Borrowed from SAMPADA old editions – for the 10th Anniversary Special Issue – Interviews section. This one is of SuryaPrakash K, 1988 CSE.
Suryaprakash Konanuru is an entrepreneur and technologist. He is currently the CTO at Ideaspring Captial, a venture investing in startups fostering innovative technologies. Suryaprakash has been part of the Indian Startup eco-system for about 18 years now, as entrepreneur, mentor, advisor and investor. He has track record of working in diverse domains such as Compilers, Network Management, Cable OSS and Health care IT, Education Technology.
Team Sampada: What are your most fond memories of UVCE? What role did UVCE play in your life?
Suryaprakash: Some of my fond memories at UVCE are definitely the Classes of Dr. HNS and Dr. Virupaksha (at Chemistry lab – in spite of the rotten egg smell and fear of titration going awry). Further, our breaks in canteen and Hotel Trupti (once a week), debugging our first FORTRAN program standing 3 feet away from the computer are definitely a part of the collection too. UVCE taught us how we can achieve what we want in spite of odds that stand against you. It taught us how to operate in the best possible manner irrespective of low/no resources. UVCE is like a startup in itself. It gets the best out of you with limited resources.
Team Sampada: What inspired you to start your own business? Tell us more about your company?
Suryaprakash: I am an accidental entrepreneur. After being part of Wipro Infotech R&D for almost 10 years, some of us decided to take a plunge at entrepreneurship (in 1999 start-up word wasn’t well-known, so basically we started a company called Alopa Networks). My main inspiration was to try something new and build products from concepts. Alopa was acquired in 2004 and I continued to work there till 2006. As you all know, start up is like an addiction. Once you have tasted it, it’s not easy to leave it. So, I continued this passion and co-founded a healthcare startup, Yos Technologies in 2006 and funtoot, an education startup in 2010, which are still being run by my co-founders. After experiences of being part of 3 startups, I wanted to move on to an enabler role to work with multiple startups at the same time and therefore to fulfil that desire I took up the role of CTO at Ideaspring Capital, where we fund early stage b2b startups and work with them closely to foster their development.
Team Sampada: What major challenges did you face and since you have seen both sides of the coin (working in a company and working on your own), what are your thoughts?
Suryaprakash: There are no major challenges if you are self-motivated. Actually startups gave me the freedom (with associated responsibility) to build products from concept stage. It allowed me to work on all aspects of product journey viz : product management, development, testing, deployment, support, marketing/pre-sales. Working in startups makes you innovative as you have to maximise output under high resource constraints. One of the major benefits is you can interact with your customers and get direct feedback on how you have done.
Team Sampada: What cue should UVCE take from other organizations in building the startup community within the campus?
Suryaprakash: I strongly feel that we should encourage students of UVCE to join startups and learn in the initial years before starting their own entrepreneurial journey. I recommend this greatly as many of the UVCE students (including parents) may not be financially ready to take the high risk (high reward too) of entrepreneurial journey when they graduate. It takes huge courage and confidence to start your own business and develop it.
– SuryaPrakash K, Sampada-112