February 1, 2023

Episode #65: Rajesh Perianayagam – Karyosoft Inc

Rajesh Perianayagam was born, raised and completed all his education till Ph.D. in plant biotechnology in India. He first came to the US in 1999 as a visiting research scholar during his Ph.D. to Washington State University, Pullman, WA. After obtaining doctorate degree at National Chemical Laboratory and University of Pune, India, he continued working at WSU and University of Missouri- Columbia as a postdoctoral research fellow. He moved to Indianapolis to work at large corporates such as Dow AgroSciences where he gained experience in managing multi-million-dollar agrigenomics programs and later at Roche Diagnostics where he worked with multi-billion-dollar clients. His extensive learnings and experiences in discovery and commercialization of products working in academia and industries led him to founding Karyosoft.

Currently he is the Founder/CEO of the startup Karyosoft Inc. headquartered in Carmel, Indiana. Karyosoft focuses on building in-house genomics software solutions for scientists to improve R&D efficiency and accelerate innovations in agrigenomics and life sciences enterprises. Karyosoft has received 20+ regional, national and international recognitions such as 2022 Best of Carmel Award in the Software Company category and “30 startups to watch” list by World Agri-Tech community.

During his more than 2 decades of experience in both at industries and academia as a molecular geneticist and a business development professional, Rajesh Perianayagam published 3 patents, won highest Seeds R&D recognition award for 4 consecutive years, worked on 6 different crops, recognized as an innovator for consecutively 7 years, captured 10+ intellectual property (IP), published 25+ peer reviewed publications and given 50+ presentations at both national and international conferences/meetings.

He is a passion-driven entrepreneur transforming his 25+ years of ‘R&D to Revenue’ experience into solving problems in agrigenomics and life sciences. He fondly calls his approximate 10,600 miles career journey as “India to Indiana”.


hello this is coach Tim campsall and I’m your host for the self-made is a myth make a difference together show where we’re talking with successful business owners to hear their stories of the journey to building their business and because we know that achieving success in business is not something that we can do on our own we’re taking time to recognize the folks who have helped us to excel I’m excited to have an entrepreneur with us today from Indiana my guest mixes a sense of humor into science and Entrepreneurship to help reduce stress and better communicate uh important points that he’s articulating he walks his dog every night and he he joked that the dog has trained him to do that and here’s the cool part he doesn’t carry any electronic devices with him so it gives him the opportunity to to clear his mind and and unwind at the end of each day he is most proud of the choices that he has made in his life and uh has gotten to the point where he can accept the ups and downs without losing energy and passion it is my pleasure to welcome Rajesh to the show today hello Rajesh how are you hello damn very good and first of all thanks to you for having me on your show and uh I really appreciate all your effort ever since we first met and then all those reminders through personal life personalized card and through text messages on an email really appreciate your professionalism and make uh make the guests to feel special on your show thank you for that thank you so much I appreciate the feedback well let’s start with having you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit of your personal story like where you were born where you live and maybe some of your hobbies hello everyone uh once again first of all nice to have you uh nice to be on your show uh my name is Rajesh periyanayagam and I was born and raised in the southern part of India um in a small town um I did all my schoolings and um um college education undergraduation everything in that nearby town and then I moved out of my state for higher educations like Masters and then PhD and I completed PhD everything all my education I completed in India and then I came to United States uh in 1999 I believe in 1999 as a visiting research scholar during my PhD I came to Washington State University Pullman and after completed my PhD I continued as a postdoctoral fellow in the Washington State University and also at University Missouri Colombia for a short time then I moved to Indiana for uh to work for corporate and since then I have been in Indiana so I I fondly called my career Journey as approximately 10 600 miles of uh journey to Indiana that’s what I am so all of that just to add a couple letters oh yeah that’s right yeah so so Regice what’s a funny story that your family likes to tell about you that you’d be willing to share with us today um I can tell you a lot of things uh but one thing I would say is what I strongly believe that uh whatever we are now is because of something happened uh when we were in our childhood what happened when we were in the childhood so I strongly believe in that whether it is good or bad either right um but there are certain things gets uh it becomes part of our life after it become adult but most of the impact you can see from your childhood so one such impact is um my family is basically is talented uh in terms of uh you know other than Sports I would say my father is a writer and a year right he used to write novels and all of them back in India in our mother tang and my brother is an excellent writer so I do I also have a little bit of those genes in me I would say but I have published more on the scientific articles and also I have published some novels and articles like that but the fun part is my family encouraged me of all our siblings my my mother and everybody encouraged me to enact reenact what you saw in some movies in a movie scenes and all of them that I love to do that I mean because they were asking they were laughing and because I they especially asked me to reenact the comedy seats okay so I end up doing that so that probably became part of that sense of humor what I had that became part of me and also that acting part you know what I was doing that also got into me so that helped me to do some stage performance during my college time and go and present an elocution competition and so on so forth so all those uh new the talents what I had what I have right now probably it started at that moment I feel so I’m thankful to my family foreign

