Borrowed from SAMPADA old editions – for the 10th Anniversary Special Issue – Interviews section. This one is of Sharjeel Ahmed, 2003 CSE.
Sharjeel Ahmed is the Co-Founder and CTO of Pazo, a B2B SaaS company that has an operational excellence software for retail chains, malls and large facilities. Sharjeel has over 15 years of total experience in the software industry with previous experience working with various multinational companies like Microsoft, Adobe etc. He is a serial entrepreneur having done a lot of work with NFC based products.
Team Sampada: Share some information about your career and how you started your venture with our readers.
Sharjeel: My career took off at a great pace thanks to the Campus Placements at UVCE, it had a big role to play in the way my career was shaped. I was the first person to be placed from our batch and into a software Product company, this helped my career path as being in a product company would mean I got the work with some of the dream companies of the world like Adobe and Microsoft.
With the experience I gained working, looking at their culture, their vision, etc, made it relatively easy to start a product company of my own. While at Microsoft I used my time to read and learn about the various innovations happening in my industry, there I learnt about NFC and realized that it has great potential. This made me quit and startup, as they say, there is never a perfect time to start anything, don’t wait for it, go for it when you feel confident.
Team Sampada: What do you think about the difference between working for a company and starting your own company, since you have seen both sides of the coin?
Sharjeel: There is a sea of difference between working for a company and starting your own, for starters, working for a company would mean that you need to focus on the task at hand only, you have a feature to work on and everything you do revolves around that feature, you are a part of a big jigsaw puzzle and you fit in the missing piece.
Team Sampada: What role did UVCE play in developing skills and facing the issues?
Sharjeel: UVCE played a pivot role in developing skills of students, there was a lot of emphasis on practical applications of the things we learn at UVCE. Practical classes were given utmost importance apart from theoretical concepts. The good part about UVCE is that you have stiff healthy competition from peers as most get their admission purely on merit, this makes you push your barriers further.
Team Sampada: Brief about your startup and what are the major challenges did you face with your startup?
Sharjeel: PAZO is a software platform that helps organizations in managing their daily routine operations in an effective way. It empowers the teams by a better reporting tool which ensures that the right data is communicated to the right individual from the right place and time. In a nutshell it digitizes all the operations that are driven through manual methods of reporting from the front line and back office. We were selected as a part of Techstars, which is one of the biggest accelerators in the world.
Running a startup is a great experience, we tend to face a lot of challenges due to the lack of knowledge on the nuances of running a startup. Initially we were not focused on one thing, we were all over the place. Slowly as we learnt the hard way, focus is key to running a startup, we have limited resources, exhausting them by doing everything stretches ourselves thin thereby not developing our core. As we grew we learnt that team is everything, we always need to put people first. Things like hiring the right people is also a challenge due to the financial limitations.
– Sharjeel Ahmed, Sampada-112