Every Crisis Is a Catalyst for Change

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It’s been tough phase for a company that had aced  big-data delivery to multi-national companies –Mu Sigma. It’s been even tougher for Founder, Chairman, Dhiraj Rajaram, who has now decided to take over as CEO of the company, which he claims to be a profitable unicorn.


Rajaram’s former wife, Ambiga Subramanium, has decided to sell her entire stake in the company to the founder and thereby giving him the full control over the business. The couple had announced their separation earlier this year, which raised speculation around the ownership and investor support of the company.

However, Rajaram refuted those rumours saying that both General Atlantic and Sequoia Capital will continue to be the investors in the company.

Gut Wrenching moments!

Talking about the difficult times as an entrepreneur and at a personal level, Rajaram said that this period was more unfortunate for us on a personal perspective. “When something like this happens, anybody who is a part of the leadership team and also other employees are not going to feel good about it. It was some gut wrenching moments, where we had to stand and speak up and be very honest about everything. Emotions had to be displayed and it was not easy,” Rajaram, a University of Chicago Booth School of Business graduate, said.

“It would be incorrect to say that there has been no impact on the business. There has been an impact on the business as there have been a lot of personal distractions. The impact has been more on the personal side than on the business side. The reality is that we are continuing to grow at about 6-8 customers per quarter,” he said

A “family matter” ?

Post the announcement of separation, several media reports have surfaced regarding the couple’s stake, Ambiga’s future plans and Rajaram reaching out to external investors to buy out her stake in Mu Sigma. The company declined to provide any information on how it bought out Ambiga’s stake, calling it a “family matter.”

Elaborating further about the tough times, Rajaram said that every crisis is a catalyst for change. “It would be a shame if we don’t learn and take advantage of this crisis and use this in a positive way to work harder to what we had dreamt of,” he said.

Driving the data science business

Rajaram agreed to the fact that on a global platform Indian data driven companies are now being taken seriously and Mu Sigma is a “testament” to the same. “A lot of companies are going to try things in this space. People are going to try and do different things and all of this is going to help the cause,”he adds.

Rajaram said that Mu Sigma has broken the myth that analytics and data science is not scalable business and shown that customers can engage in an out-collaboration fashion. “Mu Sigma is not in the cost arbitrage business, it’s in the innovation arbitrage business,” he adds.  Rajaram said that the company is looking at a 20-25 per cent growth per year and wants to make sure that Mu Sigma becomes an exciting destination for young people, who want to become a part of the data science revolution, as 1.6 lakh people apply to the company every year.


(The article was published in the November issue of Entrepreneur Indai Magazine 2016)