Humble by nature, passionate about work, that’s Pramad Jandhyala for you. Co-founder of LatentView Analytics, she drives her passion and her business with energy and emotions.
Pramad takes care of Finance and Human Capital at LatentView. She has over 17 years of experience in the securities market, credit ratings and financial services, all based around data and analytics as in working with corporate finance and credit teams in global. They picked data analytics as an opportunity back in 2006 and that’s when LatentView came into existence. The business environment is fierce and busy and so Pramad believes “one needs to create and sustain an environment of innovation and experimentation.”
She speaks to Ria Das about LatentView, which is now a 500+ member strong team with offices in 3 continents.
The Entrepreneurship Bug: An Early Affair
I had a pretty normal, middle class upbringing. Growing up, there was a lot of focus on education and excellence in whatever we did. I got admitted to good schools, and got to learn alongside and challenge myself against some of the best and brightest talent in India. I did my BE from BITS Pilani and I went on to do my MBA at IIM Calcutta. From there I entered the financial sector where I spent the next 10 years.
My earliest brush with entrepreneurship was during my engineering days at BITS Pilani when a group of us set up and managed the co-op store completely by ourselves.
The Business To Business Opportunity: Why foresight is key, and luck is essential.
Around mid-2005, my co-founders and I spotted an opportunity which was at a very nascent stage. We realized that data analytics was going to change the way companies did business. We also figured that we were best suited to take advantage of this trend and build a business around it.
We provide our customers with actionable insights from digital data, which helps create brands, products and services that engage with consumers, across touch points.
Are business struggles gendered? The challenges that marked the path.
To be honest, I don’t think the struggles were gender specific. The struggles we faced were the same as any other start-up; and we had our fair share. We had to build a support eco-system which is very important and often, an overlooked part of entrepreneurship. The stories and experiences that advisors and other startup entrepreneurs shared willingly in our early days, have helped shape us.
We had to build a support eco-system which is very important and often, an overlooked part of entrepreneurship.
We were in a nascent, hi-tech industry where there were no ‘best practices’ to read about. We had to figure a lot of things out for ourselves, often through trial and error. What worked for us is that we had a great team with complementary skills. And at the core, the team believed in what they were doing and just as importantly, believed they were the best people for the job. We had some very supportive customers who continue to work with us even today.
That feeling, ‘hey I can do this.’ The highs and highs of starting up and sustaining it out.
As humans, we constantly seek inspiration from the outside. Be it from success stories, or for role models, or solutions to problems we encounter, or learnings from other people’s journeys. But finally, the motivation to translate that to action has to come from within. For me, the biggest motivation continues to be the tangible feeling and exhilaration that hey, I can do this, and that I am able to make a difference.
And at the core, the team believed in what they were doing and just as importantly, believed they were the best people for the job.
It definitely helped that our belief in our idea was validated quickly by the market. Clients we worked with came back for more. Sure, you take a knock or two along the way as you grow. But once we figured we were actually making a difference to our clients that just kept us going.
Any particular strengths you think women can bring in work place that perhaps men lack?
Hard to generalize about either gender. But women do bring a great sense of ownership to what they do. Perhaps I would call it a “quiet efficiency”. It’s very powerful, especially when combined with women’s natural strengths such as multitasking, intuition (by which I mean the ability to anticipate issues).
once we figured we were actually making a difference to our clients that just kept us going
Women need to take a step back though at times from this task-orientation, and start looking at the bigger picture, build networks etc. This will help them immensely in their long term career growth.
Size doesn’t matter. Protecting our startup power and delivering world class consultancy is at the core of our work philosophy. I’m sure there are a lot in the list, but any particular achievement story you want to share with us?
I take great pride in the fact that we are helping solve some of the problems that the world’s biggest and finest companies are grappling with.
The other aspect which brings me joy is the culture we’ve been able to build at LatentView. Even when LatentView was young, we told ourselves size doesn’t matter. Large MNCs have excellent policies that can manage growth and scale. We have replicated some of those policies at LatentView. We never ever said we’re too small to be worrying about our team’s career growth, for example. At the same time, we have aggressively protected the flexible environment that start-ups allow.
We have kept systems and processes to a minimum, giving our analysts the room they need to experiment, which is essential for innovation.
We are also a very democratic workplace. Our analysts have had a free hand in designing the work place and have decided on a lot of the policies we follow today. The toughest thing though is for us to work hard to ensure we retain the culture as we grow. I consider this one of ‘our’ most significant achievements.
Being Driven Is Key. Determination, Self-belief, and Getting Things Done.
There is a saying that everyone wants to be successful till they see what it takes. I believe in order to be successful you need to keep your eyes on your goal and not get derailed by small failures. You need to persist.
People who you work with define you. They are the reason one grows and the company grows. At the heart of our story is our team.
In the early days, it was the people I worked with. They were extremely bright and motivated. As we grew to where we are today—one of the largest and fastest growing data analytics firms—it’s still the people and the problems we solve, but also the industry too. It’s fast evolving, dynamic. It’s a very exciting space to be in.
We always wanted to be the most trusted analytics partner, not necessarily the biggest. We have today reached scale, but our focus still remains on the “trusted” part and this influences every decision we make. We want to be trusted not just by our clients but by our employees and society as well.
Women entrepreneurs are a new driving force.
It is great to see women flourish at the workplace. There is a romanticized view about entrepreneurship and success. I think committing to help achieve a dream, irrespective of whether you dreamt it up yourself or not, can be extremely rewarding.