This entry is part of our summer blog series on women in the tech sector. We chose women and companies that we find interesting and we asked them about what they’ve learned along the way. Rumy Sen, is CEO and Founder of Entigence Corp. providing solution frameworks and services for enterprise analytics. She developed a SaaS software product called Lyterati that supports higher education administrators and she advises us to resist the temptation to make everyone around you happy.
We asked: What kind of STEM background (if any) do you have?
She said: I have an undergraduate (BS) degree and graduate (MS) degree in Computer Science.
We asked: What advice would you give to woman entrepreneurs?
She said: First, know your numbers. As an entrepreneur, you are working on a shoe-string budget or with someone else’s money. Either way, there is only one reality: the money will run out unless you hit your targets. Plan for every scenario and contingency. Define your financial milestones and trigger decisions accordingly, however difficult those decisions are.
Second, seek and surround yourself with people who will challenge and help you. That is the only way to recognize your strengths, develop your skills, and learn when to ask for help. Entrepreneurs are “solo” flyers which can make criticism hard to take. Overcoming your defenses is made easier when you have excellent mentors.
We asked: What is the hardest lesson you have learned in your career?
She said: As a mother, my natural instinct is to create an environment where everyone around me is happy. As an entrepreneur, the lesson I learned is to dissociate from this need to be in a “group hug”. The business and its interests come first and when the business does well, I can do many good things for the people around me. Conversely, there are times when very difficult decisions have to be made. This unrelenting focus on the bottom line was difficult to develop.
We asked: When deciding to develop the Lyterati software product what was the main problem you were trying to solve? What have you learned from the market since then?
She said: The motivation to develop Lyterati was simple: the valuable work that faculty members do in the areas of research, service, and teaching are buried in full-text or paper documents such as CVs or in subscription-based external databases. As a result, business processes requiring this data are arcane. We set out to create a comprehensive, discipline-agnostic, workflow-based product that a university can use to harness, transactionalize, and consume faculty achievement data in a secure manner for the purposes of assessment and enhancement of institutional reputation. Universities are only recently making the transition to products such as Lyterati. We learned quickly that we were creating a category and a brand, which is challenging.
If this article was of interest to you, then check out some of the other posts in this series.