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Devanarayanan G Nair
Devanarayanan G Nair

Devanarayanan G Nair

CEO

Alignminds Technologies

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Devanarayanan G Nair is a member of:

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Brief about company, offerings and foundation of the company
I would like to describe AlignMinds as a knowledge engineering company, since I believe after eras of data processing and information technology, we are moving towards engineering technology addressing the next level, knowledge.AlignMinds is a hybrid between a pure product company and a services company. Our internal product engineering team indulges in developing company’s own products while the outsourcing arm focuses on delivering software development outsourcing services.We have two products in the market, a healthcare appointment scheduling system called EatherWay for physicians, clinics and hospitals. We have a couple of big hospitals and a number of doctors actively using this system right now. We brought innovation to the conventional web based scheduling by adding IVR and SMS booking options.
Another product is an economic food ordering app for restaurants. Restaurants can save costs by using our platform Apprikot and release their own custom apps to the market to attract more customers and send updates to their regular customers.The company was founded in 2009 as private limited company.
My role at different dimensions as the company evolved
I like this question. The one piece of thought that started AlignMinds has been cut into different sizes and shapes and now they are inside each of my team members. Initially I did several roles myself. However, as I my team grew I delegated responsibilities and focused on my core competencies. The learning was tremendous and despite all the uncertainties and challenges, I cherish every bit of our journey until this moment.
Way of choosing my people
The environment that you provide to people decides a great deal about how they would function at the workplace. However, when we choose people we look at two traits – a ‘can do attitude’ and passion for technology.  I believe rest everything depends on the people and the place.
Experience of reaching out to potential investors
I haven’t focusing too much on external investment so far. I want to seek investors when we are absolutely sure that we have a scalable client base and have a winning business model as far as our products are concerned. This is going to be a major objective for this financial year.
Risks involved in business and way of addressing
As far as the services sector is concerned, any fluctuations in the economic weather of our target markets are always a risk. To address this, we try to be careful by keeping a steady liquidity status. Also, we set several short term plans, to capitalize on the existing marketing conditions in short time spans, and plan our human resource expansion and marketing spending based on that.
Most critical decision
Our beginning was as a product start-up. Within six months we went live in market. The product was widely appreciated, but the sales were not high as per expectations. Our funds dried up and investors didn’t want to help. I decided stop the sales altogether, disperse the entire sales team and their manager and focus on something that would generate immediate revenues. It was a very painful decision. But I didn’t want AlignMinds to just go into oblivion as another failed start-up. We took up some software projects from other companies and slowly, things started getting better.
Some of the difficulties faced while building product/ solution
Our first product was built for the healthcare sector, with doctors and patients as the primary stakeholders. We had a difficulty in making a precise product definition since there were an awful lot of views and feedback was to be considered. We found there is a lack of uniformity in the way the processes work across different hospitals and doctors. Also, we had difficulty in identifying the correct business model.
Three big lessons/ mistakes encountered while building company
1.The element of naivety when you start your entrepreneurship journey for the first time. I did not want to see obstacles and was a little over optimistic.2.I did not identify the correct business model for the product.3.I had a relatively inexperienced team in the beginning which slowed down execution.
The challenges and lessons learnt to get first customer
As I mentioned, your first customer is someone you will remember forever. I adopted a very honest approach with our first customer. I told him openly that we are in our infancy and where our strengths and shortcoming lie. He chose us just because of that. And I learnt that if you make the customer feel as an insider (not just for sharing your problems), you have all the chances of transforming that into a strong and successful long term relationship.
Unique about my way of motivating troops
I insist on three things at AlignMinds: Transparency, Sense of Equality and Mutual Respect. I am ardent believer in the Agile principle of self organizing teams with minimum top down control. I motivate people by giving them responsibilities and freedom. And I am happy with the results I have always been seeing.
Different actions if I rebuild my company from scratch all over again
In my personal experience, the first client invoice is a very crucial motivational factor for a start up. And the less you have to wait for that, the greater your level of confidence and the team. In my case, I had to wait a long time before I actually start seeing sales and cash flow, whether from products or services. So, if there is a next time, I would like to plan things in and a way that the waiting period as short as possible.Also, I would be more careful about choosing my initial team – I think I could have done better at that.
Motivation and Drives factor
Happiness of our stakeholders – it genuinely makes me happy. By stakeholders, I mean each member of my team, each one of our clients and then all the others who are associated with Alignminds in someway or the other.I enjoy the freedom entrepreneurship provides me to act based on the values I believe in.The thought that a name – AlignMinds – that struck me three years ago without knowing  any ‘what’ or ‘how’ is now being represented by thirty five people, and is a growing entity on its own.
As a leader how I make sure that I am connecting the right dots
Again, by being honest with my stakeholders. For me, a right decision in a given context is one for which you have considered all the different point of views.  At Alignminds, we follow a collective decision making process; people are encouraged to present their views and we do a lot of brainstorming and analysis. Thus teams are made responsible for the success or failure of a decision.Another thing that we preach is situation leadership. Regardless of the position or experience, if a team member is thought to be the best person to address a particular issue, we encourage them to take charge of the situation and lead.Hence, we make sure everyone gets an ounce of leadership at Alignminds.
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