Pavana Jain – CEO and Co-Founder of ShiftMobility

I’ve found that there is always something to learn from your experiences. In that respect, I can’t say that I’ve ever had a bad job. I’ve only had good teachers.

Pavana Jain is the CEO and Co-Founder of ShiftMobility, the automotive industry’s first fully-integrated mobile solution. ShiftMobility connects automotive micromarket constituents with an intuitive and engaging mobile platform. The technology delivers unparalleled market efficiency for multi-tier distributors and local service provider networks. Using multi-constituent architecture, data forms and visualization, ShiftMobility revolutionizes the way the auto aftermarket industry collaborates and grow their business with just a phone or a tablet. She co-founded SHIFTMobility in 2013 and has more than 25 years of technology industry leadership, innovations, and executive management experience at Fortune 100 companies.

Pavana oversees all aspects of the company and firmly believes mobile-integrated-enterprises could benefit from unheralded efficiencies and cost savings. Pavana says, “Automotive industry is rapidly bringing innovations to the technology sector. Connected cars will generate and consume lots of digital content. It is our job to bring highly cost effective mobile integrated cloud solutions enabling the industry to seamlessly deliver content directly to customers and offer an innovative business services network through similar innovations in the auto aftermarket.”

Before starting SHIFTMobility, Pavana held many senior management positions at Oracle Corporation including customer support, product development, product management and cloud operations. As part of the core team, she was responsible for establishing two main initiatives that were instrumental in shifting the company to cloud – Oracle Fusion Middleware and Oracle Cloud family of products. Under her leadership both business units saw significant growth, from zero customers at startup to thousands. She was also actively involved in small and large Oracle acquisitions including Sun, BEA, PeopleSoft, Hyperion, Fatwire, Tangasol, Oblix, and others.

Pavana has a Masters degree in electrical and computer engineering from California State University, Northridge and a graduate of Stanford University Executive Program. She serves as a trustee of leading educational institutions focusing on providing quality education. Pavana also represented India at international and national level in Kho-Kho and Track and Field.

Where did the idea for SHIFTMobility come from?

Arvind and I founded SHIFTMobility in 2013 with the desire to prepare the service industry for the next wave of innovations and simplify information networks for mobility. Working for more than a year sifting through the three diverse automotive information architectures, I identified the need for a common All-In-One Platform that would allow us to build solutions that can vertically integrate manufacturers, distributors, and repair centers – thus making these businesses smarter, faster, and more agile. The mobile platform that we realized is able to handle communications, data delivery, and commerce in a secure network environment, enabling businesses to reach their buyers in seconds anywhere, anytime. Being part of the new W3C standard initiatives for connected cars has positioned us nicely to deliver rapid connectivity with in-vehicle devices and infotainment systems and proactively fulfill the service needs of any car.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

The automotive industry is in the midst of massive change. We see innovative mobile-connected business models rapidly emerging to go after the untapped revenue opportunities. So, my day typically starts off with brainstorming ideas for the mobile connected automotive economy, and ends with more customers joining us in our journey! Not only have we accumulated a massive network, but we’ve done so by solving tangible problems. Frankly, we couldn’t have asked for a better validation of our success than the billion dollar potential ahead. Of course, there are bumps, bends, and curves – but without them our journey would not be nearly as exciting!

How do you bring ideas to life?

Any idea, big or small, does not stay scribbled on a post-it for too long. My approach is consistent with our philosophy of staying ahead of the curve. To bring ideas to life, we discuss the needs we could fulfill and the opportunities we would create. We look at the transformations underway, the drivers for change and the direction we need to take – often visualizing the steps necessary to realize and to succeed. As is the case with any revolutionary idea, you must be prepared to strike when the time is right. So, we build prototypes, talk to customers, and sometimes we put these ideas on the shelf – ready to roll them out when the market is ready and the iron is hot. It’s worked for us.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

I am fascinated with the advances in cognitive systems and the interplay with smart devices and knowledge systems. This could herald the start of a new “AI age”. The possibilities are limitless.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

My steadfast belief in our vision and the team executing it beautifully is self-inspiring.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I’ve found that there is always something to learn from your experiences. In that respect, I can’t say that I’ve ever had a bad job. I’ve only had good teachers.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I would continue along on the path chosen during my Ph.D days – learning from cognitive sciences and acquiring new skills to work on artificial intelligence research. I took a small detour, but I am glad to be back in the familiar space that’s filled with novel ideas for the future. Perhaps someday I will get to work on the next evolution as a serial entrepreneur!

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Do not loose faith when you are chasing your dreams, and have the courage to go that extra mile even when the odds are seemingly against you.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

I surround myself with the best game changers; inventors, investors, advisors, employees, and customers – who all believe in the same vision.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I have been lucky so far, or it could be that I learned to overcome where others have failed.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Imagine being able to place a smart phone on the engine of a car and being able to check the vehicles overall health.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

The tuition I paid for my daughter’s education. There is no investment better than knowledge and learning.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

I am a novice geek at heart and use all sorts of applications. I can pretty much run my business and personal errands using my smart phone every day.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

My favorite book is Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. It is a tale of redemption. The story is gripping and inspirational. This book has stayed with me for a long time.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

I have been greatly influenced by Mahatma Gandhi for his deep thoughts, Steffi Graf for her focus to be the best while carrying herself with dignity, and my mother – for everything else, her fighting spirit and mental strength.


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