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December - 2015 - Special issue > Entrepreneur of the Year: 2015

C.S. Sunder Raju: Avid Business Tycoon Solving True Societal Issues

si Team
Monday, December 28, 2015
si Team
"Indians are intrinsically entrepreneurs. Born in a country, where a simple phone call doesn't bring everything to our doorsteps, we have acclimatized to a nimble lifestyle, where we can fix everything for ourselves," presenting an interesting perception is C.S. Sunder Raju, Managing Director, ACT (Atria Convergence Technologies). He feels that aspiring entrepreneurs must get rid of the herd mentality and flesh out original sustainable ideas with hard work, instead of demanding funds for half-made me-too ideas. "An idea will die as an idea, unless you have the passion to stay on course in the face of adversity. Most people quit just before the turn shows light," says Sunder. Today standing atop as the leader of high-end internet space, ebbs and flows are what have defined Sunder's journey.

Sunder's Journey
In 1981, Sunder established Sunray Computers, India's first Unix-based company, immediately after graduating from University of California. Though his family denizing in construction business didn't force him to seek a job, there was a huge resistance for entering into an untried domain. The well-received cutting-edge company scored ahalf-a-crore rupees project of building training simulator for nuclear plants. But 90s engulfed the company in darkness, since license raj'made imports a nightmare. Straddling through highs and lows, Sunder constantly re-oriented himself to adapt with emerging technologies and concocted numerous successful projects.

Being a philanthropist who also donates his time as the Secretary of Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association, Sunder spent his weekends for government schools, donating kits and training teachers for adopting tennis. Commiserating with these multi-grade-single-teacher schools, he endeavoured to support them by bringing additional teachers through NGO systems and delivering interactive curriculum through cable television. Striving to solve this underlying social problem in 2002 is what gave birth to his version 2.0 - ACT. The company that helped to shape how India uses internet didn't have a great start as the market wasn't ready. Thanks to his business genes, he stayed the course and sustained the company until the mobile explosion in 2008. "Creating wealth and distributing it (even it's just a rapid trickle down) is the best way to serve the society," says Sunder.

Not one to rest on accolades, with unquenchable thirst he is zealously cooking up a disruptive thermal technology that will substitute the expensive batteries with thermal power that would be available round-the-clock, unlike windmills or solar. "If you are passionate about something, be it introducing technology, solving societal problems or keeping your body healthy, 14 hours a day is more than enough," asserts Sunder. He feels that one must understand their weakness and complement it with people, who have that as their strength, just as he has cemented his foible - procrastination, by surrounding himself with well-organized people. On the flip side, Sunder has a gift for painting a broad brushed canvas, i.e., envisioning a generic model that would solve a problem by integrating the right technology at right space.

Sunder finds Elon Musk inspiring, as Elon has valiantly opened up new markets and solved real problems. This street food aficionado spends half a Sunday on the tennis court. Sunder loves to explore new places like Switzerland, where nature is bountiful, though he never gets bored of the energy of San Francisco & Hong Kong, no matter how many times he visits.

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