tell us how did the how did your business come about and at what point did you have the confidence that you could start a business um if you ask me the question um uh in 2015 I have no idea I had no answers for that question because I can precisely say at the time when I had that thought of starting my company okay um um see I I like I mentioned I had the extensive career in both Academia and industries in hype corporate I worked for it so I never thought of starting my own business at any time until then and um but uh when I was working in corporate I used to be Innovative you know I I some I I came up with many ideas and I ran some projects and all of them so that uh probably the innovation has been there in my mind for quite some time with without me realizing that honestly I would say that it was naturally coming like this so but during that time all my research is basically application of various molecular Technologies for crop Improvement genetically so I use various Technologies from the first generation to the most recent Technologies like sequencing Technologies and all of them so but I have seen both plus and minuses of both the sides but I did realize when the new Next Generation sequencing Technologies there was a gap between the scientists and the data so that was in my mind for some time what to do about that but I never thought that would be the idea of starting my own company at that time and then um I mean when we were discussing among colleagues we were just talking about startups and all of them so what is startup I wanted to know about that so I was searching browsing for information then I watched on YouTube uh there is a series of uh uh you know classes uh from Stanford entrepreneurship uh uh school or something so I watched each and every one of them around I think 23 episodes are there I once I went to the whole thing I didn’t understand any of them but I like the idea that’s all it matters so then I was trying few ideas when I was in the job I was having a job and I tried few ideas to commercial I have to do and all of them I was learning but nothing went beyond a certain level and then I realized that if you want to do something on our own so we have to put 100 of our time so that is the only way we can make build a company and all of them so then that was the point I would say turn point but uh I saw the idea of Entrepreneurship for two years in my mind okay and then I took necessary things to learn about how to uh sell you know how to develop products because that I know being in r d for quite some time but how to convert RND to revenue right so that is important thing right so I went to um uh instead of going to MBA I went to work for a camp rosh in business development areas where I worked with all those you know sales people and customers and all of them so all of them actually trained me what to do but although I wouldn’t call myself an expert at that time so then I started carry yourself with the idea which I had in when I was at corporate and then since then the journey started that fantastic well tell us a little bit more about the company what do you guys do how do you help folks exactly yeah I’ll be happy and this is more important right so we are curious of uh as I mentioned in the beginning there is a gap between the genomics data of an organism and the scientist because scientists try the new Next Generation sequencing Technologies require computational skills which scientists typically lack like me so that problem is still there because that the whole technology is just 14 years old since they commercialized so it’s a very budding but rapidly growing Market the genomics markets so the Gap is still there and nowadays many of the work has become routine nowadays there was a time those that part of the workflow was required computational biologists but right now it became routine so but the Gap is still there so that is the mission of us so what carry yourself does is we focus on building in-house genomic software solutions for scientists to improve r d efficiency and accelerated Innovations in agree genomics and Life Sciences Enterprises so that is our mission our vision is to become industry leaders in providing simple to use genomic software solutions for the scientists to drive Innovations so our aim is to become top five in genomic software solution providing company in the next five to seven years that’s our goal awesome fantastic so share a story where someone pushed you or inspired you that you could do it even though maybe you didn’t think you could and the impact that person had on you I cannot uh pinpoint one person for that okay uh there is a group I mean at different stages of the people I got pushed by a different group of people okay and I still look forward to the future also okay but I can tell only up to today okay um see like I said when I first started the company I had I didn’t I didn’t know what entrepreneurship is and then I have no knowledge on uh that angle my impression was I’m running a business that was the small business that was my idea meaning I uh develop a product and then myself or keep the store open people will come and buy things that was my idea of carry yourself initially when I started that so then uh fortunately within uh as soon as within few months I got connected to Purdue Foundry at that initial stage so and I went through their uh the fire starter Market validation program which was the eye opener for me at that time that I would call that entrepreneurship 101. so I went through the program and everything was totally new to me now what uh what is the problem I mean what the how to uh prepare a pitch deck you know that includes problem and solutions and then your financial projection and business model and advisors team and all of them so every that turns slides which typically every investors look for those are all new to me which was not the idea I had in my mind so I’m first I wanted to be thankful to them to push me to learn entrepreneurship or no one okay so that is the first stage so after we grew a little bit higher I got more matured and all of them then the next to phase came uh where um we wanted to have a business model for software because what we developed is software Solutions what type of business model would be appropriate for that so so that when we reach that stage we got the help we got into generator program which is G beta Indie spring 19 uh that time only five people per cohort from all over Indiana would be selected its competitive programs we were lucky to got into the program and that there we learned that a lot of people helped us to build a nice business model and networking and all of them so from there we went to the next stage next ecosystem like Health while caters accelerator program which is another prestigious one from Texas so we got selected to that and then we became part of that ecosystem so there it’s a life sciences focused where Solutions like ours would be beneficial it’s easy to look for customers and then New Market we uh we got the opportunity to understand and all of them so I would say that these are the three uh people three ecosystem at different stage of our company came and pushed us to learn what entrepreneurship is so now I am much more knowledgeable about entrepreneurship but then how I started my company so initially but there is still learning curve there so we are I I’m open for learning so as now my learning is more it became more specific so that is that is the Improvement I saw in myself so I like the uh the lifelong learning philosophy that you’re sharing that’s awesome so to that point what’s your biggest learning so far as an entrepreneur

