Made in India and delivered globally
For Punita Pandey, the CEO and chairman of netCustomer Inc, being a single woman and an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley has never been a problem and neither has her ethnicity.
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"In fact, as a member of a minority community you sometimes draw greater attention for your achievements which may help in business," says Pandey who set up the IT services company leveraging a global delivery model way back in 1999, during the IT boom. The company received $5 million venture capital funds from the Boston-headquartered Charles River Ventures.
"As an electrical engineering student at BITS, Pilani, too I was one of the few girls in my clbutt and being an entrepreneur in California is no different. I was confident and ready to set up my own company, the timing was perfect," says Pandey who went to the US initially for a master's degree in business Debt Management from the Haas School of Buisness of the University of California at Berkeley.
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Of course, before deciding to go the start-up way she's worked for Deloitte Consulting, McDonnell Douglas, Tandem Computers, TCS and finally Healtheon-WebMD in the US.
"It was my stint at Healtheon for two years in business development and earlier at Deloitte, where I was in charge of their CRM and high end call centre practice, that helped me decide on setting up my company. In fact, it helped me see the vacuum in the high-end outsourcing space even in those days which young companies could address," says Pandey.
netCustomer started with round-the-clock backend operations from a hotel in Ghaziabad and recently opened a new centre in Noida as part of India expansion plans.
"The Noida centre has provision for 1500-2000 people and we plan to scale up in the coming months," says Pandey. In India, she keeps in touch with the BITS, Pilani alumni through their organisation BITSAA. "Last year, I went back to my campus after 20 years for the alumni meet," she says.
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In the US, too, she's in touch with friends from her own batch as well as clbuttmates from Haas. "Since running the company and travel occupies most of my time, the college alumni meets are the best way for networking," she says.
In fact, as an IT entrepreneur in the fast lane, she often needs to mix pleasure with business. "I like to travel and enjoy even business trips. That way you don't have to be away from work but can still take time off," she feels. She also loves living in the West Coast of the US.
"California, where I've always been, is a diverse mix of people and also more conducive to businesses like mine. People there are upbeat about life," she says. Of course, now as the business scales up in India, she will be travelling to Delhi more often on work.
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