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Profile: Vrushali Prasade, Chief Technology Officer & Co-Founder of Pixis

Women in Tech: “Your unique perspective is necessary”

Sarah Schlothauer

Four years ago, we launched a diversity series aimed at bringing the most inspirational and powerful women in the tech scene to your attention. Today, we’d like you to meet Vrushali Prasade, Chief Technology Officer & Co-Founder of Pixis.

research study by The National Center for Women & Information Technology showed that “gender diversity has specific benefits in technology settings,” which could explain why tech companies have started to invest in initiatives that aim to boost the number of female applicants, recruit them in a more effective way, retain them for longer, and give them the opportunity to advance. But is it enough?

Four years ago, we launched a diversity series aimed at bringing the most inspirational and powerful women in the tech scene to your attention. Today, we’d like you to meet Vrushali Prasade, Chief Technology Officer & Co-Founder of Pixis.

Today’s Woman in Tech: Vrushali Prasade, Chief Technology Officer & Co-Founder of Pixis

Vrushali is the Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Pixis, a company providing codeless AI infrastructure for marketing, where she leads product and tech. Prior to Pyxis One, she co-founded and built NorahAI, a platform that can generate game designs and structures in response to simple commands. Vrushali owns five patents that range from deep learning to development of affordable ECG/EKG devices. A former international Table Tennis player, Vrushali continues to enjoy and make time for sports and physical fitness activities despite a packed work schedule. Outside of work and sports, Vrushali enjoys dabbling in poetry and music.

When did you become interested in technology? What first got you interested in tech?

My interest in technology piqued while I was in college. I spent a lot of time working with Arduino, Python, openCV, virtual reality, and embedded systems, in that order, and there was no looking back from that point onwards.

Let’s talk about your background. How did you end up in your career path? What obstacles did you have to overcome?

I’ve always been interested in exploring new ideas and how they can be integrated to build products that solve real problems that are evolutionary in nature. And when we founded Pixis, it was a natural fit as our company’s infrastructure also aims to do the same.

Today I am the co-founder and CTO at Pixis, and I enjoy every bit of it, be it coming up with new products for the company, or improving on the existing ones. This role challenges me everyday, and I would not want it any other way.

Before Pixis, I co-founded a VR company where we built a platform for generating game designs and structures in response to commands. Of course, I encountered, and still do encounter, obstacles of various kinds along the way but I approach them like I would any other problem – in a logical and solution-driven manner – be it sexism in the industry or anything else.

Did you receive support from your family and friends? Do you have a role model?

My parents did have their concerns since I founded my first venture right out of college. In fact, I co-founded my first venture during college and so there were concerns about the risks of doing that. However, my passion and our progress in our venture convinced them that I knew what I was doing. Of course, startups are about trial and error, and I failed multiple times, learning from each failure. Today my family is definitely a profound support system along with my friends.

My mother has been my inspiration and role model since the very beginning. She pushed me to persevere through the difficult times and encouraged me to rise above all problems wiser. I’ve inherited resilience from her, and I believe it’s a crucial quality to have, especially while trying to navigate the inevitable lows of entrepreneurship.

Did anyone ever try to stop you from learning and advancing in your professional life?

Fortunately, no. I’m extremely blessed for that.

When I started my entrepreneurial journey, my parents did worry about the instability that the path brings, especially since I was very young. But I am my mother’s daughter, and I learnt to be resilient from her. Instead of pursuing a master’s degree, and getting a stable job, I am the co-founder of a company, and my parents have been my biggest cheerleaders in that journey. Today, they are proud that I am making my presence felt in a male-dominated industry, and I want to let all the girls out there know that if you can dream it, you can achieve it.

A day in Vrushali’s life

Currently, I am the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Pixis, a codeless AI infrastructure company that builds products for demand generation and marketing optimization. In this role, I am responsible for furthering the product and tech vision in cohesion with the company vision. And to achieve this, I manage a large and varied team residing across multiple geographies.

