September - 2014 - Special issue > Entrepreneur of the Year

Sridhar Pinnapureddy: The Entrepreneur with the Burning Desire

Anamika Sahu
Sunday, October 5, 2014
Anamika Sahu
CtrlS – Asia's largest Tier 4 datacenter – is a name to reckon within the datacenter industry and so is Sridhar Pinnapureddy, the Founder & CEO of CtrlS Datacenter Ltd. Who would believe that a kid who shied away from meeting people grew up to be a fervent speaker in many of the big technology forums and seminars whilst starting nine companies? This is the story of Sridhar Pinnapureddy who aspired to be an entrepreneur since childhood and is credited with founding– CtrlS Datacenters Ltd.

Sridhar's childhood was embedded in an entrepreneurial milieu where he saw his father take his business to new heights each day with efforts and gratitude. Like any other guy, Sridhar too wanted to go to do his MS in US after completing his engineering. But he didn't join the bandwagon. This is where he brushed himself with the truth that he is not made to work under someone but to build an empire of his own. In the final year of his civil engineering, Sridhar had his Eureka moment while working on a summer project. He got fascinated with software technology and founded his first company Pioneer Software along with his friend. "We developed different software packages. What today is called automated technology for automobile is something I developed way back in 1992 for my father's machines and used in his drilling business to automate fuel & auto-check maintenance. After which I developed several supporting and multi-lingual softwares and did networking projects which were still un-discovered those days," says Sridhar. This was his first tryst with success, post which he founded 8 more companies.

Taking Charge of Mistakes
There are few who take charge of their own mistakes. However, Sridhar not only took charge of his mistakes but made them the foundation of his empire. With an ardent urge to be ahead of the curve, Sridhar's every project was much in advance of its time just like automating technology. He incepted his first internet services company way back in 1998 and then moved on to start an ISP solutions company to develop products for ISPs and telecom companies which eventually became market leaders those days.

Witnessing the success of ISP business, Sridhar eventually stepped to infuse life into another out-of-the-box idea and founded a datacenter in the Y2K year which failed drastically. It was quite difficult for people at that point in time to digest the fact that there exists something like datacenter. Cost was another concern that led the business to a halt. The service prices for datacenter in India were around 100 times more than what were in the U.S and UK. But five years later, he noticed the ripe market and the changed dynamics. It was the right time for him to strike back and rule the market with his new organization – CtrlS. "My previous failed datacenter venture taught me that though I knew every aspect of datacenter, but the bandwidth game was what I was missing on. Eventually, I learned the ball game and entered the field once again," says Sridhar.

Today, Sridhar is one of the early thought leaders in the space. However, he had his own catastrophic days where there was a draught of initial capital investment and over & above; he didn't have the guts to channelize the available resources. It was his father who put the oar in his hands by helping him get a loan of Rs.20 lakh from a bank and put his property as mortgage while presenting himself as a guarantor. "My father is an idol I look forward to. I have always found him ready to face challenges. He used to say, 'Entrepreneur is the one who takes risk and helps other earn livelihood'. Without my family's support, I wouldn't have been what I am today," recites a proud Sridhar.

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