The Get IN. team sits down with Sandeep Allam, a lifelong entrepreneur and the executive chairman and president of Syra Health. Sandeep shares his journey from a child entrepreneur selling t-shirts to leading a company that recently went public on the NASDAQ.

Syra Health is a healthcare consulting company with a mission to improve healthcare by providing innovative services and technology solutions.

Having grown to over a hundred employees and successfully gone public, the company represents a significant achievement in Indiana’s business landscape. 

This conversation delves into the nuances of taking a company public, managing rapid growth, and innovating in the healthcare industry. Sandeep’s unique perspective as someone who has started multiple businesses, including Syra Health, offers invaluable insights into entrepreneurship, the value of dreaming big, and the strategic approach to entering and succeeding in the government sector.

Check out these clips from the show:

  • 00:54 Sandeep Allam: A Lifelong Entrepreneur’s Journey
  • 02:23 The Entrepreneurial DNA: Sandeep’s Early Ventures
  • 03:06 From Engineering to Entrepreneurship: The Transition
  • 05:20 The Leap to Entrepreneurship: Starting with Lilly
  • 10:35 Sandeep’s Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
  • 12:58 Building a Business Empire: The Growth of STLogix
  • 19:09 The Syra Health Success Story: A New Venture Begins
  • 19:30 Winning Big: Landing a $17 Million Contract with Indiana
  • 23:57 The Path to Going Public: Syra Health’s Milestones
  • 24:56 Exploring the Growth of Syra Health
  • 25:19 The Strategy Behind Focusing on Government Healthcare Contracts
  • 26:28 Advice for Entrepreneurs on Managing Multiple Business Units
  • 28:04 The Journey to Taking Syra Health Public
  • 30:46 Expanding Business Units and Embracing Digital Health
  • 32:21 Balancing Product and Service Offerings in Tech Companies
  • 34:05 Managing Rapid Growth and Building a Positive Workplace Culture
  • 37:43 Future Plans and Excitement for Syra Health
  • 38:17 Exploring Opportunities in Government Solutions and Mental Health
  • 40:32 Final Thoughts and Lightning Round Insights

Get IN. is the show focused on the unfolding stories and most extraordinary innovations happening in the heartland today. Get IN. is brought to you by Powderkeg.

In our conversation with Sandeep, you will learn about:

  • The process of taking a company public, managing rapid growth, and the importance of healthcare innovation. 
  • Sandeep’s personal approach to entrepreneurship, including his views on risk-taking, critical thinking, self-motivation, and the traits necessary for successful entrepreneurs.

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Episode Transcript

Matt: From the crossroads of America in the Hoosier state of Indiana. This is Get IN, the podcast focused on the unfolding stories and extraordinary innovations happening right now in the heartland.

I’m Matt Hunckler, CEO at Powderkeg, and I’ll be one of your hosts for today’s conversation. I’m joined in studio by co-host Nate Spangle, head of community at Powderkeg. And on the show today, we are joined by a lifelong entrepreneur, Sandeep Allam. I would say the top three things would be risk, risk and reward. Next is self motivation and critical thinking.

It’s, it’s a super important, right? I am a firm believer of just don’t stop dreaming. If you don’t have the mentality to take a risk, you’re not meant for entrepreneurship. Now that is the most important thing, right? Very excited for this interview because Sandeep Alam is the executive chairman and president of Syra Health, a healthcare consulting company with a mission to improve healthcare by providing innovative services and technology solutions.

Syra Health was listed on the NASDAQ last September and is Indiana’s latest publicly traded company. Sundeep has been an entrepreneur for the last 25 years, helping grow companies like STLogics and Blue Agilis. Did I pronounce that correctly? Yeah. One of the product based company. Yes. Awesome.

Blue Agilis as well as helping start the Indie Big Data Conference, which I have heard just amazing things about. I have not personally made it to, but I’ve heard really great things about that. Over the last three years, Sundeep and the team at Syrah Health have hit some really impressive milestones, like growing to over a hundred employees and going public.

And on the show today, we’re going to dive into, uh, Sundeep’s background, more than 25 years in entrepreneurship, what it really takes to, uh, do the IPO process and take a. Company public, managing, uh, during times of rapid growth, of course, innovating in a really interesting industry right now, healthcare, uh, and so much more.

Sandeep, welcome to the Get IN Podcast.

Sandeep: Oh, thanks for having me here, Matt and Nate. We’re so excited, man.

Nate: I, I’m pumped up about this one. Uh, as I kind of put the together an outline and did some background, I was like, holy, 25 years of entrepreneurship is, uh, there’s a lot to dive into there. Um, and I think a good place to start is, uh, again, in my extensive research, I saw that you grew up with some entrepreneurs in your family.

Yep. So what was your earliest exposure to entrepreneurship and what was that like for you?

Sandeep: Well, you know, being, uh, right from my childhood, right, you know, I’ve been, uh, surrounded by business, uh, uh, business folks, you know, um, a lot of people in businesses and different kinds. Yeah. That’s been my dream, you know, trying to establish something for myself and do business, you know, And that got me very exciting, uh, with my entire childhood and I’ve worked towards that in the sense of trying to do some small little things even at that age.

Nate: Oh, like what? What was that first business idea? I was selling some t shirts, you know, I was doing some random stuff, selling some goggles, you know, I mean. Some random stuff. I used to do that. So that spirit of entrepreneurship, a similar spirit of doing some stuff always existed in my, you know, in my DNA, I guess, and then, of course, you know, as I got my undergrad and I’m an engineer and, uh, I’m a chemical engineer and I wanted to make sure that, you know, my education is such an important thing.

So I had to complete that before I dive into Starting my own venture, but it didn’t take much long. I would say, you know, uh, once I did my master’s here, you know, with, uh, graduated from Ferris state university, uh, I worked for Eli Lilly for just, uh, I would say close to four years and started my first venture, you know, in Indiana, actually, in fact, uh, with a tech company, you know, so that’s been my starting point, I would say, you know, Oh, I, I, see, I never hear that where it’s someone goes to Lilly for only four years.