My days are generally well organized. A typical day at the office is divided into three segments. I start with strategy and roadmap discussions, and a brainstorming session with the leadership team. This is followed by daily briefings and update meetings with the product, engineering, and data science teams. Once these tasks are adequately tended to, I focus on our operational strategy, platform partnerships, recruitments, and process and operational optimization.

It’s the team’s conviction and sheer faith in the vision that makes it all possible.

What are you most proud of in your career?

Undoubtedly, Pixis and the stellar team that makes everything we do possible. Every product, feature or update always begins with an idea that sounds absurd and ambitious. And it’s extremely rewarding to observe how time and again these “absurd ideas” transform into products that solve real problems. It’s the team’s conviction and sheer faith in the vision that makes it all possible.

Why aren’t there more women in tech? What’s your take on that?

I think the lack of enough role models, or rather, the lack of coverage of women in the tech space is a big reason why there aren’t as many women in tech as we’d like. There are comparatively a smaller number of women, which makes it difficult to find women peers to brainstorm with and/or get midcourse advice and mentorship from.

And then there’s the battle with the misconception that women aren’t good with tech, or, are disinterested in tech. However, the environment is changing and there are more and more women speaking up and paving the way for other women out then and that’s heartening.

Could you name a few challenges (or obstacles) women in tech face?

In addition to society’s stigma towards a woman’s choice of profession, the lack of role models and peer support in the industry are challenges women in tech face even today. I believe, if young women have access to more women tech leaders, they would feel encouraged and motivated to pursue a career in this industry. Again, this is something that is changing and hopefully in the coming years we see more women in tech, and cheerleaders of women in tech as well.

How would our world be different if more women worked in STEM? What would be the (social, economic, and cultural) impact?

In my experience, I observed that women bring completely new and unique perspectives to the table. Whether it is a new idea that requires someone to provide meaningful feedback or a solution to a roadblock, I’ve found that women always bring rather surprising and refreshing perspectives. Having more women in tech helps to make innovations more inclusive, accessible, and an instrument for broader social, economic and cultural change in itself.

The industry can seem vast and unforgiving but build your place in it, find strong advisors who back you up, and believe in your ideas.

The discussion about diversity is gaining momentum. How long will it take to see results from the current discussion?

Change is a slow process and is met with a lot of resistance. Yet, I’m already seeing a lot more diversity than we did just 5-10 years ago. As someone who is currently navigating through the tech world, I believe it is my responsibility to support diversity advocacy and make as much space for it in tech as possible. It’s heartening to see bigger corporations making an effort with it and this will definitely motivate people who currently aspire to be in tech. Today, I believe results from current discussions are felt almost immediately because we, as a people, are consciously striving to undo biases and be more inclusive.

What advice (and tips) would you give to women who want a tech career? What should they know about this industry?

This is an extremely exciting time to be in tech, especially for women. I see the environment changing already, women today are far less likely to back out of a challenge. My strongest piece of advice would be to be resilient and patient in the face of adversity – however big or small the challenge.

To women aspiring to be in tech, I say believe in yourself and have absolute faith in your ideas, and you will succeed. Reach out for help, guidance, and mentorship. Don’t be afraid to fail, fall, and pick yourself back up again. The industry can seem vast and unforgiving but build your place in it, find strong advisors who back you up, and believe in your ideas. Most importantly, know that you have what it takes to succeed in a field that is still male-dominated. Your unique perspective is necessary to solve the innumerable problems that will come our way.

More Women in Tech:

For even more Women in Tech, click here

Author
Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer

All Posts by Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer is the editor for JAXenter.com. She received her Bachelor's degree from Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey. She currently lives in Frankfurt, Germany with her husband and cat where she enjoys reading, writing, and medieval reenactment. She is also the editor for Conditio Humana, an online magazine about ethics, AI, and technology.

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