From superbugs to superhuman technology, VINAY JAYARAM, chief executive and co-founder of Envizage, explains how his engineering degree (with a bit of help from German and economics) led him on a path to challenge the way we look at our future.
Have dinner with your children
“Growing up, in our home, superbugs and bacteria were fairly normal topics to discuss at dinner, but then both my parents are biochemists.
“It was inevitable I ended up studying a degree in biomedical engineering. But while my specialism was engineering my other majors (I studied for four years at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina) were economics and German. They’re not subjects that always sit together but I’m a multi disciplinarian and thrive when I can see both the similarities and differences in things. This inspires me.”
Sometimes the first (job) offer is the best
“I didn’t fall into my first job. I knew I wanted to do something with my engineering degree, but I wasn’t sure exactly what. It happened that engineering graduates were sought after by investment banks and that is why I ended up joining Morgan Stanley. I thought there were worse places I could work.
“I worked in capital markets, which involves raising capital for clients while at the same time watching the markets. It gave me the satisfaction of seeing projects through to fruition Unlike colleagues in mergers & acquisitions (M&A) who might spend six to twelve months working on something that didn’t end up happening, well, we got to see our deals happen.”
When it’s time to go, it’s time to go
“My role took me around the world. At first I was based in the US, then in 2005 I went to Hong Kong and then five years later I came to London and worked in the European side of the business. It was a very panoramic career that gave me the foundation for my next adventure.
“I got to a point where, after 15 years, I knew I needed to leave the industry. I felt I was ready for a new challenge. I left at the best time because I was happy and I saw the industry was about to enter a period of big change and upheaval. I realised that I was in the first 15 years of my career and it was time to plan the next 15 years. I left without a job to go to, but I knew I wanted to use the skills, relationships and experience I had acquired at Morgan Stanley.”
Go with your gut, but talk to your spouse first
“For a while, I used my skills and experience to help smaller and medium sized businesses solve strategic challenges or gain funding. My work at Morgan Stanley gave me credibility and it was fantastic to be able to help companies that might not be considered by the bigger investment banks. It was then that the beginnings of Envizage emerged. In 2014, a former colleague Richard introduced me to a unique piece of software they had designed at Morgan Stanley, and he asked me if I thought it was commercially viable. I realised this software had the potential to help a lot of people.
“Before I got too carried away I spoke to my wife. She works in compliance and looks at things from a rather different angle. She agreed. In fact she said I wasn’t crazy and there was nothing like it out there. So I knew I had found my next adventure.”
It’s not just about the money (though it helps)
After Richard and I bought the intellectual property from Morgan Stanley Envizage was born. Putting our own money into the company gave other investors confidence, but we knew from the start we had a product that could transform lives. That is what is driving me now, to make life just a little bit better for everyone. That’s what Envizage, and myself, are about.”
Envizage is a simulation-based B2B advice and guidance engine that our clients – banks, insurers, pension providers and ODIMs – use to create engaging digital apps for their clients. These apps highlight the value of financial products and solutions in the context of an individual’s or household’s desired future outcomes. Please visit Envizage.me to find out more or try it out.