I thought it was going to say 40 years, you know, like I feel like everyone who starts at Lilly ends up like having a, a super long, I mean, there’s some amazing careers built out of there, but that’s awesome. I would say, I would say except the entrepreneurs because the entrepreneurs can’t help it. You got to go start something.

Yeah. Yeah.

Matt: Um, I wanted to ask something about the engineering background just because I think that’s such a, uh, uh, I don’t know that it’s like, completely unique, but I would imagine in getting an engineering degree, you learn some certain things and there’s some certain ways of thinking that, um, maybe you apply today as a CEO.

Are there things during, you know, studying engineering and doing some engineering, even with, uh, Lily, that you think, Uh, you still use today at Syra?

Sandeep: Honestly, engineering did not ever help me at all. Really? That’s amazing. That’s a great take. You know, especially coming from an Indian background and everything, you know, uh, for us to be, uh, you know, it’s, it’s a checkoff, right?

You know, you have to do your undergrad at some point. A degree, you know, you need to get some degree to start with. And of course our options are limited, you know, from our parents, you know, Hey, you need to, this is your path. That’s it. You just want this one, this one, this one, right. So, um, so, you know, pretty much, um, that was, uh, you know, uh, it did my engineering there, but, uh, but, uh, even, even in including my, I would say I would give it to my master’s degree.

You know, I did it in, um, my master’s is in, um, information systems, you know, management MIS, uh, from Ferris state university, definitely, you know, there are. Uh, definitely some, um, uh, I’ve learned a lot from there and apply towards, you know, my entrepreneurship journey, you know, for sure. I can say that, but otherwise my engineering background has nothing to do with this one.

Nate: What was that first role at Lilly that you got? So you have, you had your master’s from Ferris State in, uh, what MIS? Yes. What’s MIS stand for? A management information system. Management information system. So then you get that first job at Lilly. What were you doing there?

Sandeep: Yeah. Yeah. So I joined as a technologist, you know, I work for corporate affairs.

I used to, uh, maintain the lily. com with the main site. And, uh, so I, uh, and then of course, you know, internal Lily news. And, uh, I, I used to, you know, be, I was a developer, uh, you know, on top of that, you know, in a combination. Wow, you did it all. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That’s cool. I mean, I, I, I, I mean, uh, I’ve been a technologist, you know, to start with, you know, you know, Uh, been, uh, done a lot of programming and all, uh, to start with, you know, and then, uh, I was, uh, leading all this, I mean, uh, systems at Lilly, you know, at that point.

Nate: So like leading in, in your, what, three or four years into your career at that point and you’re working on, I mean, I don’t, there has to be a ton of traffic to EliLilly. com. I just have to imagine, right? Yeah. So that’s, that’s pretty fun. But what then, Led you to take the leap right after four years to go out there.

And what was that first venture that you started?

Sandeep: You know, even at, uh, working at Lilly, right. I already started a venture, a small tech company. You know, I used to do some product development and some website development. That was my first, that was my first business. I would say, you know, building some small websites.

And, uh, so that’s it. Yeah. Yeah.

Nate: So can you give me a time period? Like what, what, what year is this in? Uh, 2000, you know? Yeah. So built, which was, that wasn’t an easy, I can’t, I don’t know. I was, I was not building websites in 2000, but I can’t imagine that’s an easy process to like do. And with your engineering background, it wasn’t computer science, that kind of engineering, but your master’s was more in that direction.

Sandeep: Correct. How did you teach yourself how to, how to like become a software engineer? Well, it’s been a, uh, a path I took in and, uh, especially with my MIS degree. Yeah. I literally had to change my whole skill set there, you know, update myself pretty much on a fast track. Um, and, uh, did all the, uh, computer related, uh, uh, you know, courses and all that stuff.

So, uh, more importantly, I was not the only guy who was building the websites, but I had a team, you know, who was part of this, uh, Uh, uh, part of the business and all. Right. So that was my first venture to start with, you know, taking up some, some small little products that we are building and small websites we’re building.

Nate: And so from a small website, small products, what was like the final domino that said, Hey, you know what? I’m, I’m going to leave Lily a very, very stable job in corporate. Like what, I don’t know where they are in the, like on the biggest publicly traded companies, but they’re very high, right? Well, what led you to leaving the stable environment of Lily to going full in on, on this website, product development company?

Sandeep: Yeah. So, um, you know, uh, as I said, my aunt, uh, entrepreneur kind of spirit always like it’s there, you know, I really, uh, wanted to be very independent, have my own venture, have my own business. And that always been in my mind, you know, it was matter of how to, how fast I can get out, right. But it’s important that, you know, experience is so important, you know, and that’s reason this has helped me a lot.

Uh, with a job, you know, which is very important at Lily and, uh, understanding a bigger picture, you know, understanding the systems, understanding, getting the true experience is very important in a very big environment that’s, you know, with one of the top enterprises, which is Lily. Yeah. I think it’s always, um, uh, always, I, I think it’s been interesting journeys only because Lily was my first customer, in fact, so I was wondering about that.

Yeah. So once I made a decision to, uh, uh, to come out. Lily. com was my first project that I got as a contractor. Nice. So in fact, Lily has given me my starting point of starting my venture as a technology company.

Matt: How did you, how did you have that conversation, uh, with, you know, your supervisor?

Sandeep: Well, I mean, um, um, the supervisor I worked with, uh, definitely, um, uh, uh, she has always admired my work and, uh, Once I made my decision to come out, uh, she was not happy, you know, so definitely I think the, uh, I think an opportunity of this particular opportunity of giving to, uh, um, to nobody, I would say almost like a, uh, a single guy who just got out and starting his own business.

