JADAVPUR UNIVERSITY EAST COAST ALUMNI (JUECA)
"If you should start, the time is now!"
Mr. Saugata Banerjee, popularly known as Roni, is a Civil Engineering (BCE 1997) graduate from JU. But his career path afterwards has taken him ways from building bridges. Today he owns a company in New York that builds financial software tools for other small and mid-size companies.
Building a successful financial software company coming from Civil Engineering background is not exactly intuitive in terms of career progression. As revealed in course of our conversation, Roni’s interest in computers began at 11th grade when his father bought him a computer. In the mid-nineties having computers at home was not all that common in India. While playing computer games was the most interesting thing one can think of at that age, Roni, instead of limiting himself to just playing games, actually started writing programs to create games. All through his undergrad career he kept on honing his skills in computer programming that earned him a job at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) as consultant upon his graduation in 1997. Following a short stint at TCS he switched to Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTS) which brought him to the US.
After working with several clients in the next few years he saw the opportunity of launching his own company. If you ask him about what took him to start a new venture, he will humbly bypass the stories of his toiling effort saying “I was lucky”. On pressing further he shared his story that unveils a journey of a civil engineering graduate to becoming a IT consultant of top Indian firms to clinching the first deal as an independent consultant. He is candid about the inspiration he draws from the lives of iconic entrepreneurs, such as Steve Jobs. Originally called Medullus Systems, the company he founded later merged with another company to become iSectra. iSectra is now headquartered in NY with another development center in India. What is most impressive, to date Roni is very hands-on with the technical deliverables of his company. Although he has to run the show in boardrooms, client meetings and marketing efforts, he still enjoys writing codes, something he has been passionate about since his high school days.
When asked about his plan and future aspirations, he says he wants to expand his company in the niche area of financial software and then sell it to a bigger financial company. He then wants to focus on mentoring future entrepreneurs. His wanting to become a mentor stems from his own entrepreneurship experience, which has taken him through many rough roads infested with grey areas. By being a mentor, he feels, he can teach and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs. Most of us may not create our own business or a start-up in our career lifetime, but those who aspire to should benefit from Roni’s first advice, “There is no good or bad time. If you should start, the time is now”. Equally important is his second advice, “You will have to be really passionate about your idea; no matter what others say stand by your idea”.
Finally, Roni is not just an accomplished technologist and entrepreneur. This article about him will remain incomplete if we did not mention his musical talent. Roni loves playing guitar and singing, fondness that started when he was barely 17. He has been a regular performer in the Indian gatherings in Westchester County and New Jersey, and many, including myself, will testify that he gets the crowd clapping and dancing in minutes.
It turns out that Roni is an early starter in all quarters of life, and more importantly he can endure tough journeys and has a knack of making things successful in the end. Falling in love with a girl visiting his town from a distant pasture when he was 16, carrying out long distance liaison despite high phone bills and finally, marrying this childhood sweetheart years later say it all. Roni lives in Wappingers Falls with his wife Sharmistha and two sons, Adhrit and Pronit.