We are in conversation with Mr. Neelesh Reddy Lankireddy. An Indo-German Young Leader
Bluebilities: Can you please tell about yourself?
Neelesh: I come from Andhra. I did my schooling there in Andhra and then I did my diploma in electronics from NTTS Bangalore. It’s a special institute in India. That’s how I learned about industry-oriented learning or teaching. I was working as a laboratory test engineer. Then I was working at Intel, I thought some of the things I had to learn or explore and then I did not want to do my graduation in India, so I came to Europe. I started my undergraduate education here in Austria, in IT. So, I did my undergraduate through Munich.At the same time I discovered the system of German education because I was completely exposed to the industries like engineering, because I was working two years during my studies, as an intern working student.
Then soon after completing my undergrad, I was recruited. I got a position here in Berlin with King. Konig is one of the Fortune 100 companies, and soon because I have two and a half years of experience because of my past, during my studies and everything within six months they are promoted to the lead of a design team.
Getting the communication and then getting involved in this role, getting the budget and everything and everything.
During this process, I have just completed my MBA studies. I applied for ESCP Europe, which means it’s not online. It’s completely offline. You need to attend every alternate month. I was one of the youngest ones to be admitted to this program. I was there in five different countries. Each semester is in one country, so I trained in Madrid, in Italy-Torino, London, Berlin, Paris.Ultimately, I could choose one of the BRIC countries that I have to work. I chose Brazil I wanted to see something totally different and went to Brazil. I started in Brazil then I studied at Cornell University in New York, as part of Innovation Grant.
After finishing my MBA, I still had – I was very passionate about entrepreneurship. I think it’s part of my DNA as well, from the family background. I went to Harvard to do entrepreneurship. I went to Harvard Business School and then did entrepreneurship there and then came back. I gave up my corporate career and then jumped completely into the startup board.
Dwelling in the child of startup scene here in Europe, I worked with multiple companies. I was consulting you. I was part of the teams on the startup scene, and then I was part of recruiting building teams. Currently, I’m working for a company called U-Turn Berlin. We patented some sensor technology which are going inside the shoes, and then we analyze biomechanics of human motion. Depending on that, we could easily estimate the way to run.
Bluebilities: So many startup companies. How do you manage to work with the company? There should be some conflicts of interest. How do you manage all that?
Neelesh: Need not be. I started my company when I soon thought I would give up my corporate career. I started as a small consulting company especially in software, but the best thing is the pivotal part of your startup business. You do not feel too pivotal, but you should not pivot too often. Then I focus on the startup to more into AI networks and IoT, and then this is on the same line of interest.
From day one, we have a team I join, I will then explain it. I’m upfront, I said, „this is what I’m working on and this is what I’ve been doing, and this is my company.“ did not manage it directly. My family manages it and then we have a separate team who manages that. These are the things we do here.
Bluebilities: It’s your own company, right?
Neelesh: It’s my own company, yes. It’s listed on my name. I am a passive member of the company. I’m an active member but I do not operate actively on that. There is the other company. Investments is my own investment vehicle where I am the CEO and then I am very active in investing and everything. Then the company knows because I also invest in the same company, in the same vehicle.
Bluebilities: Okay. That’s great. Can you tell us about your startup culture in India?
Interviewee: It’s a fundamental difference in people’s mindsets. I do not know how long you have been here in Europe. I have been in Europe for 11 years now, more than a decade. Then I’ve been to every country in Europe,
Especially the German mindset is very different. If you see the way people spend money, people still use a lot of cash. They are still reluctant to use cards or credit here because it’s purely from the mindset and the demography of Germany itself. Now that is reflected in terms of investment as well. People really do not understand what startup means. They really go for numbers.
I still believe that I am not fully aware of Indian believes. I know what I am doing. I know what I want to do. I know my clientele. I know my investors. That’s it.
Bluebilities: Okay. Can you briefly or just describe the upcoming startup culture? There are so many Indian students here in Germany. Our startup pitch will be held in Heidelberg and Mumbai in July is cross-cultural. What is your idea about it?
Neelesh: I do not know if it’s a positive or negative. Indians are more or less used to just long working hours. Work-life balance is not well-defined in India. If you’re dedicated, you’re in a job, you like it’s your company. All you do in a job is completely different. In that way, indian students or indian mentality fix to the startup scene typically by default.
There’s nothing to be said about that, because I used to be in corporates and I was in startups. In startups you would work for 14 hours a day while in corporate it’s 9-5. You leave and it is fine.
Bluebilities: A lot of companies believe that Indians are good at software and IT.
Neelesh: This is only a belief, there are a lot of stereo types. If you say, Indians are good at math, I have met people who are really bad at math and they are from India. If you say Indians are bad in communication, I have met who are extremely great at communication from India. Stereotypes are long gone, and in this global world I do not believe in stereotypes anymore because when you grow your sample sets, then this thing does not make any sense anymore.
Bluebilities: Okay. Got it. Do you have any feedback or suggestions that would be good for you?
Neelesh: No. The only thing that I would think is the same. People who look for a job, they actually, they open, they do not know what they want. All they want is a job and that should not be the mindset. If you ask any European what they want to do, they’ll just tell you what they want to do in the company. Then they look for the particular role. This kind of exposure is not given. For example, I have seen the same guy applying for a back-end engineer as well as layout designer UI and UX. How to do this guy, by the way, can he apply for two different resumes?This is where the mistrust happens with the resource. Then there’s lots of grooming that needs to be given,
Bluebilities: You’re an investor as well?
Neelesh: I’m more than a social entrepreneur than anybody else. I look for a cause, I need to be satisfied with a product.
Bluebilities: You mean you’re not a technological person? You do not want to focus on technology, which means?
Neelesh: For me tech is a second thing.
Bluebilities: How about if you wanted to bring any social cause here? I see there is 70% of things that take a solution for the social cause.
Neelesh: Yes. This is what I said, the social cause should be solved with the tech. That’s where I connect with, because I have a tech background and then any social cause, I’m in.
Bluebilities: Okay. That’s great.
Neelesh: For example, my own startup in India is focused on making farming profitable. We are personally investing. I’m investing in these products. Again, technology with a cause. Now, it’s in healthcare systems. You know your biomechanics. You understand how your heel strike is, your pronation, your gait analysis. It helps you to avoid your injuries. This is also a bit of health-related.
That’s why I am in as well. Any kind of these kinds of stuff. So, I have an AI-based education system . That’s what I see. I need to have tech. I need to have a cause to it.
We recently concluded the first ever Indo German Startup Competition at the innovative education city of Heidelberg. The pitch up was held live between Mumbai and Heidelberg and saw the participation of more than 50 startups. Visit us at www.bluebilities.com/epc18 to know more. Connect with Gründer-Institut Heidelberg here.