Serial entrepreneur Aruni S. Gunasegaram is a veteran of Austin’s technology startup industry.

Gunasegaram has worked at SecureAuth,  Khorus, SailPoint, WP Engine, Querium, and other local companies. She also served as director of operations at the Austin Technology Incubator.

Gunasegaram was also a co-founding parent of the Magellan International School, a nonprofit language immersion International Baccalaureate school. She was also an adjunct lecturer on entrepreneurship at the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business and is currently an MBA project coach.

Gunasegaram was co-founder/president of Isochron Data, a web and mobile application company targeting the vending and packaged ice industries (aka the “internet of things”), where she coordinated closing the company’s first $1 million in revenue, raising $15 million in equity financing, as well as built a team of employees, board members, and advisors. She co-founded Babble Soft, a web and mobile application company targeted at new parents. 

Gunasegaram talks about lessons learned from her entrepreneurial journey in this episode of the Ideas to Invoices podcast. Here are some key takeaways from the discussion. The entire podcast is embedded below and can be found on all popular podcast platforms.

1. Customer-Centric Approach: Gunasegaram emphasizes the importance of starting a successful business by understanding the customer’s needs and pain points. Successful companies often begin by providing solutions that improve people’s lives.

2. Human Connection in Customer Support: Despite advancements in technology and automation, maintaining a personal touch in customer support remains crucial. Gunasegaram highlights the challenge of balancing automation with personalized customer interactions, stressing the importance of the human touch in customer satisfaction.

3. Common Challenges Across Industries: Aruni identifies a common challenge across various industries, including cybersecurity, data privacy, and education technology, which is maintaining a personal touch while leveraging technological advancements. She emphasizes the significance of being the customer’s advocate, especially during challenging situations.

4. Experience at Austin Technology Incubator (ATI): Gunasegaram discusses her role at ATI and how it shaped her perspective on supporting entrepreneurial CEOs. She highlights the importance of having a supportive network for entrepreneurs, acknowledging the stress and challenges they face, and the need for community events and networking opportunities.

5. Importance of Mentorship and Networking: Gunasegaram emphasizes the significance of mentoring and networking in an entrepreneur’s journey. Informal mentorship, leaning from experiences and building meaningful connections contribute significantly to personal and professional growth.

6. Support for Female Entrepreneurs: Gunasegaram acknowledges the gender disparity in venture capital funding and advocates for more representation of women in decision-making roles within VC firms. She emphasizes the need for education, mentorship, and system changes to address this imbalance.

7. Focus on the Journey: Gunasegaram’s perspective on entrepreneurship emphasizes the importance of embracing the journey, learning from failures, and constantly evolving. She recommends books like “The Alchemist,” “The Monk and the Riddle” and “Siddhartha” for their insights into the entrepreneurial journey.

8. Future plans: Gunasegaram expresses her interests in supporting other entrepreneurs, investing in exciting companies, and exploring her creative side, including singing, songwriting, and publishing.