CxO of the Week: Dr. Venkat Maroju, CEO, SourceTrace

By : |November 14, 2019 0

CxO of the Week: Prior to joining SourceTrace, Dr. Venkat Maroju had founded Factum Ventures, a holding company in India that set up and promoted new business ventures in sustainable agriculture, microfinance and renewable energy. He was also an advisor to venture capital firms investing in social enterprises that supported people at the bottom of the pyramid in developing economies.

Your top priority while making decisions to improve tech infra in your organization?

I want to make sure the technical infrastructure we acquire is the latest one and can last a few years as the IT infrastructure rapidly changes and can easily become obsolete in a short period of time.

Another important consideration is whether technology can scale with our organization as we grow from the current startup mode of working.

Challenges you face in driving digital transformation?

Any change in the organization is a challenge and let alone the digital transformation. Digital transformation has two parts one is to skill the teams on the new technologies and new ways of working. It is some times hard to change the established processes and you encounter resistance from several fronts.

Having strong leadership and educating the benefits of moving to a new state you need to make the employees partners in the journey of transformation to succeed.

Do you feel that freshers in the industry come with only basic knowledge but don’t have right skills to fulfill job requirements? If yes, your suggestion to students and colleges?

No. We at SourceTrace do not think that way. We constantly hire freshers from good colleges in Coimbatore and other top institutions in agriculture management institutions like VAMNICOM. These young minds are hungry for success and we hire the best among the freshers through a rigorous interview process emphasizing more on the top skills and adaptability to various roles. We train them into various technical roles as well as marketing and sales jobs.

I am proud to say that some of the top performers in our organization were hired fresh from college and groomed in our company.

My advice to freshers is to be open-minded and flexible and seize the opportunities come their way. Another important attribute we look for is the attitude to work in the team environment.

What’s your mantra to become successful in life?

Choose a field you are passionate about and put all your efforts in that direction and you will become successful one day, if not today.

Every day in life and business you face situations where you have an option to take the right path which is harder and longer vs a shorter path which is not so righteous. Don’t go for short cuts and compromise on the values you believe in, they will come back and hurt you in the long run.

What would you like to give back to the society?

I was brought up in a very humble environment in a town in the hinterlands of Telangana. I went to government schools until 12th grade and studied in Telugu medium. If there was a rain, there was no school. Starting from there, I earned 4 college degrees from prestigious institutions like Osmania University, IISc, Old Dominion University and MIT.

While growing up, I never thought, in my wildest dreams I would one-day study at world’s number one technical school, MIT. All this was possible because of the public education I received in India and most importantly the affirmative action/reservation I used to get into Osmania University College of Engineering. It was an important breakthrough, and I never looked back after that. I feel deeply indebted to my country and the society that gave an opportunity.

Coming from this humble background, I always wanted to give back and hence maintained a close connection with my roots back in Telangana and which led me to take the active role in Telangana statehood movement starting from the year 2000. Farmer distress was at the core of the Telangana state demand and I learned a lot of farmer distress and the challenges they faced which eventually led me to work in Agriculture Technology start-up leaving my comfortable and lucrative corporate job as CIO of Bose Automotive Division.

I am also actively involved in the anti-caste movement for a long time. I founded the Boston Study Group which is an advocacy organization and we conduct seminars and conferences at MIT, Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Massachusetts to educate and bring awareness on the evil system of caste adversely impacting several hundreds of millions of people in India.

Your favourite book and what are you reading now?

My favourite book is “Annihilation of Caste” by Dr. Ambedkar.

I am reading now “Selfie of Success” by Burra Venkatesham, IAS officer in Telangana and a good friend of mine.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

My family is animal lovers and we have at home, a dog, two cats, one bunny and 6 chickens. Spending time with pets is one of the activities I love and helps unwind myself after a busy day.

Most of the quality spare time is dedicated to activism.

Achievements (Awards & Recognition)

Awards: Agristartup Award, mBillionth Award, Global CEO Award, TiE Achievement Award, App Design Awards 2015 Asia, Top 10 Food Safety Tech Solution Providers.

Old Dominion University Entrepreneur of the Year

Venkat and SourceTrace have been featured on the cover of August 2019 issue of “Food & Beverage Tech Review” magazine.

Experience

Dr. Venkat has over 25 years of experience. His earlier experience with technology leadership includes well known global corporations like Bose, where, as Divisional Information Officer, he led the information systems strategy and implementation. He also held a leadership position at ComauPICO (A subsidiary of Fiat).

Education –  Venkat holds an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management and was a Sloan Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He holds a Ph.D. in Engineering from Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia and Masters in Engineering from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. His Bachelor’s degree is in Engineering, from Osmania University College of Engineering, Hyderabad.

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