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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

November - 2006 - issue > Career Profile

The Man Who Left Infosys to Found a Public Product Company

Aritra Bhattacharya
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Aritra Bhattacharya
As a child, Deepak Raghavan loved to get away from the city lights, and gaze at the sea of stars overhead. The patterns would fascinate him, and create an eerie camaraderie with his mind. He wondered what and who might be out there. As he grew, responsibilities dawned, and the nocturnal trips ceased.

At 40, Raghavan today is trying to savor the thrills of the erstwhile journey, having enrolled himself in an integrated Masters and PhD program in astronomy at the Georgia State University. It’s not that easy to plunge back into the world of stars though. As founder member of Manhattan Associates, he steered the company’s product roadmap for twelve years.

Presently, Raghavan—the only one among the five founders still continuing with the company—sits on the board of directors, and oversees its broad functioning. The supply chain solutions firm went public in 1998 and raked up revenues of $246.4 million last year.
“We wanted to build a software company,” says Raghavan of the discussions he had with co-founders Alan Dabbiere, Prahalad Suresh, Deepak Rao, and Ponnambalam Mutaiah in 1989.

Alan was working for Kurt Salmon Associates then, and the other four were at Infosys. Raghavan was working on implementing the ERP system for Jockey International in the U.S., as part of the Infosys team. By the end of three years, and all of 23, he had gone on to assume the lead position for Infosys in the project. There was another side to his progress though: he had keenlyatched, and interacted with the customers to find out where their problems lay, and what exactly needed to be done to give them the winning edge. The germs of a new venture, as a result, were already there in his mind.

Despite that, when the talks started of launching a company among the five, he did not plunge into it. “We first wanted to make sure that we liked working with each other,” he says. Only then would the venture last. “End Goals are secondary, especially at the starting point of a company; you need to enjoy building it.”

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