Passionately Persistent: An Interview with Ashay sawalkar

January 22nd, 2015

His small-town upbringing notwithstanding, entrepreneur Ashay Sawalkar’s focus and ambition has him headed for big things. Sawalkar, the son of a Central-government employee father and a doctor mother, began working at the young age of 17 and was the youngest team leader working for the Serco Company Intellenet.

With the aim to get more hands-on business exposure, Sawalkar quit his multinational-company job at the age of 21 and joined a local company as a business analyst. He later joined Amdocs as SME for level-two support in order to get to know how global practices work. Having gathered valuable knowledge and work experience, Sawalkar has now applied it to start his own venture.

Sawalkar has founded the start-up Pasistence, an IT services provider designed to facilitate complex business solutions. Pasistence offers its clients high quality products at an affordable cost, as well as unique designs from talented developers. The services offered include web development, software development, creative design and content management solutions and they work with clients from the beginning until the end – hand holding them through stages of development, concept, design, incorporation and implementation.

In the extremely competitive IT and ITES industry, it takes a novel approach to stand out in the crowd of multitude of other service providers, but Pasistence has a unique edge. The team is very skilled at developing solutions in modern programming languages and they have a quick development progress and a pre-built code library. They have already covered PCMC’s largest co-operative bank, the Seva Vikas Bank Co-Op Ltd. and are currently covering a mobile/DTH recharging ecommerce platform for Itel. They have also got the contract for developing the portal of the Indian Cancer Organization, which will help connect body organ donors with recipients. The new projects are coming in fast, mostly from clients in areas of ecommerce in Pune.

Pasistence’s goals are very simple – to grow as a profitable consulting firm by adding value to the people they work with, and they do this by working persistently and passionately. With five awards under their belt, they are already on the way to dominating in their industry.

We spoke to Ashay Sawalkar to find out what drives him, his experiences in the business and his goals for the future.

Q. What is the story behind the name of your company?

Our overall process includes concept, design, development, incorporation and implementation. Before christening the company, I wanted to have a clear vision for the company’s future which can motivate people and build ground for managing business throughout the lifespan. I always knew that persistent business procedures are required to be ideal, managed and time bound for reliable and sustainable growth and hence the employees of any company play a major role in delivering its goods or services. Our philosophy is ‘Passion drives, Persistence delivers’ – and that’s how Pasistence was born, marrying the two main forces I believe in, passion and persistence.

Q. Who is your greatest role model and why?

I admire many great leaders; however the person who has influenced me the most is American business magnate and philanthropist, John D. Rockefeller. He was a genius who started as an oil field worker and revolutionised the oil industry by co-founding the dominant Standard Oil Companies. He illuminated American homes through his kerosene supply. Later he laid pipelines to transport oil to distant locations and introduced gas into Ford’s cars. His dreams and imagination had no limits. His passion and self-belief are traits that inspire me the most. I aspire to be an entrepreneur like Rockefeller.

Q. In your opinion, what are the three most important traits of a businessman?

I believe passion is important for driving you and persistence for delivery in adverse conditions. I will call this benchmark as ‘Pasist’ quality. Second, in my opinion, would be clarity of thought. A confused businessman is a confused businessman, period! And third, management – to manage work after clarity of thoughts or simply managing his work-health balance, is important for a businessman.

Q. What are the biggest challenges that entrepreneurs face today?

There are many like laziness, lack of technical experience and management skills to motivation and so on. But the most important aspect is funding. Nobody is going to fund you without a viable business plan and if you are an average and aspiring entrepreneur – you will only learn to make a business plan after doing business. So it is like a catch-22 situation!

Q. Is the important to have a top notch B-school or institute’s degree to set up a business?

No. One of my favourite reality shows is The Pitch which is aired on Bloomberg TV. Mahesh Murthy is a much respected angel, entrepreneur and speaker said in a part of the series that flaunting college degrees won’t help but reality will. I don’t think anything is more important for a businessman than a balance sheet in black and white.

Q. Can entrepreneurship be taught in B-schools?

Well, firstly, one needs funds to study in top B-schools. But having said that, I believe in possibilities and if someone can create environments and challenges faced by entrepreneurs in realityand make this course an option at a serious Bschool, then why not?

Q. Do you think today’s economy is conducive for starting a new venture?

Zee group founder, Dr. Subash Chnadra telecasted the Zee network from foreign satellite in India and we all know that it wasn’t exactly legal in that era. Today, Essel Group’s Zee network is one of the biggest tele-network groups in the world. Now, I have no financial support from any investor but if you look promising, some kind of demand and supply of scarce resource is always available to be packed and served as a product or service. If you are willing to sniff out market demands and embrace opportunities, you might fall into high returns with respect to risk exposure.

Q. What are your future plans for the business?

We are in touch with angels and are looking out for funds to take this model on the national level. We are also targeting the android market and have received three projects from January 2015. We will then target other mobile app markets. In the software division, we have launched our management software after a year-long preparation which will connect homeopathic services to Pune and Mumbai through the online medium. This platform would be launched by 27 January 2015. We have also completed the final phase of ‘oneanswer’ – our management software which helps users to manage SLA’s and TAT’s in escalation matrix views efficiently in business. This will target the operation-focused companies. We wish Ashay a huge success for Pasistence and for all his future endeavours