How Ajay Leads from the Top?
I started my career with one of the Top 5 IT companies in India. Being good at studies, helped me to get one of the top engineering college of my city. The advantages of studying in top colleges are that they provide campus placements and you get the job even before you finish your studies. So, I got an offer and moved to Hyderabad to pursue my career. Initial 3-4 months I went through the training. During free time I used to play table-tennis, carrom-board. After 4 months I got my first project and relocated to Chennai. It was a small project for 9 months. That was the first time in my life where I used to get official work and was responsible to deliver that on time. I was not up to the mark with my work delivery and was not even enjoying what I was doing. After finishing my Chennai project, I was relocated to Pune for a bigger project carrying a baggage that I was not enjoying my work because I was not liking it. So I figured out different ways to like my work. During the next 2.5 years I got to learn different aspects of the technology I was working, thanks to my lead. I wouldn’t say I had sound knowledge of the system I was working on, but good enough to implement and showcase it at next level. And by the time when I realized that I was not getting the opportunity to showcase what I have acquired in last 3.5 years I decided to switch.
Joining a Small Start-Up “Verinite”
The most obvious reason I joined Verinite is because of that –
I will be given more opportunities, more responsibilities, will be having lot of things to do and I would get a chance of working directly with the true inventors and learning from them. However, joining Verinite wasn’t an easy decision. When I was serving notice period with my previous company I had 2 more offers from top IT companies. So, choosing Verinite which was just 2-year-old company with not even 10 employees was a hard choice to make. My friends had already made up their decision that I was making a wrong decision by joining Verinite and refusing offers from the giants. I always believed in self-belief and can-do spirit which helps me to overcome any adversity. At the same time, you have to take the calculated risk. When you are doing something big, obviously you are scared, but you have to conquer your fear to discover the hidden hero within you. Since Verinite was a startup there was very limited information available about company by that time. But as they say, the good work never gets unnoticed. I had managed to get good reviews about Ashish from one of my lead who had past experience of working with Ashish. So, I decided to join Verinite.
The Initial Months
When I joined Verinite I was the 9th employee. The small team of 9 employees were sitting in an office space of max 26 employees with 1 conference room. It used to look like a small 1 BHK to me. We didn’t have any separate department structure at that time. Ashish himself on boarded me and had a company walkthrough and shared his aspirations with me. The initial few days were just going by understanding the process through project documents. We used to have team lunch on every Friday. I was the first mid-level experience hire for Verinite, so within few weeks I got the opportunity to mentor freshers. I also got the opportunity to work on the different systems which I had not worked in last 3.5 years. In the initial months of being part of Verinite I learned to be frugal. The same guy had to learn how to design, code or write the company blogs along with helping on the business development presentation or the recruitment process. I was happy to be a part of a team that was trying to make other people’s lives easier, more fun, and more manageable. In the startup world, it’s all about creating more and consuming less.
Evolving the Story Since Then Till Now
After spending initial 2-3 month at offshore, I got the opportunity to work at onsite interacting with clients, got a chance to know the people from different geographies, their culture and their technical views and the operating method. I began to adapt with environment and then there was no way looking back. I was now working with different countries in every 6 months. Also got a chance to lead the team and delivered the projects. I was developing as person too. Working in onsite is responsible job which taught me to keep me calm and focus on the critical situations and achieve the ultimate objective. I started my career as a test analyst with Verinite and within 5 years it evolved to Test Lead and the Project Manager. I handled the projects which includes end to end implementation, platform upgrade and platform changes. This gives me chance to understand the complete process and end to end flow. My project team during these years included freshers which I enjoyed working with and at the same time contributing to organization by building a strong base. The only thing which I missed in these 5 years is attending Annual Functions and the chance to meet everyone’s family which was not possible due to my onsite assignments.
With the initial objective of disrupting the market when Verinite was founded, I think after initial 5 years we have achieved that and now it is the time for the sustainability. We have now shown our presence in most of the countries of South East Asia and Middle East. Our relations with clients results into the long term projects and expanding the team sizes as well. The good work we did to our existing clients helped us to get the references for the new ones. Verinite has now became a familiar name in Indian markets and we were able to grab couple of marquee Indian banks in our list. The same set of friends which once had made a remark that I was making a wrong move by joining the startup were now approaching Verinite for interviews. There are few lessons I learned throughout this journey which I would like to mention –
- It’s good to have dreams but it’s always better to have goals
- Do what you like or like what you do
- Have the courage to take the calculated risk at certain point of time in life
- Self-belief, trust, caring and sharing, can do spirit
Where Do We Go From Here?
Currently there are many innovations and changes going on through the financial services industry. This will result in creation of interesting business. Verinite is looking forward to take advantage and play a key role as part of these changes. We are on our toes of disrupting markets, and changing our methods to enable faster market penetration and improving the customer experience.
Our domain-based, end-to-end technology solutions and relationship based approach, have distinguished us from our competitors and we are now taking steps to ensure our long-term sustainability. The intent would now be to deepen each relationship at the same time focusing inroads in other geographies also.
We are also looking forward to streamline and institutionalizing the best practices/processes which will immensely help us as we steer towards most important transition of becoming 100 people company in next 12 months.