Hi All, I am pleased to introduce and interview Manjula Sridhar, a high energy entrepreneur. She is co-founder and Chief Technology officer of Aujas Networks, a pure-play digital security services company. Manjula co-founded Aujas Networks in February 2008, after a decade of experience in the telecom industry and several awards to her credit. Prior to founding Aujas, Manjula served as "Entrepreneur-in-Residence" at IDG Ventures India, a US$150 Million early-stage technology venture capital fund backed by IDG, the world’s largest IT-focused media company.
Question: We have heard of entrepreneurs – you started as an entrepreneur in residence. Can you please tell us the differences and similarities between these two?
Answer: I actually started as an entrepreneur and moved into the entrepreneur residence role. "Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR)" is a fuzzy role depending on the VC firm and the context of activity itself. In my case it was for creating Aujas. In that sense, the EIR model here was unique. Given the quick succession from Entrepreneur to EIR, I would say the difference was the funding guarantee. The other struggles of entrepreneur, in terms of building the team, the product and reaching out to customers, completely exists.
Question: When you started on your entrepreneurial journey what were your dreams and aspirations?
Answer: My basic motivation was to utilize my potential completely and build a cutting edge technology company.
Question: What is your vision today regarding the future of Aujas?
Answer: We want Aujas to be the largest pure play security company in India.
Question: You have managed to successfully interest a VC company to fund you. Can you share some insights into how this happened? What do you think made you pass the ‘VC test?’
Answer: I think it was the space itself which is quite niche, but ultimately the money came in because of the Excellent team that came on board. Cliched, but VCs still fund teams rather than ideas.
Question: If you look back on the last few years, what are your key memories related to starting your business?
Answer: Lot of anxiety in dealing with uncertainty and excitement that comes from exploring unknown territories.
Question: If you could retrace your steps, would you have done something different or differently?
Answer: Lot of things. But the key aspect would be getting a business person on team pretty quickly.
Question: Any other thoughts / insights you would like to share with our readers.
Answer: Persistence pays off in the end, but it is also important to be flexible in the context of set course.
For more of Manjula’s entrepreneurial journey please do check out her blog post: http://www.ventureintelligence.in/blog/2008/05/birth-of-aujas-networks-by-manjula.html