Meet Infrasoft Technology co-founder Hanuman Tripathi
If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.
— Old Spanish proverb
MUMBAI: After burning the midnight oil for a year, Hanuman Tripathi was selected for IIM Ahmedabad in 1981. But being the son of a retired government servant, the twenty-year old could not afford the fees.
To support his family in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, Tripathi came to Mumbai and took up a job of a sales executive, still cursing his luck. He used to live in a balcony as a paying guest. A part time job as a sales executive — for Rs 500 a month — and a post graduate course in marketing from Bhavans College kept him occupied.
“I joined HCL in 1983, worked there for 2 years and then joined Nelco. This was the golden period of my life. I used to take more responsibilities than I was assigned to. Thus, I brought more solutions to the table than problems. Trust me; nothing pleases your superiors more than that. I just had to be promoted.” remembers Hanuman Tripathi, co-founder and CEO of Infrasoft Technology.
Tripathi, who was selected just as a territory manager for sales in Nelco, ended up getting 6 promotions in 8 years. When he exited Nelco, he was the national head of sales.
CEOs, Tripathi believes, are more approachable and flexible than immediate superiors. “If you want to make it big, just go ahead and approach CEOs. They will love it,” Tripathi says. “I always went ahead with ideas I had and talked them out with my bosses. Once, I had an interaction with Ratan Tata, in which I found out that top managers are more approachable than immediate superiors.”
1992, riots brought Mumbai to a standstill. Tripathi used the time to think about his future, with his friend G Shekhar, an equity analyst with UTI. Shekhar was an IIM pass out, so Tripathi could connect with him well. Shekhar later became a co-founder of Infrasoft Technology.
“I knew that joint ventures were going to be a big crisis for the top management in telecom, as foreign players will ultimately seize the company. I wanted to start something of my own,” Tripathi says. “The IT industry was still unnoticed and underestimated then. I jumped in.”
But before that, he decided to work in an SME, to understand how small organisations function: “I had to do it, as I had always worked with big companies. But when you start off your own, you are an SME. Thus, I joined Trilogy Softwares, which did automation for banks.”
It is not easy for anyone to work in a small company after handling big portfolios in large companies. It was no different for Tripathi: “I had huge doubts and depression. I decided to hang in and change the situation. After two years, the company had its own marketing and finance department and revenue had grown four times.”
One day in 1995, he sat with three friends in the Juhu Centaur Hotel for 24 hours straight.
“I did not move; kept talking, thinking and writing. When my papers were finished, I used the tissue papers of the hotel. After 24 hours, I was done with the entire business model for Infrasoft,” Tripathi recalls, eyes twinkling.
Tripathi had left his job with Trilogy by that time, thought setting up the company would be a snap. It wasn’t. “We were stuck at finance. For six months, we ran around for money. I had no office, no house of my own and I wanted to create a company. That time, there was no concept of sweat equity either,” he says.
Finally, Infrasoft received the money from B&K Securities, a brokerage.
“Our target audience was set. The banking industry was going into automation mode and even more, private banks were venturing in. Infrasoft developed software for them and as banking got more and more complicated, we developed other complimentary services for them like an anti-money laundering software,” Tripathi says.
Today, Infrasoft has advance-level alliances with Microsoft, IBM and Oracle. It has been ranked among the top 10 core system suppliers for banking by Internal Banking Systems, UK.
Tripathi’s parting shot: “In order to be a successful entrepreneur, share the benefits, not the risks. Work for the organisation, not for yourself. Success will be yours.”