Giving this major opportunity. I think she went through the chain to, you know, fight it out and give me this lily. com for the upgrade. And that’s what it was. Wow. So it’s one of the biggest opportunity you can ever imagine. And, uh, but again, you know, Lily has been my greatest customer and a great beginning because I have done so many projects, so many projects, and I don’t mind telling you a number.

I did a, um, off just off the back. Um, I, on average, I did close to 15 million business with Lily at that early time, at the early stage. That’s a great start. Yeah, so it’s been nothing than magical as a customer that Lily gave this opportunity back to me. I just grew. With Lilly. I mean, Lilly as a customer.

Sure. I grew my business. Yeah. Then, um, you know, then it’s a matter of just going to different customers and growing my business as a technology company. And that’s, that’s the company’s ST Logics, you know, what you, what you

Matt: Do you think that, uh, it’s important for entrepreneurs to know how to code?

Sandeep: Not really.

Entrepreneurs are all about, you know, having the creative mind and, uh, putting a great team together.

Nate: So if you had to give like top three traits of an entrepreneur, that’s like, maybe they’re in that, that corporate lily seat and they’re like, they had that itch to go out there. It’s like, what three traits do they need to kind of do some self, some self, uh, inspection on to see, do you have this, this, and this?

Sandeep: I would say the top three things would be risk, risk and reward. Next is, uh, self motivation and, uh, and, uh, critical thinking, creative and critical thinking. It’s, it’s a super important, right? Yeah. So, and, uh, I’m a firm believer of, um, just don’t stop dreaming, you know, you know, if, if you, if you don’t have the mentality to take a risk, you’re not meant for entrepreneurship, you know, that is the most important thing, right.

So a lot of times people just think, you know, Hey, they have one of the greatest ideas. And they say that, Hey, my idea was just somebody else did it. Well, they did it because they executed it, right?

Nate: Those people are like, Oh, I thought of that five years ago. Right? Yeah, exactly. Well, you didn’t do anything about it.

So tough work.

Matt: Someone asked me that on a podcast. I was the guest on the podcast recently, and they said, what would you say to a You know, a young person who thinks they might want to be an entrepreneur, um, you know, what advice would you give them? And I said, start a business. That’s it, right? Like, if you think you might want to be an entrepreneur, you’re not going to know unless you try it.

Nate: Yeah. Mine is always, cause I’m talking like smaller scale. Like if I go talk to like some college kids and they’re like, I want to start this business. And do I need to start with this elaborate business plan? And I’m just like, have you bought a domain? Domains are like 12 bucks. Have you started, have you got the Instagram handle for whatever your business is?

Yeah. Like no, and I was like, well, do that if you put like an hour of work into getting the website domain and just spending up an Instagram, then like you’re taking a step at least. And at least I put one foot in front of the other on, on building your business. So I love that as we think about that transition.

So how long were you running? It’s Estelle, ST logics. How long were you running that before you jumped into your next? I mean, this is like, uh, a segue of like, there’s just a lot of new businesses that you really were involved in. So give us kind of a timeline there.

Sandeep: You know, this, um, You know, when you become an entrepreneur, you don’t stop, right?

You’re constantly thinking and, uh, you’re restless, you know, what is the next idea here, right? Yeah. Um, so I, uh, I think, you know, the STLogics became a holding company. Um, as we, you know, to start as a tech company and became a holding company because, uh, I started launching tech company like a rat cube was my first tech company there, part of that.

Then we had some product based company like Blue Edgeless, then some energy company, which, uh, I did a merger. And, uh, have an energy company, part of the holding group. And, uh, this, um, and, uh, we just SKD energy, by the way, it’s an energy business. And, um, a couple of other type of infrastructure based companies, which are part of the group, right?

So we almost become an incubator. So the strategy is pretty much, um, you know, bringing more entrepreneurs on the table, right? Which are the, the CEOs who are, who are really, um, uh, who are, who are cut out for this, uh, pretty much entrepreneurship. And that’s what’s been the mentality of STLogics, you know, and that’s why we’re constantly looking for, uh, people like, you know, who with a great experience, but more importantly, who have, you know, The itch of entrepreneurship and get on this one.

So that’s how every company we launched after that is based on that. So each companies, I pretty much work with all the CEOs. And, uh, making sure that, you know, they’re, you know, with the direction and the expansions and, and all. So that’s how all these companies were formed.

Nate: So, so we had like the intangibles, right? You have to be, you can’t be, you have to be able to take risks. You have to be a critical thinker and creative. What was the third one? Of, uh, self-motivate and you have to be self-motivated. Okay. So those are the three. It’s kinda like you might be able to teach yourself some of those a little bit, but a lot of times I feel like you might just be born with those, but with these CEOs that are running kind of these business units, these other companies, what are, like the, you said you’re working with the CEOs.

What are like the top three things you’re teaching them? Like the first three things, you, you have a CEO EO that’s growing a company. Hey, you need to learn this, this, and this.

Sandeep: I’m all about the billion dollars here, right off the back, you’re zero, no problem, think a billion dollars, right? Think big. I’m just giving as an example.

And I always teach them, you know, think big and then you could work towards that. Right. When you think small, that’s where you remain. Right. And, uh, then you set the path, set the goals towards that. And that’s how, you know, you attain, uh, you know, those success, you know, and that’s what, that’s, that’s the first thing I always teach them.

Um, and, um, I, uh, constantly say that, you know, give them self confidence and always, um, making sure that, you know, motivation is one big thing. Yeah. There’s nobody for you. You’re for yourself. Mm hmm. You have to motivate yourself every second. There’s some good moments, bad moments in business, but you know, the bottom line is, You know, try to, try to, you know, uh, pump in your own energy and, uh, be positive.

And I call them a five second reset, which means reset yourself in five seconds. Think the positive side. I’m good to go. And the only person who can do it is yourself. And I’ve teached them all the time and I think they practice it a lot and they come with a new, my, you know, uh, they come with a new energy always.

