Independence Personified: Architecting a Dream Run in Software Entrepreneurship
Women cannot code. While this used to be the common refrain, there is one woman who will tell you otherwise. Meet Rani Paruchuri, the woman who consistently walked that extra mile in software entrepreneurship. Managing Director and CEO of DreamTekis Software Private Limited, Madhapur, Hyderabad, Rani is a passionate technologist, motivational speaker, and the pivot of DreamTekis. HerMoneyTalks got chatting with this go-getter as she shared her struggles and savored her successes.
Born in a small village Lakshmipuram in Andhra Pradesh, Rani lost her father when she was 11 years old. But she was not an ordinary village girl like the rest. Educated in Telugu medium till her intermediate level, she dreamt of becoming an independent woman since childhood.
A Graduate in Computer Science in 1992 from Loyola Academy, Hyderabad, Rani is a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from PMI, USA and Sun Certified Java Professional with score of 95% in 1998. She holds a Licentiate in General Insurance from Insurance Institute of India. She is also the winner of Indywood Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award 2018.
Booting up issues for career
Rani’s maternal uncle realized her strong passion in academics and tried hard to secure a computer science graduation seat for me in Hyderabad. This was amidst intense pressure by relatives to get her married so that her mother “got rid of the responsibility”.
Unwilling to give up, I fought hard and was one of the top 5 students of the class.
Fortunately, her mother did not succumb. Rani began her untold story of software entrepreneurship with a twinge of pride and nostalgia. “Within our financial status, securing a seat at Loyola College in Hyderabad was a big deal for my mother during that time. She actually did a wonderful thing for me!”
Life in Hyderabad was challenging. Understanding English and communicating with this foreign language was a Herculean task for Rani, who was educated in Telugu medium. “Unwilling to give up, I fought hard and was one of the top 5 students of the class. I was then offered a job in Loyola Academy as a lab instructor,” gleams Rani.
The secret algorithm to success
Rani dove into software entrepreneurship at the grand age of 21, amazingly, with a baby in her lap. She passed out as a Computer Science Graduate in 1992 and got married early. Rani started her business career by establishing a DTP centre, Mathru Sai Computers, from her living room. Her passion for technology motivated her to experiment with every new gadget that came her way.
“I bought my first computer 80386 system, the ‘latest’ in those times. But now you cannot compare its speed with current systems,” giggles Rani. Soon, she realized her passion was in training people.
I am very strong technologically and still learn new things every day. I have come across some brilliant woman coders who can beat the rest.
Immersing herself in self-learning sessions, Rani vastly improved her knowledge by teaching others. Today she has trained over 1000 people and is an inspiration for all aspiring learners.
“I am very strong technologically and still learn new things every day. I have come across some brilliant woman coders who can beat the rest.” With her supportive husband, Rani still ventures on new paths confidently.
Rani even worked as a project manager at Chakkilam (Cigniti Technologies) Infotech and shifted to Bangalore as she got a new job at Intel. She worked there for over three years before moving to the US for about a year, working from the California Intel office.
Decoding dreams, launching dreams
Rani’s biggest dream was to build a product that she could proudly declare as her baby. “I always wanted to build a company that was exclusively product focussed. So I left my very comfortable Intel job in 2006. Under partnership, I began DreamTekis software in Bangalore.” Her brother Suresh Kumar was her pillar of strength here. Determined, Rani set out on a mission to support all techies who had a similar dream like her.
One day, someone asked her, “all day dreamers will be there in your company, right?” Clearly, she was being underestimated at the very first step of her career in software entrepreneurship. Rani feels that even female investors don’t have confidence in women leaders.
I always wanted to build a company that was exclusively product focussed. So I left my very comfortable Intel job in 2006.
Today, DreamTekis have built the core insurance system, which is the toughest domain in insurance. They have covered all verticals such as life insurance, general insurance, and micro insurance, partnering with all players in insurance. They provide solutions for insurance companies, brokers, and corporate agents.
This power entrepreneur has implemented her solutions in more than 18 countries such as Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Canada. “Today, I am very proud because God has helped me to build not just one product, but more than half a dozen products in the long run. Dreams will definitely come true if you have the willpower to play the game in the right way,” chuckles Rani.
Troubleshooting financial challenges
Out of the blue, Rani makes an alarming disclosure. “When I started DreamTekis, my financial awareness on the scale of 1-10 was just 1.” She was naturally drawn to her fields of interest in software entrepreneurship such as technology, administration, and team management. However, finance was totally a different ball game. She totally neglected it.
Interestingly, she and her cofounders exhausted their personal money in the venture in the first year itself. It was then that Rani understood the importance of managing money, as sourcing funds from friends and relatives demanded higher interest rates. That episode delivered a hard blow to Rani and her co-founders.
I identified people who were exploiting my ignorance in finance. I learnt from my mistakes and became what I am today.
As luck would have it, they began to generate revenues. They then partnered with another company and had to spend over 40 lakhs in 2006 on infrastructure alone. “At one point, the partner company stepped back! We were forced to market our HR products ourselves,” reveals Rani.
As the business’ borrowings crossed lakhs, even her cofounders felt that handling this was beyond their capacity. At this point, Rani chose to step up to the plate. “From the third year of my company, I began to understand more about money management and streamlined our methods. I identified people who were exploiting my ignorance in finance. I learnt from my mistakes and became what I am today.” Gradually, Rani began to completely handle finance all by herself.
A techie-turned-entrepreneur’s message for businesswomen
Rani feels every woman entrepreneur should:
(1) Build a very strong support system at home
(2) Keep learning and improving her skills day by day
(3) Have a proper understanding about every vertical in her company such as technologies used, marketing, finances, and HR
(4) Attend conferences to boost her potential
(5) Network, as it matters the most
“My success tip is that I have promised myself to learn atleast one new lesson a day. This is one of the best things I have done to myself till date,” declares Rani.
Today, this super mommy is accompanied by her elder daughter in business and software entrepreneurship. The circle is complete.
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