Wednesday, May 29, 2024



Focus on customers, narrow the priorities, and communicate with the team. These points are essential to remember when building companies. – Shyamal Kumar, Founder & CEO

Lavelle Networks, based in Bangalore, Mumbai, and Delhi, is a leader in the networking software market. It offers enterprise network-as-a-service platforms for connecting distributed enterprises to their business applications.

The brain behind the idea, Shyamal Kumar, Founder & CEO, has led several platforms spanning data center, enterprise, and service provider networks. He is passionate about embracing SDN and cloud technologies to bring simplicity and performance to data networks. Apart from him, the leadership team has years of experience in building products.

The co-founders are all technology professionals from software development, quality assurance, product management, and product marketing backgrounds. Karthik Madhava, co-founder & CTO, with experience in network applications, storage, and API-driven infrastructure. Drritiman Bohra, co-founder & COO, has been in data communication leaders like Lucent, Motorola, aJuniper Networks.Randhir Bhattacharjee, Co-founder & Chief Product Architect, is one of the finest software technology experts, with experience in Hughes, Cisco, Juniper, and Microsoft product lines.


Shyamal and his team have brought to market SD-WAN products. The fastest growing SDN upstart in Asia, Lavelle Networks has received rapid market adoption and has built the largest SD-WAN networks in the world from 2017 – 2020. He believes that today’s cloud-first, digital-driven – enterprises can take the business anywhere, as long as the network is available. Shyamal is a graduate of BITS, Pilani, and has been in the data networking space for the last two decades. He is also active in entrepreneurship courses and platforms and is a TEDx speaker. He was voted among the “Top 25 Software CEOs in Asia” in 2020.

The product, ScaleAOn SD-WAN, is the fastest-growing platform for enterprise network-as-a-service requirements. Reliable hardware, amazing software, 24×7 support, and the widest network of ISP partners, have given an unbelievable advantage in the target market. Leadership is key to this success. Most start-ups have good folks but only start-ups destined for greatness – have the deep leadership skills and 360-degree industry experience to chase greatness – Lavelle Networks is destined for the journey of a great company.

In a conversation with The CEO Review Magazine, Shyamal throws light on his journey. He talks at length about his experiences, challenges, industry, goals, and more. Read below the excerpts from the interview with the Founder & CEO to know more about Lavelle Networks.

Have you always been entrepreneurial? What led you to set up your own business?

I have always had the desire to be an entrepreneur, and this is one of the reasons I have worked for 5 start-ups before this. The key reason to start this venture was the deep desire to build world-class technology in enterprise networking, at a time, when everyone needed help building stable, fast, and cost-effective networks to connect their users to all of their business applications. The market timing and huge inflection point for SD-WAN (software-defined wide area networking), became the biggest driver to start Lavelle Networks.

What are your success habits?

I believe in having priorities and then living by them. Our values (which are based on our faith), our health, family, and work all demand attention, and establishing a discipline of knowing what is your order of priorities, helps create true success. Focusing on a few priorities, and training yourself for deep concentration on the chosen priorities are the first reason you can be successful.

Finding the right balance between work and life is also a trained habit, and teaching yourself the way to compartmentalize between these areas is very critical. Sometimes things are going well in your family, but not in your venture, and at times, things are going well in your venture, but not in your family.Always creating business priorities around customer success, and customer experience ensures that you are spending time on the areas you need to.

What have been some make-or-break moments in your career?

Finding our first five customers was the first make-or-break moment, and as a fast-growing company, it is always about finding the right people at the right time for the key roles. At the initial stage of my career, we had a challenging performance issue with our solution, and it required the combined effort of hardware and software engineering teams, along with our customers to unearth the root cause of the issue, which ultimately required the re-spin of a core hardware chip in our product. This taught me the importance of never seeking anything but the truth about every problem in your product. Building products is about creating and winning the trust of customers, and therefore, we have to keep at it until every problem has been understood, resolved, and conquered.

What goal do you have and what more can you do in your role to help achieve this?

Our goals are to keep growing 10X every few years and acquire customers at a frenetic pace. We believe that product usage through more and more customers is the best form of business success. As the CEO – it is my key responsibility to continually set the strategic direction for our company, align all our team members to the direction and vision, and prioritize our resources to achieve the results. And all of this requires continued and sustained, clear and transparent communication, throughout the year to our team.

How has the industry changed over the years?

It has become completely software-centric. A decade back there used to be a lot of complexity in the hardware, and long cycles of product development. Today new software can be built in a matter of days and weeks, and common off-the-shelf hardware is prevalent everywhere. The availability of ubiquitous public cloud services empowers younger organizations like ours to create platforms that can be served to the widest possible customer base, without the need to invest in our infrastructure.

When it comes to the organization, what are you most proud of?

We are most proud of our customer-focused culture. All teams, and team members, are indoctrinated in our customer needs, and when it comes to resolving a customer issue, we work like one flat team without hierarchy. I am involved in customer conversations directly, and we don’t believe in using a complex escalation matrix. We are here to serve our customers, and we have created a strong culture in the team that believes in such behavior.

What are the most important decisions you make as a leader of your organization?

The most important decisions are also the toughest ones. Picking the right folks for the team, making hard choices every year on the team members who aren’t going to make it – these are the decisions that finally make the biggest impact on our business. People are at the core of what we do, and people build companies. So, the decisions we make about our people, inevitably become the most important decisions we make.

Which is most important to your organization—mission, core values, or vision?

Our customers should have the best network experience, no matter where they take their business. We believe in this, and that is why we are so invested in space like SD-WAN. We feel that every enterprise is truly productive only when it has a stable, fast, and cost-effective network since all business operations are now online. This is at the core of our excitement about the vision to continually provide the best network experience. Our values are rooted in serving our customers and treating our people like the assets they truly are. We have 100+ customers and are rapidly working to our stated mission of the next 1000+ customers, which we believe will give us a market leadership position in India and neighboring markets.

How do you or other leaders in your organization communicate the core values?

We communicate them in annual plan kick-off events, in weekly meetings, and in monthly all-hands. We don’t worry about how repetitive it is, we constantly remind our team about our core values. The other important thing is to recognize and reward team members who exhibit our core values and are striving to live by these values. The final thing is to demonstrate that you are willing to make the decisions that are right (but not necessarily the comfortable ones in the near term), when you have to pick between right and wrong, your core values should help you decide on what is right.

What has helped you get to where you are?

Relentless focus on our customer challenges, year-round effort in shaping our team for success, and constant communication on our priorities are the key ways we got here. Faster product iteration cycles, where we have not hesitated to take our software to the market as early as possible, so we can get feedback and proof as quickly as we can, is a key element to our success.


“Treat your entrepreneurial journey as a way to perfect yourselves to reach your potential. Learn as fast as you can and as often as you can. That’s the best thing about building a company. You cannot pre-determine your results, or predict the environment or business success. You can determine whether or not you will learn and grow through the experience” – Shyamal Kumar


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