Nate: You know, we have a few episodes with, um, Kevin Bailey. Do you know, do you know Kevin Bailey and Dreamfuel? They’re a, they’re a local company. Um, they’re serving mental performance for executives. And we went through some techniques. I will link the episode up in the show notes, but went through some techniques of like, Staying in the right mindset, whether you’re a salesperson and executive and like you get that bad news delivered, you get whatever it is.

And it’s like, Hey, I gotta, I think he actually said, you gotta put up your iron man suit, you know, like take a deep breath, reset, uh, and, and like get back to that positive state. And like, don’t let that affect you because it can just like snowball into this, like a bad, bad minute can turn into a bad day, like super, super quickly if you don’t get that rained in.

So I think that’s a great idea and just like a great principle to have as a, for, for all executives.

Sandeep: You know, there is good news and there’s always a bad news, right? And, uh, there’s never a bad news because you’re always looking at the next thing. Don’t look backwards at all, right? So even the good news, I don’t react that much, right?

Because we are constantly working about building this and we are keeping going forward. There’s nothing looking forward. So there’s nothing called a bad news. It’s just, uh, You know, uh, building great opportunities for yourself and for the business and, uh, try to, you know, uh, be in a path of always being positive and keep it going.

Nate: That’s it. I think that’s a trait of a lot of entrepreneurs, right? Is. Is that like, Hey, we don’t let the losses affect us very hard, but we also don’t maybe celebrate the wins enough, right? As far as like as driven, ambitious offer, there’s always the next mountain to climb. How do you, as a leader and not the CEO, you’re in the driver’s seat, keep your eye on this next ambitious goal, but also.

Let your employees know and like celebrate those wins. I, we’ve had some, some entrepreneurs and CEOs on the show that are like, I had to be really intentional about celebrating the wins within our team. Do you have any, any advice for, for that? No,

Sandeep: absolutely. I work with a lot of teams, a lot of employees and I always see a good entrepreneur spirit in them.

You know, I try to talk to them towards that, you know, and I always say one thing. Hey, you’re coming here to do something great for yourself to start with. You know, this is your journey. This is you. You need to understand that you’re doing something Where you’re creating your own success with this, this is a job, but more importantly, you’re building your own career.

That’s the starting, then comes the company next, right? So try to come to this work of trying to do something great for yourself, right? And, uh, and, and, and every job I see it as a business, you know, because, you know, hey, you’re working, you’re getting paid for that, right? So it’s, it’s a transaction there.

That’s how I look at it. Right. So that being said, always this wins, there’s all this thing, you know, this, this is a great, you know, of course, you know, you need to celebrate always, you know. But don’t stop, you know, the winds cannot settle you down and, and stop. Right. And that’s my important thing. Keep it going, try to build the next level.

Right. So we do celebrate, but already you’re thinking the next thing, what do I do? What, what, what, what, what do I do? Something more, more bigger.

Matt: Well, the momentum is contagious too. So I I’m curious to know what, how did the momentum take you to Syra health? Like, what was that opportunity that you saw that made you say have all these successful businesses, but. We’ve got to do another one.

Sandeep: Yeah, absolutely. Part of the holding group, right? I mean, I think if you, you know, I just told you about the background, how the holding group was formed and, uh, you know, diversifying into multiple type of businesses and everything and Syra Health was part of the journey to, uh, Dr. Deepika Vuppalanchi, the CEO of the company was part of the journey, you know? So we started as a company as a privately held. And, uh, we have, uh, the first one of the great success story of the company off the back is winning a contract with the state of Indiana for a neurodiagnostic institute. It’s a psychiatric hospital.

Uh, the contract value is 17 million. This is our first takeoff as a company, right? That’s like, that’s like the Lily counter. It’s like, Oh, all of a sudden we ended up like signing Lily as our first customer. Now we have the state of Indiana and 17 million. That’s a good way to start. Yeah, exactly. I would say it is a unique story, uh, not only by starting the company, but also winning such a huge contract.

Yeah, that’s a great start. Yeah, so, uh,

Matt: How did you go about doing that? Can you maybe give us, I’m sure there was some amount of just, uh, right place, right time, right contacts, but I imagine that there is a little bit of skill in, in landing such a big contract, especially with the government, which is, you know.

Sandeep: So government, uh, uh, government, uh, always have been our forte in the sense we have been working with the government from past 15 years as a tech company and as a energy company and as a different product based companies. Right. So have a lot of government experience from past 15 years. So for Syra, it was pretty much, um, uh, a great opportunity to get into the door and going through a typical RFP process.

And, uh, of course, you know, having the previous experiences with other companies helped a lot putting such a great, uh, you know, uh, proposal, I would say. And, um, and we were able to win the, win the, win the bid, right. And, uh, that’s what happens in the government, right? You go through a bidding process and all, right.

So what are your top secrets for entrepreneurs who want to win the contract with their proposal to the government? So, especially when you’re working with the government, it’s very different. You know, you, um, People need to have a lot of patience. It’s a long journey and it’s a long process, but, uh, the results are magical, you know, it’s big, right?

So once you know how to, uh, I had no business. Um, in the first three years, uh, with the government, literally no business, right? But I’m still working my ways to figure it out, right? Working with different agencies, the opportunities and going through the process. So those were the times, right? So after once we know the drill, I think, uh, it was never looking back.

So for Syra Health, it was been a, we already have so much experience in how to maneuver in the government. And it go through the entire, um, you know, uh, we know the path, you know,

Nate: so if there was, uh, an entrepreneur listening out there, that’s not currently working with the government, but maybe their service could, could be useful to the government.

Maybe there’s an RFP going for mid, what was the first thing you would tell them to do? If they wanted to like start that, I mean, you’ve been doing it for 15 years, but if someone was just starting and wanting to land their first government contract, say, Hey, you need to go do this thing. Yeah.

Sandeep: So especially with the, with the government contracts, uh, one of the biggest thing they look for is the experience.