plenty it is very it’s not like it’s not I but number one I would say that is when you are uh when you’re an entrepreneur running a startup the growth is not linear that is the number only which is that is what I had in my mind when I first started sure like then it happened so if you want to go to from point A to point B this is not just straight road or or this way it it goes in very political way and then goes the distance may be five minutes if you go in the straight line but Journey will take several hours sometimes sometimes days yes okay sometimes months like that that is the biggest learning so the reason why I’m emphasizing that point is because of the time and then not linear the entrepreneur as an entrepreneur I developed some skill sets meaning be being patient and being thick-skinned and uh you know all those new learnings which was uh see when you worked on a corporate and when you started all over again it’s a two different mindset two different Dynamics yes okay so you have to you have to be adaptable for both the condition so that is new to me it’s not that I was very prepared all of them so all those flexibility adaptability patience being thick skin all those new skill set I learned because of that particular learning that growth is not linear so I love that that picture of or what you described there if it could be a seven minute direct Journey or a seven hour reveal Journey um the the mindset of uh of an entrepreneur or a business owner we we do have to go through a re-education right because the the way that we’re taught to think and act as an employee is very different than what’s required of us to to have success um as the the one in charge and you know making the decisions and and going through that journey of the the ups and downs and the or the roller coaster ride or the you know the unknown and the uncertainty and the trial and error of figuring things out right I agree totally yeah and then it gets harder when you are a little older and if you have a corporate background it it gets harder you know it’s very hard to hear no because yeah that is what you will hear a lot right when you are starting your own company and do that so you hear more knows than yes but when you are in the corporate

