Outsourced analytics services has been a popular category, especially in the US-India mode. Jaswinder has built not one, but two of these businesses.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s go to the very beginning of your story. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?
Jaswinder Chadha: I grew up in Punjab, India. My father was in the army, so I was born in the military hospital. My mom was a professor at a university. I spent most of my childhood at the army base because my dad was getting posted all over the country. It was more of a stable base for us to get our education. I graduated from IIT – Delhi and came to the US in 1990 for graduate studies. Then, I ended up going for Ph.D. as well. I went to Texas A&M. That has been my foundation in education before I jumped into the business world.
Sramana Mitra: What did you do right after your Ph.D.? What was the next step?
Jaswinder Chadha: The only job interview I got was for a small healthcare consulting company here in New Jersey. Fortunately or unfortunately, I was their second choice. The first guy wanted too much money, so they hired me. I moved to New Jersey about 20 years ago. I worked for the healthcare consulting company for about five years. I learned the business. I worked with an amazing entrepreneur. He took me under his wing and trained me. I learned a lot from him about how to build a business, how to sell to customers, and how to manage people. That was my first hands-on entrepreneurial training.
As you can imagine, coming from a services background – my dad being in the army and my mom being a teacher – I didn’t really have much of a business training. That ended up being my first major significant training in business. I worked for them for about five years. This was during the dot-com boom around 1999 to 2000. I along with my brother, who had a software background, decided to start a company called marketRx.com. We raised a little bit of money from friends and family. We were not very good at it and we went out of business in the first year. At that point, we had to figure out how to survive, fold-up shop, and get jobs.
At that time, I got some very good advice from someone, “Why don’t you do things that you know compared to running after the dream of building a dot-com company?” We changed the company to marketRx Inc., which was focused on providing sales and marketing analytics for the pharmaceutical industry. We had a good run. The company got acquired in 2007. That was my first entrepreneurial journey.