And a lot of times these companies may not have the experience, right? So it’s, it’s, uh, uh, my biggest advice is to go back and put a nice team together. We’re just collaborating, partnering with other companies who have the experience, who have the specific solution and the product that the government is looking for, and, uh, bring all of them together.

Government is all about partnerships. You need to have great partnerships. It could be the state, It could be the federal doesn’t matter, right? You need to have the mentality of partnerships in the government space. That’s very important, right? In a privately held, you know, it’s, you’re all very independent.

You know, you always see the other partner as not as a partner. You see them as a competition, right? But in the government space, these partners become your partners, right? And you go together, um, not, not solo in this, right? So that’s what, that’s probably a good starting point. That would be my greatest.

Nate: That’s great. Uh, the partnership, that’s the, that’s not where my head went to immediately. I was thinking like, maybe you gotta go take a commissioner out on a golf course or something like that.

Matt: Reminds me of the old adage. Uh, if you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together. Ooh, that’s a good one there.

Nate: Dove chocolate wrapper over here. Now we’re talking. Um, okay. So you land that 17 million contract. Uh, like right off the jump with, with Saira, then take us through how quick was that? Is that like that’s three or four years ago? Yeah, it’s three, it’s three, three years ago. Okay. And then what’s been happening over the last three years with Syra?

Sandeep: So after a year, right? I mean, uh, well, before I jump into, we have made it, we had an opportunity to make, make this company public, which is one of the big opportunities for us. And. Definitely always, um, experience has been as a privately held companies, right?

Nate: Well, you had this opportunity to make it public, but this was a thought three years ago?

Sandeep: No, after one year. Wow. Two years ago. After one year. What all happened in that first year that set you up to go public? Yeah, so the two business units we launched with, right? One is the, uh, one is the health education. Yep. And the other one is the healthcare workforce, right? The two business units we started the business as, right?

In the health education, we started with medical communications is on medical writing for pharma, right? That’s what that’s where the experience of Dr. Deepika Vuppalanchi is right now. She has been a vice president for precision for value. That’s been a previous experience and, uh, very big in medical writing side of the business.

And that’s how we actually, you know, took off with with Syra Health, right? That’s number one. Number two, we, of course, had this contract. Uh, that we are one with the state of Indiana, right? I mean, uh, uh, so we had two paths and, uh, we call, we, we call them as business units. And that’s how we started growing in that, you know, in those two spaces, right?

One is on the medical writing side, part of the health education and, uh, and on the healthcare workforce. We are, uh, currently, of course, you know, today we are in, um, more than 15 states winning statewide, uh, statewide awards in the healthcare workforce, actually. Uh, we want so many contracts, you know,

Nate: so when you’re saying healthcare workforce, can you just like break that down for like someone who’s not in healthcare? Like, what do you mean by that?

Sandeep: So we deploy healthcare professionals and we only work with government only and only with government hospitals only, right? And we deploy all the healthcare professionals. It could be a, you know, a BHRAs, you know, which is the behavioral mental health specialist or a CNAs or Yeah.

Uh, with it could be nurses, you know, there’s so many type of categories of people that, you know, we deploy, but the decision was more towards working only on the government only. We were not opening up for, uh, you know, in the private sector with the providers, which is the hospitals. Uh, that’s not of interest.

We stuck on to only that side of the, that side of the business.

Nate: The, the riches, do you dove chocolate wrappers, right? The riches are in the niches. Yeah. Right. So being, being specialized there, I kind of want to want a more broad question here, right? You have these two different business units. You’re a year into the business.

You’re doing the medical writing. You’re doing the healthcare workforce. A lot of times, uh, we talk to entrepreneurs and, and they’re all on the radical focus. Find one thing and just blow that out of the water. With you guys, it’s two separate business units early on in a business, what advice do you have for entrepreneurs that might want to chase These multiple business units, these multiple things, these multiple ideas on how to execute and grow two business units at one time.

Sandeep: Yeah. You need to be trained for that, honestly. Yeah. You know, um, sticking onto the two ways to looking at it, I would say sticking onto one product and one service line, whatever you’re picking is one way to look at it, right? Sometimes you’re putting all your. Um, all your energy into it and all your focus into it and growing.

I always say one way I would say is like, you know, you’re spreading thin, you know, on one side, you know, when you have so many of them. Mm-Hmm. on the other side, focus all of them and, you know, on one thing and expand or, and, you know, and launch it. Uh, and, uh, uh, and, and try to kind of, you know, grow the business that way.

Right. When you have this multi tier or so many types of it, I think you, you, you, you, you should be, I think you should have that mindset. You know, you should, you’re trained for that. You should have the experience for that, right? I’m used to it. You know, I can handle another 10 businesses, you know, I can easily do that.

Right. So, um, new entrepreneurs, they start, you know, with one thing, but eventually, I think it’ll teach them. So, you know, they’re going to just fall into the path of having multiple businesses and, um, you know, multiple ventures. And I think, uh, their experience will speak for itself. But it takes time, right?

Nate: Because when you started still, it was Lily was the customer we did. We did websites and we did product, right? And it’s like, get really good at that. And then you can start to bolt on these other. Another like, I mean, an energy company that just came out of nowhere for me. You’re like, so those two business units are growing.

You’re landing government contracts a year into the business. You get the opportunity to say, Hey, we’re going to take this thing public. Talk to us about that.

Sandeep: Yeah. So we have some great investors coming in and, uh, and, uh, it literally blew my mind when they say you need to take this company for public, right?

Well, initially the conversations were more towards, uh, you have so many, uh, businesses and we like to look at your portfolio and, uh, see if. Uh, the companies that, you know, which can go for public, right? So, um, you know, you know, this couple of conversations into, I never imagined they would pick Saira Health making it public because it is a such a small company.

It’s one year old, hardly a revenue, and also not even, I was thinking, how can it even qualify, you know, how can it meet the requirements of a NASDAQ, right? So I had no idea, of course, you know, I had no info, no, I mean, I was not educated.

