Episode 124 – Featuring Sunil Wadhwani (IGATE & SWAT Capital)

He Was I.T. When I.T. Wasn’t Cool:   How IGATE Founder Sunil Wadhwani’s Gamble of a Lifetime Paid Off, and What’s He’s Doing To Foster Entrepreneurship and Innovation In Western Pennsylvania Today
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OK, regular listeners to The Raja Show…..stop if you’ve heard this before!

A young Indian man with success in his eyes, and hard work and determination in his heart, comes to America in pursuit of the freedom that entrepreneurship can provide.

Upon coming to America, he enrolls in a noted Pittsburgh university to continue his pursuit in one of the most prestigious collegiate programs in the country.

Soon after graduation, he hooks up with a partner to start an IT firm in a small office, in humble beginnings.

He grows that IT firm into a globally-acclaimed company that is among the highest regarded in its industry, propelling him into personal acclaim as one of the top entrepreneurs in the region.

So, we’re talking about this guy, right?

Well….close.   But what if the people in question did it years earlier, during a time when nobody know what I.T. was?

But Sunil Wadhwani did just that.

By founding Mastech (now IGATE), Sunil was a pioneer in what would become a hotbed market for I.T. companies in Western Pennsylvania.   Along with his founding partner, Ashok Trivedi, Sunil grew the company from two people working from an 10′ x 10′ office, to an I.T. juggernaut many thousand employees strong, earning hundreds of millions in revenue in a VERY short amount of time for any industry, let alone an industry that itself could be considered a startup.

But for Sunil and Mastech/IGATE, success was not without its obstacles.  From the company’s early struggles to get customers to buy into its I.T. initiatives, to the substantial hit the company took in its profits when the infamous “dot com bubble” burst in the early 2000′s, the road was not always a smooth one, to say the least.  But thanks to Sunil’s quiet demeanor and steady leadership, the company was able to withstand the slings and arrows and stay ahead of the tech curve en route to massive success on a global scale.

And in April of 2015, for Sunil, it was time to close one chapter of his life, and let another one grow and prosper.  Sunil and Ashok sold IGATE to CapGemini for $4 billion, with the founders walking away with $1 billion in the process.

So Sunil, having achieved the dream he set out to achieve four decades prior, is all set to ride off into the sunset, correct?

Not so fast.  He IS, after all, an entrepreneur.

Sunil and Ashok are in the process of fostering a new generation of innovators and entrepreneurs through their venture capital firm, SWAT Capital.  With a stated goal of finding and investing in eight to ten “Next Big Thing” tech firms per year, they are quickly establishing themselves as kingmakers of the Western Pennsylvania tech scene.   And few, if any, business leaderes are as optimistic about what the region has to offer to the global tech landscape as Sunil Wadhwani.

On Sunday, Raja talks one-on-one with Sunil about his remarkable journey, the lessons he learned about managing hardships and successes along the way, how he stays so humble despite achieving so much, and what he sees as the outlook for the health of the region’s tech sector going forward.  Of the hundreds of entrepreneurs that we’ve talked to on the show, few, if any, “get it” when it comes to how to succeed in business and life, and not lose your head in the process, as Sunil Wadhwani.

(….and be sure to have pen and paper at the ready….you’ll want to take note of every word he says!)

Episode 124