While there is a part of me that leans towards money making/dog-eat-dog business, another part of me is inclined to be a non-profit leader. After leaving Akron, I soon met, Scott Beale, Founder of Washington DC based non-profit Atlas Corps he was a leader of UN peace corps and he founded this non-profit in 2006 to bring world leaders in non-profits together to foster 21st century innovation in social sector. I joined their Selection Board Committee and started interviewing leaders from Nigeria, Afghanistan, Germany, Austria, India, Indonesia, USA, Ghana. Talking to these leaders has completely changed my life. Sometime I feel that being in a developed country I am far away from vast reality of the world and wonder how I can use my skills and knowledge to create something where it can be a difference between life and death, prosperity versus poverty, and enthusiasm/confidence versus hatred/division.
I am passionate about bringing groundbreaking therapies to market to treat diseases which were untreatable earlier.
Currently, as a Strategy and Licensing Officer at UMass Medical School, technology commercialization, entrepreneurship, and strategy consulting are three key areas of my practice. I worked with a team of other officers to negotiate a partnership deal of$25M within just first 2 quarters. Our clinicians and scientist are working on treatments that are changing landscape of Boston and San Francisco Biotech industry.
While I was juggling my part-time jobs, I met a dynamic woman, Nicole, who was leading a non-profit in the area of Art and culture for socio-economic development of the Akron. When I talked to her about areas of my interest and her work in the field of entrepreneurship, I was impressed and wanted to learn as much as possible from her. After a couple of meetings, she invited me to join her board and soon I started attending board meetings, helping out with agenda, reviewing financial budgeting, providing my perspective to help in strategic direction of the non-profit organization. This was when I learned a great deal about non-profit board governance. Unfortunately, I had to move for my job and couldn’t continue my board service. I am well connected to Nicole. She mentors me to fuel my interest in non-profits.
Previously, I worked as a venture capital analyst where I was doing search-evaluation and investment due-diligence. During this time, I talked to executives driven to solve problems in energy, technology, agriculture, food, transportation, materials, and medical. My teams’ analyses helped deploy capital of $100,000 in 4 start ups with returns of >500% on 1 company and others are still developing further.
Before this, also while I was doing my Ph.D. at the University of Akron. I spearheaded commercialization of the technology by building a business model, getting mentors on board, and laying the foundation of a startup company. We kept on developing technology with our focus on viable business model and solving our customer’s problems. Soon enough the ecosystem started taking notice and the company raised $500,000 in non-dilutive funding. This led us to get on board an experienced CEO who has been leading the company since then and grown to 5 employees.
During my Ph.D., I would visit trauma centers to meet surgeons, patients to understand what it was like to manage infected diabetic foot ulcers. I shadowed nurses while they changed dressings. Heard patient stories firsthand which greatly fueled my passion for creating a medical device that would slow down the progression of wounds and reduce amputations by about 600%.
My Father worked for Indian Railways in Telecommunications dept. His humility and dedication to serving people/railways customers instilled a sense of owning the work in my adulthood. My mom, on the other hand, would connect me with people who succeeded in the field of education, arts, medicine, and that taught me that if I didn’t know how to do something and wanted to do it badly then I can reach out to those who have done it and done it well. I had always followed my sister in all schools and that’s how I ended up in UDCT. My sister taught me the important of humility, family, and spreading love/joy wherever you go.
Dr. Prakash Bhate, former head of dept. Dyestuff Technology acted as my mentor during my bachelors and Ph.D. His work ethic and approach to solving problems made us unique and instilled confidence. He also invited various folks form industry and company founders to have an informal chat with us to boost our confidence and to give us guidance for next steps.
Amongst Friends notable are Aditya Iyer, Aakruti Mehta, Priya Talmale, and others who all together gave a sense of belonging to a group, sometimes made it difficult to succeed academically but taught a lesson to help succeed in life later.
The decision to come to USA for further education while focusing on passion for entrepreneurship
Determination to excel at ICT
I left India to seek global education and expose myself to broader entrepreneur community and of course make money. Initial days as would be for others were difficult. I did go through issues in personal life that percolated until first 2 years which greatly affected my experience.
I decided to continue being a business professional despite a degree in engineering. The reason was I would make a better business professional than a scientist, and it made sense to do what I was good at. That fuels my passion.
In the future, I plan to lead a business in area that will transform how world approaches healthcare innovation. I want to meet people who are in general interested in inspiring others to achieve greater heights and join forces with them to create something for India where despite improving education the quality of life and mindset often hinders the growth.
The world is going in all sorts of directions with heavy influence on technology, education, and healthcare. India needs young talent to fix and build our country’s infrastructure and growth to set an example for others in the world.
Find what you are hungry for and foster your hunger. At one point, someone told me to ‘Learn how to Learn’. This phrase has changed meanings at different points of time in my life and whenever I hit a roadblock I go back to it.
My advice is, to find a phrase like this that will inspire you.