Vijay Yashwanth-BC: A Passionate Leader turning Ideas to Solutions

Vijay Yashwanth-BC |Shankam Innovations
Vijay Yashwanth | MD | Shankam Innovations

Passion is one of the key emotions that drives entrepreneurs to do what they do. While some are passionate about creating new products, some enjoy the complete process and some are driven by the fact that they are bringing a smile on someone’s face.

Vijay Yashwanth-BC, entrepreneur, data & technology enthusiast, and a proficient business strategist, is passionate about building products that bring a difference in the lives of those who matter.

As the Managing Director of Shankam Innovations, he is focused on promoting wealth creation and making a social impact by optimizing the resources. A product, for instance, saves water in the agriculture industry, increasing the yield by 30%. For Vijay, it is the emotion attached to the product, that of improving the livelihood of the farmer that keeps him motivated.

In this interview, Vijay divulges more about his work, the impact that he wishes to create, and how he sees the future unfolding.

Tell us more about Shankam.

Shankam innovation accelerates businesses using VDI in the ongoing Industry 4.0 From Idea to Solution our Computer vision platform helps to solve real problems and deploy on compute-constrained embedded devices by developing computationally efficient algorithms.

For Software, app, and web development, we work as an agnostic development team that creates functional and well-performing software and products. We use the right technology to put conversations and tasks together and focus on interactive, smooth, and light intuitive solutions that people want to use. For Infrastructure projects, we help in implementing new or additional IT infrastructure or systems, either on-premise or in a cloud. We offer virtualization, relocations, storage, cloud, deployment, backup, upgrades. In delivering Cloud solutions, we work with the best to deliver IaaS and SaaS to our customers. As far as mobile app development is concerned, we are an expert in android development, react native development, progressive web application development, iOS app development.

What is your definition of leadership and how do you make an impact through your leadership qualities?

Leadership is about transforming potential into reality, It’s the ability of one individual to influence others. The influence is exercised to change the behavior of others to achieve a shared goal. I believe in Empathy, which is the ability to understand the thoughts, feelings, or emotions of a person who may be our company client. It is very important to understand what exactly is our client looking in-terms of solution or product, delivery the same which will boost the confidence of the client relationship. Business is not all about making a profit, it’s about understanding what a customer needs and how we can offer the services and product; neither the company nor the customer should end in monetary loss.

How do you lead your company towards sustaining its competency and innovation?

I believe in Innovations, Innovation is the key to build the company. we encourage healthy competition. The diffusion of novel ideas is in itself an important source of innovation when their adoption by other instigates improvements to the initial idea and identifies new applications. Every company needs a vision and leaders purpose ‘why we do what we do’. A strong purpose drives growth and profitability. To create a scalable business, I focussed on understanding how crucial it is to build brand equity and emotional connections with customers. It’s those attachments that link customers to your products and will keep them returning to you. Building a brand is about developing and sustaining those relationships over time. Carrying out regular performance assessments and motivating the team to follow them and improve accordingly.

What were the challenges you came across in your career as a business leader?

A struggle is present in every entrepreneur’s life. Shankam Innovations too had to face many hurdles when it started due to lack of funds, limited engineering resources, conducting product pilot run in different geographies, etc.

However, the biggest hurdle for us was to penetrate the market and reach out to the customers. We all have ideas, but translating those ideas into something tangible -a product or a service- is what separates doers from thinkers. Facebook was not the first social network, the iPhone was not the first smartphone. What differentiates these companies from others is their level of execution, how they took existing products, improved them, and successfully built enterprises around them.

A process that has been highlighted by many entrepreneurs in the history of technology. The agricultural sector in India is disorganized and digital penetration is very less. Reaching out to the customers and explaining the product & value propositions that will solve their problem was a tough task. We partnered with a few non-profit organizations, to reach out to the customers, the Network effect will play a major role in this sector.

As an entrepreneur, what is your opinion on the current landscape of start-up culture in India?

The startup ecosystem in India is booming fast and sees huge growth in the coming years with innovation and technology. The Indian startup ecosystem has scaled to become the 3rd largest start hub in the World followed by the US and China. No doubt the success of consumer internet companies have played and continue to play a big role in that.

Fintech boom – Fintech sector continues to grow in the fast lane. Paytm can easily be called a pioneer in finch as it gave the power of choice and how to spend to people who never had wallets or bank accounts. Following the success of Paytm, many other wallet companies have shown promise Direct-to-consumer market scale-up – Over the last 2 years, India has seen a few dozens of direct-to-consumer brands getting built largely using Facebook and Instagram to get discovered by prospective customers. it will be surprising if this space doesn’t grow 3–4x and it’s a huge opportunity for non-tech entrepreneurs to build reasonably large businesses and brands. Electrified Transportation – The electric mobility sector has been developing away from the limelight. Particularly the battery-driven two-wheeler market is an interesting space growing at a fast pace. For instance, startups like Ather Energy launched their smart e-scooter in Bengaluru last year. The market growth will be led by e-commerce to bring efficiency deliveries using e-vehicles.

‘Voice’ gets louder – As voice interfaces and assistants like Alexa and Google have given consumers a peep into the possibilities in every sector including banking, healthcare, education, etc. it will hit a meaningful scale only once the regional languages are cracked. While there has always been a lot of chatter around regional language content online, it hasn’t really had a big moment yet. Voice will be the platform through which this will happen. Innovate India – The interim budget conveyed the message that India’s youth should constantly innovate to drive the country’s growth. Towards this end, the government has pushed for the use of digital technologies through initiatives such as the National Programme on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the establishment of nine centers of technological excellence.

Infrastructure and Resources: Today we have an estimated 100+ Startup Incubators across the country, mostly housed in academic institutions; this number is likely to cross 300 by 2020 — what this means, is that there will be a startup incubator in every state, city, and town in the country; thereby enabling entrepreneurs to access resources and solve problems in their local areas.

According to you, how important is it to be updated with novel technologies as per your industry sector?

Any emerging technology can be defined as a radically novel and relatively fast-growing technology characterized by a certain degree of coherence persisting over time and with the potential to exert a considerable impact on the socio-economic domains. Getting updated with new technologies helps your brand become more relevant and progressive.

Technology helps you gain a competitive edge over larger companies. Technology helps to streamline and manage the cash flow in a better way. Growth of Novel technologies has now become extremely important involving many new products, industrial collaborations, and academic research groups

How do you strategize on scaling your career and your company in the future?

Smart growth is the key to guaranteeing a solid future for our company. Unfortunately, too many entrepreneurs fail to adequately address the various challenges (and opportunities) associated with building a foundation for repeatable growth, which can eventually cause total failure of the business itself.

Solidifying our Unique Positioning, we have to solidify our positioning and where we fit in the market. If we want to scale, we need to demonstrate our unique value proposition to potential customers. It’s the only way we can lure them away from competitors and establish ourselves. Automation to Share The Load, Many startups fail because the current staff gets spread too thin trying to keep up with customer growth. Even something as basic as automating data input can save your team several hours each week, giving them more time to focus on the big picture aspects of scaling our business.

Get our Existing Customers To Market our Business, always incentivize our current customers to share our brand with special discounts, free service offers, or even an affiliate program. These referrals can bring in new customers who closely match our existing target audience. Better still, it costs far less than an expensive ad campaign, ensuring that growth-related activities don’t crunch our budget.

Maintain Quality And Consistency, One of the biggest problems I see with businesses trying to scale is that, allowing the product quality or customer service to deteriorate to gain new customers.

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