Matt: First company you’ve taken public.

Sandeep: Yeah, first company taking public, and I was thinking about my tech company.

My product based companies or my energy company because it has a significant revenues and great, uh, products and services part of it. And I was thinking they would be, you know, there was an interest there, right?

Nate: Wait, wait, are you sure you want that? Like, I got all this over here. Like, you know what, what would it be?

Sandeep: Yeah, yeah. Hardly a revenue. I mean, first year, right? You know, we were just starting off and, uh. It is all about the market opportunity, which is the healthcare business. I could, that’s where I realized why they wanted to invest in a healthcare company and, you know, and, um, and as much, I sound like, you know, it was, I think the valuations on that were different.

Uh, for a, for a, for a, for a healthcare company and all the public markets and I could, I could see why there was an interest in that. And that’s how I think, uh, that’s, that’s the reason I say it is magical in all fronts, uh, why such a small company and, uh, how we made it on NASDAQ for the kind of the revenue, uh, what we have.

Matt: Was it hard emotionally going from private company to now? Publicly traded,

Sandeep: not really. I’m, I’m an entrepreneur, right? You know, it’s all about, uh, you know, I always had a dream of being listed as a public company, but again, um, is, uh, thinking about it as one thing, but maybe I would have done it eventually at some point, but this opportunity just came the other way.

Right. So it is definitely a,

Nate: can you give us like a 10, 000 foot flyover, right? Investors come to you. They say, Hey, we think you have an opportunity to take this company public. This was two years ago. Yeah. And then you just listed this past September, I believe. Right. So that’s like, there’s a decent time gap in there.

What has to go on from like. A conversation at a table where they say we should go public to ringing the bell. What happens in that, in that middle section?

Sandeep: Yeah, so once, um, once we have decided to, you know, go for as a public company, it still sounded like a magical for us, you know? Uh, so we expanded the areas into multiple business units.

You know, we got into behavior, mental health. Uh, digital health and I wanted to put this big enterprise structure and, uh, bringing some more products and services part of this business units. And of course, the population health, you know, which is very specific on data and analytics. So immediately the decision was to build this big, uh, enterprise kind of structure because I think we see a good, um, opportunity in the market.

For these, uh, you know, especially for these kind of, uh, especially in the digital health side of the markets, especially on the population health side of it.

Matt: Um, you’re showing kind of the upside potential where we’re in all these different categories. You’re going from two business units to four business units.

Sandeep: It’s a five business. Five. Now he says, he says, I had two business units. We’re going public. We need three more business. Yeah, more of them. Let’s go. And it’s a big structure, right? And, uh, and one of my thought process was. The decision was good, actually, I made, because it took some time, but, uh, but, but today, all the business units have great contracts, each one of them, and Population Health, we’re in five states, you know, won some great contracts there, uh, Digital Health, you know, we have the SyraBot, you know, the, you know, and also the EMR system, we won some great contracts with that, We have, of course, our, um, uh, behavior, behavioral mental health.

We’ll talk in a second about it. You know, such a, it’s a flagship product, by the way, right? Roll into the market nationwide. Um, launch all this units are well thought through all the product and services are well thought through because we saw the, the potential in the market. That’s super important for us.

And that’s how we launched all this at, after, after we. Thought about it, but going for public, you know, it seems like the old school way of thinking about, uh, technology businesses is either be a services company or be a product company. Can you talk to me about the magic and the benefits of being a tech company that has both services and services?

Technology products, you know, I’ll just say this, right, you know, if you want to bring, uh, uh, the product, uh, journey is very different, you know, it takes a long term, a lot of efforts, but also the results and, uh, the reward is big because the valuations are very different for a product based companies, right?

Uh, when you compare with the services company, I think you can start off really quick and you can bring revenues quick, according to me, right? So service based companies, I think, um, You can definitely have the success in a, in a very short time. Uh, it doesn’t matter what kind of services based company it is, but product journeys are very different because it takes a product build.

You know, you, you need to build a product, more investment, more investment upfront, and then, um, you know, the go to marketing strategies are, you know, in the sense of, you know, who’s your, who’s really going to your first customer. Right. But again, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a big reward. I get it.

Uh, but, uh, sometimes, you know, to, to going back to your question, Matt. I would say, you know, start off with a service based company, uh, bring, bring a service line into the, into the same product company, bring the revenue in, keep the lights on, and then keep with the product journey there, right there, right?

Matt: That’s the long term strategy, invest in products.

Nate: When you’re starting that service company, the key to grow that is you need more people. You need more people doing the service, right? Um, and I know you guys have grown over 175 employees in three years. What tips do you have for other executives out there on managing a team during periods of rapid growth?

Sandeep: You know why you’re growing as a company with this contracts and as we bring it as one way to look at it There’s a two sides of growing with people. One is I call them as billable and non billable, right? Non billable. Spoken like a true service executive, right? Um, billable is pretty, you know, it is, it’s based on the opportunities and the contracts you win automatically you’re hiring the people, right?

So that’s, that’s given, but the non billable are. are, uh, are the one which is actually where we call them as a management, you know, where you’re building these resources for the need. You’re putting investment up front for specific type of roles. Of course, you know, in any business, you know, you’re talking about marketing side, you’re talking about sales, you know, bringing the business development, right?

You’re talking about operations teams, you know, so these are investments that you’re making when it comes to comes down to that. Right. So it’s very important that how you balance it, you know, and I know, and making sure that, you know, you don’t have fallen at a risk of, uh, uh, in the sense of investing so much into those resources and actually, uh, burning out your, all your cash, uh, because those are all non billable resources.

And it’s very important that you try to, as much, you want to take a. Because it’s all about the opportunity that you’re going after, right? And you’re, you’re putting this, uh, investment up front. Uh, you just have to have a calculated risk and how much you want to invest based on the, the kind of the profits that you make, you know?

