Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey as an entrepreneur.
I was born in Rajasthan but soon moved to the United States with my family. While growing up in North America, my family and I had a deep longing for what we had left behind. So, we relocated to India, and I finished my master’s from Sukhadia University. Very close to graduation, I started building what would eventually become the JVS Group.
The entrepreneurial ecosystem was not as evolved then as it is today. There were barely any venture capital platforms in India, let alone the consultants, coaches, and angel investors. I am not saying that entrepreneurs have it easy today; the evolved ecosystem has lowered barriers to entry for entrepreneurship and paved the way for higher competition.
It would be accurate to assert that back in 2002, being a young post-graduate in India and focusing on entrepreneurship was intimidating. But, that feeling of going against the tide was subdued by focusing on purpose and solving the next set of problems.
So, that is what I did – instead of thinking about how unconventional our ideas were, I focused on solving the problems and understanding the purpose of doing it all. Thankfully, our persistence paid off as we created the right team, expanded in the right markets, and had the privilege of serving a large set of healthcare institutions across the globe while being one of the leaders in the healthcare IT space. So, the journey this far as an entrepreneur has been profoundly humbling and rewarding.
What attracts you towards entrepreneurship instead of a corporate career?
Today I have the luxury of retrospect. I can weave a story of vision and preferences. But 17 years ago, I actively examined my skills and the value I can create with them. Once I was confident, all I needed was a problem worth pursuing.
Yet another tacit driver was the critical gap in the Indian healthcare IT market. Unlike the USA’s comparable market, the Indian healthcare IT market was fragmented and focused mainly on software development services. Technology had taken a puzzling role at the ground level – most of the products were so complex to use that they stood in the way of the everyday medical professional’s tasks instead of simplifying them.
I was moved by the idea that by leveraging the right technology, focusing on customer-centricity, and working on the horizon of innovative solutions, we can solve the ground-level problems systemically. The width of impact we could have had with JVS Group inspired me to just go out there and try it with my whole heart. Fortunately, I was able to work with the right team that helped me bring this vision to life.
In essence, I can say that my focus was on solving a problem with the tools of technology & innovation that I possessed. And before I knew it, I was an entrepreneur.
How do you manage yourself and keep on going despite the challenges?
I push my team to have a balanced life. I ensure that I am giving my 100% to the task at hand – whether it is a vacation or an important decision at work.
As the CEO, I want my teammates to have a symbiotic relationship in their work and personal life. The work must be fulfilling and rewarding. These attributes would spill-over to the individual’s personal life. When personal life is at ease, it will rejuvenate the person to work with renewed energy every morning. This simple to grasp principle has helped us create a healthy work environment that has stood unscathed even to a pandemic.
Besides that, each teammate in the JVS family understands the purpose we are focused on – empowering our customers. When we deliver on our promises, a healthcare professional can do more today than they did yesterday, and life is enriched at the end of it all. This feeling of delivering value pushes all of us at JVS beyond our horizons of developing, delivering, and dreaming.
How did you come up with the name for your business/startup?
Our first product was called SoftClinic – a brand that has become synonymous with applied innovation in the healthcare IT industry. Creating software for the clinic is the idea behind SoftClinic, which is in contrast to a once conventional model of creating clinic software for an offshore corporate client. The same principle resonates in the value system and creation of our portfolio of brands that consists of offerings like SoftCath, CardioHealth, JVS-DiComPlus, OncoSoft, and Advanced Clinical Modules that focus on endocrinology, neurology, Ayurveda, and several other forms of medicine and medical concentrations. We are building technology solutions that have an immediate impact when deployed across the healthcare IT ecosystem.
What difficulties which have you faced or you are facing?
When we were starting, we knew we were catering to a market that existed but was underserved. We were one of the very first product-centric healthcare IT companies in India. And being that early to the market had its costs.
We did not have a tough time delivering our product or locating customers since our thesis about the market gaps was right. But, as we started growing, human capital became a pressing issue. We interviewed people who had the attributes, skills, and drivers aligned for the IT services industry. Our business model, work-culture, and vision were fuelled by innovation and products.
We solved the problem by focusing on the intangible – attitudes, motivations, and work-ethics. We figured out that as far as we hired honest people with great work ethics and a curiosity for learning, we can help them learn more about our modus operandi, the industry, and products. That thumb-rule of focusing on the intangible aspects of human capital instead of narrowing people into their years of experience, educational background, and the number of references has helped us hire and retain some of the industry’s finest stalwarts.
What keeps you going?
The purpose that we serve, the customers we work with, and my teammates who inspire me daily keep me going. I understand that despite the outstanding growth we have witnessed since our first day of operations in 2002, a lot of work is still pending on the industry-scale.
Even though we are not surgeons, doctors, nurses, or emergency responders, we feel deeply embedded in the system and take pride in empowering our colleagues who happen to be the medical professionals across the globe. That helps us stay on track with the smallest of promises we make to ourselves, our teammates, and our customers.
Besides these, every day – when I see my colleagues collaborate, lead, and solve problems, I feel deeply inspired to produce my best work. As the CEO, getting the opportunity to empower and support these driven individuals keeps me going.
Tell me about an accomplishment you are most proud of.
As an entrepreneur, I have the privilege of saying that most of my professional accomplishments are integrated with my personal achievements. As a firm, JVS Group has grown year on year with the feedback, work, and loyalty rewarded to our offerings by the customers, colleagues, and the industry.
Today, the JVS Group products are helping over 30,000 physicians deliver healthcare to over 5 million individuals across 45 countries. The sheer magnitude of that reach inspires me and gives me an immense sense of responsibility & pride.
How many hours a day do you work on average & describe/outline your typical day?
I do not have a very structured approach to scheduling. I start my day very early, exercise, meditate, and then plan how to allocate my time, focus, and energy. Since we have a global presence, it is imperative to let everyone know that someone is always at the helm. So, it is not uncommon for me to take calls in the middle of the night. But, over the years, I have learnt how to build the right centres of response in terms of decision-making freedom so my teammates can diffuse fires, even if I am asleep.
I have also discovered the joy of being a father. Spending time with my eleven-year-old son puts me in a place of balance. I get to learn and teach, unwind and stay alert, detach and attach – all at once. Whenever possible, I try to squeeze a reading hour or two into my schedule. Having a multifaceted team does keep me abreast with developments across the field. Still, I appreciate a quiet hour to ruminate over fascinating works in non-fiction, research, and thought-leadership.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
I believe my strengths are my understanding of technology, the industry, and my teammates. Over the years, I have developed the skill of translating an intangible vision into a tangible goal for customers, industry-incumbents, and people in general. The feedback from my colleagues and customers has been of tremendous help in honing this skill.
As a young entrepreneur, I found it difficult to switch off. I did not compartmentalize work and my personal life since I was emotionally invested in both. With time, the idea of having a symbiotic relationship and giving my absolute best to whatever I do helped me become a well-calibrated individual and professional. I try my best to share the same motives with my teammates.
What advice would you give to someone starting as an aspiring entrepreneur?
Invest in human capital. Over close to two decades of having started and scaled a business, I have learnt that human capital is often the most underutilized asset that produces the maximum value in the long run. Surround yourself with the right team that complements your skillset and empower them with agency, resources, and training, if necessary. Having the right team does not make entrepreneurship easier; it fundamentally changes the dimensions of what you can collectively achieve.
A man who builds a house all by himself over a decade has achieved an incredible feat. But a team, put together, can build an entire city in the same time. Dream big. And build cities.