“Your idea is about 10% of the work, at most. The rest is all about execution.”
There’s no doubt that Priya Iyer knows what it takes to execute. As an entrepreneurial leader and chairman and CEO of Vee24 Inc., an AI-enabled SaaS platform for customer engagement, Iyer drives growth by creating a culture of innovation, building a strong team, and leading with cross-functional expertise.
As such, she has tremendous insights and expertise to offer to Babson entrepreneurs in her new role as an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) at the Blank Center.
“Priya brings together extensive experience in software and the tech industry, a purposeful and strategic leadership philosophy, and an entrepreneurial mindset. She will be an incredible mentor, coach, and resource for all of our entrepreneurs, not to mention those specifically looking to innovate in the tech space,” says Debi Kleiman, executive director of the Blank Center.
Iyer is eager to work with Babson entrepreneurs to think through their ideas and to build a foundation for future success. A critical element for successful execution is the founding team. Iyer makes no secret of the fact that the experience of entrepreneurship can be tough, but the right team can make the experience feel “really rewarding.” Her advice: Just as you would iterate a product, continue to invest in and evolve your team as well. Every time a new team member joins, take a step back to consider the team processes and if they need to adapt.
And, too, the right team can help to guide the organization through challenges and changes. Not only can your team serve as a source of support and a sounding board, but also as your strategic partner. Say, for example, your product isn’t in tune with the market. Iyer turns to the team: “If you have the right team, even if you don’t have the right product-market fit, the team will navigate itself and find the right product-market fit.”
As for being the one to quarterback the team, Iyer encourages entrepreneurs to lead from a broad understanding of all aspects of the business. Iyer has cross-functional knowledge and a wide angle perspective, with a technical background in engineering and computer science. She also earned her MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management, and has experience holding a range of leadership roles in entrepreneurial companies, including CEO of Anaqua Inc. and positions at Autonomy and Agency.com.
And, it’s never too early to think big picture. Iyer encourages all entrepreneurs to find ways they can give back to their communities, no matter what stage of business they are at: “You might think, ‘Hey, I’m really small and I need to show success before I think about giving back.’ I’d like to encourage everyone to think beyond that. Giving back is always part of the agenda.”
What’s next on Iyer’s agenda? Lucky for Babson, it’s her EIR role, starting this fall.
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