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SPARK OF THE CORPORATE

Jayadeep Krishnan popularly known as Jay Krishnan, the Chief Executive Officer of T-Hub - India’s largest startup incubator is a serial entrepreneur who had sailed through successes, acquisitions and failures in the startup world. A go getter, he has gone through well planned exits as well as horrendous disasters. This mastermind of T-Hub has two successful million dollar exits in the US & India in the IoT space. In a society where failure is still considered a taboo, he is very vocal about his failure. He believes it is absolutely okay to keep failing as long as one learn from their mistakes and come back to build a successful company. He says it is important to say ‘Great job! Keep failing!’ so that everyone else gets benefitted.

Jay Krishnan is a senior C- Level Executive with close to two decades of experience with startup and corporate B2B across the globe. He comes with a diverse experience in product management, sales and marketing, engineering and R&D, business operations management for new product initiatives and business strategies for the APAC as well as the North American Markets. He has the expertise of having managed clients from different segments from different countries. He is a thinker - doer, who believes in turning ideas into reality and believes that dreaming big is what drives him.

Corporate life...

Jay Krishnan had been working closely with start-ups even in his corporate life. He started his professional career in 2000 in the telecom space of US. As a platform R&D engineer in Brooktrout Technology, he designed, developed and helped sustain and launch new hardware based platforms to market. He learned a lot about start ups during his five years there. Before wearing the entrepreneurial hat, he spent a few years at Juniper Networks and Cisco Systems spanning Boston, San Jose and Bangalore; architecting, strategising and implementing new product development initiatives for the Enterprise and Service provider space in the telecommunications and networking industry and setting up the strategic business operations PMO at these organizations for the APAC region.

An entrepreneurial enthusiast...

Growing up in an Indian middle class family, he was taught not to take risk. Though he always wanted to be an entrepreneur, he never had the risk appetite. However there was this constant itch to try something entrepreneurial. In 1998, this electrical engineer set up an industrial IoT startup for Electrical Power Transformers in graduate school in partnership with his thesis advisor at the University of Connecticut and got acquired for its intellectual property.

The itch coupled with the Indian ecosystem for entrepreneurship and the much-needed-push from his wife Lakshmi Nambiar, who comes from a business background made him decide to give it a shot. The MBA also opened up new dimensions, horizons and perspectives for him. With the work experience and the academic qualifications he had, he wanted to do something focused on the Indian market.

Jay Krishnan joined hands with two of his friends for an industrial IoT startup called Radifinity Information Systems Pvt Ltd from his alma mater incubation centre - NSRCEL in Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore with offices in Gurgaon and California to help firms manage their assets by using a variety of technology platforms, such as radio frequency identification, smart cards, Global Positioning System and General Packet Radio Service etc. 'Radifinity' stood to indicate “RFID’s infinite possibilities”. The two-year old company was acquired by Aditya Birla Minacs, the business process outsourcing subsidiary of Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd in 2010. Post acquisition, he continued as the Vice President & Head of Business Group responsible for running the P&L, reporting to the CEO, for a year before moving on.

The next venture was an industrial IoT startup that used Edge Intelligence-based sensing & control for smart buildings - a Clean-tech Startup called Wifinity Technologies which provides solutions that enable energy management, physical security and industrial/ manufacturing execution systems focused on providing demand-side management to enable sustainability optimization through energy & water conservation using meshed wireless technologies. However, it did not take off as expected.

Engineer of start ups...

There has been a boom in the number of start-ups coming up in Hyderabad. When the government of Telangana took a big step in mid 2015 towards opening a channel of investment from the world to the state of Telangana promoting the growth and making Hyderabad one of the top ten start-up ecosystems in the world by 2020, an executive recruiter reached out to Jay Krishnan to know if he was interested in the job. Jay was done with his last startup in Bangalore then and was considering moving back to US as the next best step. He found the offer very appealing and thus, T-hub hired this passionate entrepreneur with corporate experience to run it. Since then, he has been part of the mega start-up engine and the brain behind several tech innovations that gets hatched in the T-hub. He has been instrumental in fostering innovation through technology platforms like Sandbox and Playbook to empower entrepreneurs with solutions at every stage of their journey.

During the early days at T-hub, he used to work from a tiny classroom making PowerPoints and dreaming to build something large. The first startup came in in 2016. He has successfully founded numerous products and service companies securing P&L across numerous verticals worth $100M in Start ups and MNCs. Initially, he asked for 18 months’ time to breakeven the project, but did it in just six months. It has introduced business units such as corporate innovation and international relations, and several programs such as T-Bridge, hackathons, virtual membership, India market access program attracting startups from different parts of the world to come to Hyderabad.

The growth...

While the world keep chasing e-commerce, e-commerce is kept out of the way at T-hub because that is an over-crowded space already. He is looking at solving problems of India through Indian solutions. It has chosen health technology, agricultural technology, financial technology, transport and logistics, sustainability and social sector as the key areas from which they would incubate startups. In two years, it has touched the lives of 835 startups, with 117 mentors on board, enabling 32 community and 14 international partnerships, has conducted 13 startup-oriented programs and has seen 57 of its startups raise $33.6 million in funding. There has been a threefold increase in startup activity in Hyderabad with over 30 incubators and co-working spaces since the launch of T-Hub . It has signed pacts with many MNCs like Uber, Microsoft, Facebook, PwC to leverage its expertise, connect Indian startups with global market opportunities and collaborate mentorship programme for startups of the country. Tech start-up incubator will be moving into its new premises, coming up in the heart of the IT hub of Hyderabad this year.

Personal life...

Jay Krishnan is an Electrical Engineering graduate from RV College of Engineering, Bangalore University and a Master's holder from the University of Hartford, Connecticut. He did his executive MBA in General Management from the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore.

A workaholic who sleep for four hours a day is also a diet conscious fitness enthusiast. This avid reader has deep interests in learning about emerging technologies and enjoys traveling. He is married to Lakshmi Nambiar, an investment banker and partner of Anthill Ventures.

Associations and memberships...

Managing Partner of T-Fund, T-Hub’s Accelerator VC Fund

Awards and accolades...

He is the recipient of numerous international awards and publications that include CleanTech Open, ICSPAT, TechConnect, Make a Difference and StartMeUp and Red Herring.

Quotes

There’s no such thing as ‘too many entrepreneurs'. Entrepreneurs are great job creators and seek alternatives to existing jobs. The fact that tons of new entrepreneurs are being birthed every day is an indication of a larger appetite for risk and the arrival of a fearless new brand of young Indians. It’s a great thing to have too many entrepreneurs.
It’s absolutely OK to fail and talk about it. In fact its a good thing to fail and the more you talk about it, the more everybody learns.
It is upto you to decide what you want to do with what is given to you. One can only take the horse to water, the rest is upto you. You gotta drink the water.
Many look at funding as the end-all. Focus on scaling through revenues. Funding is a means to the end and not the end in itself. Focus on innovation, scale and impact. Focus on the value you bring, the problem you solve and the product you build, everything else will follow.
One of the most important things for entrepreneurs is to surround themselves with experienced mentors who understand what they are going through and who can provide the right guidance and support.

Hope readers caught up the spark …

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