Because these, these costs, this investment is coming about out of your profits, right? Uh, so you don’t want to go into losses, uh, for this kind of investments. Do you have good character traits, let’s say for, for executives out there that are listening that have, Billable service employees and they have the non billable management employees.

Nate: Do you have good qualities that they should be looking for? Hey, these are some of our best producers on the services side. They do this well, this well, and this well. And that’s how we know they’re going to fit really well at Syrah Health.

Sandeep: Yeah, so one of the biggest thing, of course, you know, with billable, actually, it’s all about the type of, uh, the roles the customers are looking for.

You know, that’s pretty straightforward. You know, we bring the best people for long term, and it’s very important that people stick onto the jobs. You know, that’s kind of the impression we’re forming with our customers, too. So it’s very important for us. You know, the people we deploy into these contracts are there for a long term for the, you know, for the length of the contracts or what we have.

So that’s very important for us when it comes to non billable, which is the management employees, what we call it as one of the thing is the big thing is people who are highly motivated, you know, coming to work should be. Almost like, um, with high energy and we want to make sure that, uh, they’re excited, you know, with the job that they’re doing.

Yeah. I, I tell everybody, you know, there shouldn’t be any dull moments, you know, we have created some great workplace, you know, we keep it very casual. We keep it fun and we want people to be happy. I tell people like, you know, work is like, uh, uh, I wouldn’t say a second home, actually the home, it is the home.

Actually we spend more hours here than actual home, you know, actually literally going back home to, you know. Um, eat and sleep, you know, that’s it. That’s how you, that’s what it is, right? You’re spending so much time here. So workplace is such an important thing. At Syra, we created some great environment, you know, and that’s very important, uh, for us.

We want people to be, uh, very, uh, proud about the kind of the job they’re doing, and, uh, and the kind of the value they’re bringing on the table. Um, and they need to constantly think that they’ve been appreciated, uh, for the, for the role, the job they are doing. And, uh, and that is, at Syra, that is one of the biggest thing we do.

Matt: What are you most excited about? You’re at five business units. You’re a publicly traded company on Nasdaq now for, uh, for more than a few months, uh, and now you’ve, you’ve really got some momentum. What are some of the, you know, what are the two or three things that you’re most excited about with the opportunity at Saira without giving away too many trade secrets?

Sandeep: No, there’s no trade secrets here. Everything is open here. We are a public company. That’s true. That’s a good point. That is true. That’s a good point. So, you know, it’s an interesting setup, I would say, you know, a very interesting structure we have built. And there’s a reason for that, you know, Wi Fi business units.

And actually the sixth one is the government solutions. We just got into the federal business, right? I think I just read an article.

Nate: Uh, was there a 75 billion fund or funds allocated? And you guys were approved as a contractor for that or something? I, uh, I was looking through it and I’d love to hear you talk about that.

Sandeep: No, absolutely. Government solutions is one of our business units. The two things, which is the public sector, what we are working towards. We are, first of all, we are currently in more than 15 states. Uh, providing different kind of services, you know, which is healthcare workforce, population health, digital health, and these are our different products, you know, and services that we’re providing to the more than 15 states right now.

But on the flip side, uh, government solutions also has federal business and, uh, we have launched it last quarter. Uh, and in federal business is very different. Um, we are, especially the top agencies that we will be, you know, we are going to be engaged with is, uh, health and Human Services, uh, C-M-S-C-D-C, uh, department of Defense.

And these are our target, uh, you know, agencies, right? But again, as I just mentioned in my previous comment, uh, just I made is, uh, federal business again, uh, especially working with the government. It’s a different path. It’s different journeys. You know, you have to, it’s a different process of even attempting these RFPs, you know, um, the engagements are very different because usually the contract size and the length is close to 10 years once you win it.

So it’s a great opportunity there and it’s a, it’s a set revenue coming in. That’s the reason working with the government is usually the contract lengths are a minimum of four years, if not 10 years, right? So coming back to the contract that you mentioned, uh, we are partnered with, uh, Curious, you know, which is one of the federal contractor, which has been, which has won, uh, this, uh, which is a vehicle, which is a 75 billion, which is health and human services.

And it gives you an opportunity to access to different type of task orders. And the task orders will be coming in the future. You know, task orders are very specific into behavior, mental health, which is very specific to healthcare workforce. Uh, task orders will be into population health, and these are some of the areas that we are focused with, and we will be going through the task orders.

Nate: So that’s the partnerships, right? Yes. Mmm. I love that. That’s great. Okay. I, I have one, we, we’re kind of getting to the end of the show where we have a few fun segments. I have one more just about public, like publicly traded companies and just, The mindset there. Cause like you said, it’s like nothing, nothing’s a secret here cause it’s public.

Yes. So like this gets announced and your guys’s stock price like skyrockets, right? Like I think I saw over 250 percent or something like that increases. And I just think as, as being someone at the helm and being the entrepreneur, how do you manage the stress of the ups and downs of a stock price? And like not affecting your day when it’s like, Hey, we’re putting in this work and you could be working really, really hard and your price can go down.

Or you can randomly can pop. Like when a big announcement like this happens.

Sandeep: You know, being in a public market is very different. Right. And I’ve, uh, I learned through this in my first month being a public company, we just have to focus on our job here, which is just building the company and bringing some great opportunities to the market as much you want to focus on the stock price, which is nothing but your valuation of the company, too, because it’s the market cap, right?

I get that. But I feel that showing the market, you know, the potential of this company can do by bringing some great success stories and bringing some great contracts and So And, uh, building some great innovation, um, you know, in the, in this market and showing it in the public market. So we can bring some, uh, great, uh, investors, uh, great shareholders.

I tell our employees to don’t worry about. What happens, you know, you know, with the stock price, you know, with the being a public company and that is a setup. That’s a model, right? Just let’s, I mean, I can’t do anything about it. I just have to focus. That’s not in my control. Right. But what the thing which is in my control is building the company, which needs to, you know, because we have some big growth plans.