so that is a big learning curve and those are important learning I mean I when I started there is one thing I did was I took the the corporate experience out of my head and I I came up with a mindset that I am starting life all over again from the kindergarten like that yes so that is the mindset I did that helped me uh to learn and face those family I mean face all those negativity and then pressure and all of them but still and the most important things I I’m doing what I love the most so I’m okay for facing those things for the things which I love the most so that’s awesome so um we know that business success doesn’t happen in isolation so tell us about one of your biggest challenges and maybe a fellow business owner or entrepreneur that came alongside you and helped you get through that um I mean like can you repeat the question again yeah what’s what’s one of the biggest challenges you’ve had so far and and who’s somebody that helped you to get through that challenges yeah I mean it depends on the moment of my journey okay it’s not I mean in the beginning I had different challenges and then at a later stage another challenge so on so forth so I I mean I can tell you uh what challenges I face today okay uh because uh past this past because you face The Challenge and you overcome next challenge will come and you keep overcoming so the I mean at this point uh uh yeah you know I mean I learned the the many of the many aspects of the entrepreneurship over the time and I cubed myself but uh I’m helping uh I mean I’m pushing myself further and further ahead and uh at this point um uh uh you know I always had four things my growth is I mean my company’s growth is four-pronged approach number one is traction increase that’s number one and uh Team expansion fundraising and startup growth what I mean by startup growth is uh you know visibility you know to present carriersoft in different places and you know make and being present in uh in people’s mind you know potential customers mind and all of them so that is our uh these are the four pronged approaches I always maintain that currently uh I mean as a CEO I always have three things in my mind that is my primary goal number one is setting up the vision for the company and hire people with good talent and keep them third one is make sure company has money so that I can keep the team and build up yes so that is the three things setting up the vision does not cost you much right but keeping the team and fundraising they are connected with each other so that is my biggest challenge always as a entrepreneur I always face the challenges with the funding yeah uh you know I and that is my primary responsibility to raise money into the company and that helps the company running for some more time so that is our biggest challenge so this has been the Challenge from the beginning and we were getting help on that part so like I told you we won the past we won some of the uh accelerator and Purdue Research Foundation accelerated program we got some funding and isbdc intab program we got some grants and uh NSF we got funding and uh we won come back Capital ball pitch competition we got some funding and health while caters we got some funding and we got some other grants as well but we grew little bit higher so we need more money okay and bring more people so that is our always challenge uh so I I we all so far I have overcome that but I’m confident that we will overcome that also always but money need will always be there for any startup I would say that that’s my biggest challenge as well and then who uh who do you go to to help you with that those challenges who what are the types of people that you can reach out to to help you through that again you know sometimes technical challenge sometimes is the business with the fundraising I mean how do you over the fundraising I mean we already have um um all three ecosystem we are part of that since they invested in us they are my first focal point okay awesome can you invest more or can you introduce us to additional investors you know they are the number one for me and uh we keep sending the need I mean I keep sending the need and everything through uh all my stakeholders periodically so they know what’s going on there what I need and all of them so they are the number one and they definitely are helping us to introduce to new investors and uh you know continue the conversation and all of them so awesome that’s my answer awesome yeah fantastic we have already 18 um

