after the first 5 minutes of our conversation he asked me how he could help me be successful and he was being genuine. He did every single thing he promised me. And they have been our best customer since then.
The biggest lesson I've learnt has been - Listen, listen and listen. Be ready to course correct. Validate your hypothesis every second month by meeting a few employees, customers and partners. Never ever stay away from customers—before, during and most importantly after sales.
My advice to anyone considering taking the plunge into entrepreneurship would be focus on an area that you are passionate about. This means you have to have a deep commitment to the products/services you plan on providing because this is something that draws in the best employees and inspires them to help you move your vision forward.