In the government solutions, we’ll be announcing some great partnership opportunities, being also some prime contractors on one side, and also growing a lot in the private sector too, which is the, you know, the pharma, the payers and providers. And here’s my biggest, the great products and services. Uh, that, you know, we have on the table that we can serve this market, right?

I want to mention about, uh, one of the flagship product, which is the behavior in mental health. We are going nationwide with that. Um, and, and the reason I say flagship product is because we are focusing on a mental health and, uh, we are coming into the market in a, in a, with a different approach, which means that we are trying to focus on the prevention side, but also telehealth in a combination, which is, which means we are focusing on each member, monitoring them, maintaining them as a member.

And, uh, this is all AI backed, by the way. That’s amazing. And, uh, we are taking the approach in the mental health very differently. And we’re going after the big employers, schools, universities, and, uh, big groups, you know. And also categorizing this mental health conditions, uh, you know, which could be very different for, you know, You know, for kids, you know, for youth, you know, for adults, uh, we’re going to have some conversations with, uh, very soon with, uh, the military, you know, with the Department of Defense, you know, because they’re, you know, we’re talking about different, uh, kind of mental health group, you know, and also, I want to also mention is that we are trying to, you know, break the stigma.

We want, as we do a physical checkup every year, we want to do, introduce mental health checkup every year as well for every person.

Matt: I love that. Yeah. And that is going to be the game changer. Big opportunity. And a very important thing.

Yeah. I love that. I’ve, I could ask you a bunch more questions, but I know we’re down to our last, uh, few minutes here. Uh, do you want to jump into the lightning round?

Nate: I would love to jump into the lightning round. Sandy, this is my favorite part of the show. Sure. I’m going to ask you three rapid fire questions. These are, this is going to be less about your entrepreneurship background. Um, and more just about we’re in Indiana.

This is the community here. Um, so without further ado, we’re going to jump into the light, lightning round outside of the amazing entrepreneurial ecosystem. What is Indiana known for?

Sandeep: You know, we call it as a bio crossroads, right? In the sense of having a lot of life sciences companies, we have, uh, great tech companies coming in.

Nate: Uh, you know, it was known to be a lot of, uh, very focused on logistics, uh, but you know, there’s a big shift right now and the startups, what we have, especially on the marketing companies, especially there’s a lot of investments going on there. There’s so many companies I’ve seen focusing on the marketing side, um, uh, apart from this lot of companies, especially as I said, especially on the life sciences and I’ve seen so many companies like that.

So. It’s so much of a diversified and it is so, uh, good to see these companies coming out of in different type of focusing on different type of industries. I have my own personal journey of launching these companies and being, uh, you know, being at a, you know, in a, you know, Hoosier state of, uh, you know, for myself, you take my journey, you know, I have this energy company, I have a tech company, I have a product based companies, right?

I can relate to this. I’m not just the only company here, but I just can relate to this. These kind of companies have been so many in the, in the, in the state. So I’m super proud that, um, even Syra Health, uh, being a, not just because we are a public company, but, uh, something, a launch like this and a part of this in the state of Indiana is just, uh, you know, I, I feel very proud about that.

I love that. Yeah, you should. Right into, right into the segue to the next question about Indiana. What is a hidden gem in Indiana? America is about, you know, you can dream and make it a reality. You know, there’s a land of opportunities. But coming back to the state of Indiana, there’s so much of access, especially from past 10 years.

There’s so much access of, uh, locally within the state itself, uh, opportunities. Uh, we don’t have to go outside the state. And, uh, there’s tons of business over here. It gives you so much of, uh, what do you call, Uh, success you can create locally here, uh, as much as you want to be a nationwide company. You can definitely, uh, fulfill all the, you know, with opportunities and everything and, uh, and have a local success in, in, in this state.

Amen. I love that. All right. Final question of the lightning round. Who is someone we need to keep on our radar? Someone who is doing big things. Well, one of the greatest company

Sandeep: I admire, I follow is, uh, Eli Lilly and Com, you know, I think it’s the greatest company to work with. And should be in your radar, right?

Nate: It’s going to be, um, a trillion dollar market cap is what it is going to be. Right. That’s what I think we just saw from some analysts recently. Yeah. One of it’s going to be the top companies, uh, in the, you know, in the pharma world. Right. So, and I have my own personal success and personal story with Lily.

Right. I would definitely say that, um, Hey, one of the companies to follow one of the companies to do business with. Yeah, that’s great.

Mike Trapp.

Matt: I am going to ask one final question because I’m, I’m assembling a reading list. Uh, from entrepreneurs I respect and admire. And so I’m, I’m curious to know your answer to the question, what is your favorite business book and why?

Sandeep: I see the opportunity and the market potential. And for me, uh, I can jump into any kind of business and it is all about, um, innovation. If there is a, not a big potential, a little potential in the market and an opportunity to succeed in a small way and die and launch it into the market. A lot of people dream about this big opportunity and want to make something big.

I look for a small success. I think, uh, that is what I think, uh, is my favorite thing in the sense of try to try to make it in a small way to start with the success is under a hundred percent going to be there. And then you think back from there,

Nate: are you a reader or do you read books like business books or like, uh, podcast, listen to podcasts or anything like that?

Uh, very little. Very little. Yeah. Ah, I got you. All right. Um, Well, I was going to ask the same thing, but just about podcasts. I’m a podcast guy. I didn’t know if there were any that you listened to that are like, you are, you know, like, Hey, you need to listen to XYZ show. Oh, you can say, get in. That’d be cool.

In the future. Listen to me, bro. Yeah, that is an outro right there.

Matt: This was awesome. Thank you so much for sharing the, your story and also the story of Sarah health. No, thank you so much for having me here. We’re excited. You know, Matt and Nate. Thank you.

This has been Get In, a Powderkeg production in partnership with Elevate Ventures.

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