Prahlad Sarnad, co-founder & CEO, at Digi Verve Technologies tells us about innovation in edTech.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Prahlad Sarnad: Thank you for asking….yes, I and my family is doing fine, and hope everything is perfect from your end.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Digi Verve Technologies.
Prahlad Sarnad: I am ambitious and driven. I thrive on challenges and constantly set goals for myself, so I have something to strive towards. I’m not comfortable with settling, and I’m always looking for an opportunity to do better and achieve greatness. My personal life is nothing less than a roller-coaster. I faced some of the toughest challenges in transition periods from a village boy, agricultural background, and local language education medium to the competitive world of engineers.
Coming back to my career, I have more than 20 years of corporate-industrial experience in Aerospace, Digital (IoT) & EdTech fields with proven entrepreneurial, engineering, teaching & training, thought leadership, and technical leadership skills. After having more than a decade of experience including working at client locations in Canada & the USA, then I made another important decision of my career by shifting to the Digital technology space like the Internet of Things (IoT), Industry 4.0, AR/VR. I am a certified Six Sigma Black Belt professional, data-driven guy with a bit of experience in developing Digital Platforms, Websites, and Apps in the EdTech field. I am currently pursuing MTech (Machine Learning & Data Science) at PES University Bangalore, India.
While working in my previous organization, I have noticed a huge gap between industry expectations and engineering students’ preparedness to take up the industry challenges. This made me think to give back to society in one or the other form! That’s where I started connecting with like-minded folks(my other co-founders) and established Digi Verve Technologies Pvt Ltd with the sole aim of empowering and enhancing the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)/Students/Faculties. So this is how my journey of Start-up DigiVerve started.
How does Digi Verve Technologies innovate?
Prahlad Sarnad: Our company innovates under four paradigms;
- Routine innovation:
- Which builds on a company’s existing technological competences
- Disruptive innovation:
- Through new business model
- Radical innovation:
- Through new technologies
- Architectural innovation:
- Through new technologies and business models.
Thus we have created value for our customers by balancing between technological & business model innovations.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Prahlad Sarnad: Remote education has got the least stickiness index score as per McKensy’s report and there has been a big impact on the formal higher education sector. Based on NASSCOM’s report “Re-Imagining EdTech – The COVID Effect” underlining the importance of virtual education. We have changed our strategy to adapt to this new normal. Towards this with our innovation and diversification from institutional accreditation to virtual institution platforms like My2tion (online web portal & app), we have been able to mitigate some of our business impacts.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?
Prahlad Sarnad: One thing that COVID-19 re-affirmed, “need is the mother of invention”…!right? which forced us to think of alternative solutions for our existing strategies. That’s where our plans A, B, C came in handy…! We were in front of a crossroads…! To choose either sales expansion or product improvement/innovation with a balance. It was a difficult choice to make but we tilted more towards product innovativeness and went behind for some alternative ways for sales due to costumers reprioritization (COVID-19 scenario).
But being a strong follower of Steven Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, we were and we are trying to be pro-active by putting first-things-first with the highest level of synergy to have a Win-Win scenario!
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Prahlad Sarnad: Customer relation management is our prime focus and more so during pandemic times. We continuously keep engage with our customers through virtual tools and conducting awareness webinar programs. With our product innovativeness and enhancements, we are reassuring our customers about the continuity of the business. We have been adding new services and business models including new collaborations in line with our customers’ expectations to meet the ever-changing needs.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Prahlad Sarnad: We have not yet received any government grants, but we are continuously exploring such opportunities to connect with Government initiatives that could help us with potential grants to grow our organization further. However, through our customer engagement, sales positioning, and grants from well-wishers we are progressing linearly. There are several initiatives from National & local Governments like the Start-up India accelerator program, State start-up program from technology hubs, and non-governmental programs where we are trying to participate and pitch-in to show our potential.
Your final thoughts?
Prahlad Sarnad: There will always be challenges in life that allow thinking differently and innovating unique solutions. “Every problem is a gift — without problems, we would not grow.” – Anthony Robbins, motivational speaker, and writer.
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