I forgot to mention Elevate Ventures they also invested in that so party Research Foundation Elevate Ventures and come back Capital right side capital and uh uh Health while cater and one more investors so all of them are our already wonderful but if I asked you to pick three people in your entrepreneur Journey that you’re most grateful for them being there for you who are those three people and how they help you I’m ah it’s very difficult to pinpoint one person okay yeah so when you I told you that uh the three ecosystem I would say because you know the initial stage is a really really hardest one and that is that the teaching and then bearing with my ignorance and uh coaching me and patiently coaching me all of them is very hard on their part more than me okay so I’m extremely thankful to Purdue Foundry first because the interesting part is when I went through the body Foundry program I am I was assigned only one ear entrepreneur in Residence who works with me uh help helps me to coach okay so but they already had more than eight entrepreneurs in buddy Foundry and I worked with all eight of them so that is why it is very difficult for me to pinpoint one person yeah that ecosystem so and the result of my working with them closely and then the trust they had in me resulted in investment from party Research Foundation that is the key part right yeah and then they introduced me to the next G beta group and all of them so that is important because in when you are growing as an entrepreneur networking is important which that was another biggest lesson I learned um how important network is you know because when they introduced me to somebody else they they definitely took the car took my call and talked to me right if I made a cold car they would have 70 percent of the chance they would not even respond to me back okay so that is the biggest have help because their their reputation is also at stake yeah right so and then they introduced me to the G beta group and then debate I still introduced me to the next uh the health while Canada accelerator program all three of them still keep on introducing me to the investors and that that’s the most important need like that so when we are in need of fundraising we know who to send an email and have the first car yeah okay so and they are there they are our backboard they are holding us like three pillars that is what I I want to give credit to all three of them I would say wonderful uh Jim Rohn says that we become the average of the five people that we spend the most time with so as you think about that quote what advice would you have for entrepreneurs or business owners who are trying to do it on their own who aren’t reaching out to other people for help yeah and you said five people right average of five people whom you hang out with yeah I would add at a given time okay because I interact with more than 50 people because all the ecosystem everybody is not just one person right so it’s a group of again they all have inverses group advices group mentors group all three of them are so I have a lot of resources whom I can go and for a specific question to talk and get answers from so that is I want to add that point to your first part of your one the second one is um I mean like I tell as an entrepreneur I just crossed my kindergarten education that’s what I feel that okay there is a lot of uh you know elementary school middle school high school college graduation there’s a lot of stages are there I’m going one by one okay and um I I mean I wouldn’t call that as an advice but I can share with you uh uh What uh I followed so if that suits to others who wanted to start on your own if it helps I’ll be happy I’ll be happy uh otherwise you have to find your own Niche because every entrepreneur has a different Journey because since I worked with a lot of startups here interact with all of them and everybody has a different Journey like I told you going from point A to point B some have gone in five minutes some took several hours some of them it takes still going on lot of things right but emotions are the same in a roller coaster mindset and then what do you face every day those are all same regardless of any startups okay so for me there are two things uh before I embark on the journey and the entrepreneurial Journey as I mentioned earlier I was soaking this idea for two three years whether I can do it or not because although I have got no clue about that whether I have uh I can do it or not because entrepreneurship simple definition is converting or converting an idea into a commercial product by taking high risk the operative word is the high risk part okay an idea to um product you can do anywhere but by taking high risk is the operative things okay that is what it is and um I analyzed myself whether I have that high risk-taking ability armor right because when I started entrepreneurship I have lived long enough my I went to the graduation and all of them so I went back I have taking high risk um um mentality in me so that is what prompted me to Embark onto the journey so that I would consider whether you are having that high risk taking ability in you okay and that is one thing but once you Embark into the journey it’s again a lot of roller coaster ride but uh simple simply put we know where to go with the company set up the vision and where to go make a plan and take one day at a time uh because too much of information it uh that is one of the key lessons I learned uh later but I didn’t have this idea before but since I went through the Journey uh this is a key lesson one of the key lessons I learned that helped me to reduce the uh stress and see things clearly for today because rather than getting overwhelmed with what’s going on and we cannot go we cannot do anything what to do tomorrow what’s going to happen day after tomorrow and all of them because there’s going to be a lot of sleepless nights and stressful moments and within a day or sometimes within an hour it’s like Indiana climate you know you get rain you get the snow and you get sun and you get home all of them you get in a day right so that is the entrepreneurial Journey entrepreneurial life okay so this is something happen so that way if you take one day at a time and keep making progress that reduces the stress and then keep you going I would say that so these are the two things I said before Embark think whether you have high risk taking ability second thing is once you get in take one day at a time after setting up the goal where you want to go so awesome love it thank you for sharing your journey and I know you you didn’t want it to be advice but I will suggest to everyone listening I think that is a great thing to ponder whether that fits for you we won’t call it advice but you know something to to reflect on and exactly fits into to your individual Journeys I really like the one day at a time because the reality is we can’t change the past and we can’t uh we can’t change or impact you know a month from now but we can impact today and the things that we focus on today can make a difference for tomorrow exactly yeah and any idea you are starting in that one choose the one you like the most that’s important once you choose that idea which you can I mean it’s likable and then think of your ability for taking risk and then you will start you will face all those ups and downs without any much of stress it’s part of the life like that but if you chose the one which you don’t like it you are in big trouble it’s very difficult to face those the all those you know stresses yes yeah it sounds like you’ve been blessed with some incredible people who have helped you along your journey if they were all on the show here today what would you want to say to them thank you that’s important uh because I have said I have shared my thanks to all of them in in many times in person and in other podcasts and other you know press materials and all of them I will continue doing the same and uh because I never thought when I started the company I would be having these many people uh who are who will who are willing to help me I never thought that because that is the biggest one otherwise it would be really really hard uh if I think back uh especially in India and I want to give credit to Indiana as well because I didn’t know Indiana promotes entrepreneurship this much until I started the company so fortunately party Foundry initially carried me I would say and then generator carried me and then Health whale character helped me and you know the whole uh combination that that helps my build my resume so I’m always thankful to all three ecosystem and but they are still doing that okay it’s not that it’s an end point or something so I’m extremely grateful and uh whatever I am as an entrepreneur and they all three played a major role and uh that’s what I would thank them but if we ask them they would say Rajesh is more coachable that’s why we helped him like that but uh still they don’t have to actually right but but you know I on and have I go back and think myself how I was four or five years back and I feel more grateful to all of them because at that time I was not much of knowledgeable in this area and they patiently listened to me and then try to help me and if they couldn’t help and they made introduction to other people who can help and so on so forth so that I’m blessed with that I’m extremely thankful to all of them and they still continue doing that so because of that I feel uh Stronger reduce it’s uh been a pleasure having you on the show today thank you so much for uh being part of our journey and and sharing uh your journey with us thank you very much for having me on your show I really appreciate uh your effort as I mentioned in the beginning so thank you once again I hope uh this interview helps other entrepreneurs I don’t know who are interested to start their own and uh helps them to be prepared wonderful to everyone who tuned in thanks for listening to the self-made is a missed show with your host coach Tim cancel be sure to help spread this Movement by liking the show and posting about it on your social media and to join our movement go to be mad together.com all right folks that’s a wrap make sure to pay it forward and I’ll see you all next time take care