On the road from an asylum seeker to a thriving refugee – analytics and strategy entrepreneur

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The Goal:

I am an Indian citizen (Passport No. U3996623). I have applied to close to 300 positions in India over a period of 6 months on LinkedIn, company career email ids, and industrial clusters. Not a single interview call. I can’t go without work for 9 months. I have 8 years of experience in analytics and strategy. My toolkit consists of statistics, optimization, simulation, and mathematical modelling across marketing, manufacturing & supply chain, finance, and strategy. I have a PhD 1st year in strategy simulation (with a Teaching Assistantship). I also have a tuition scholarship from The Santa Fe Institute, US for one of their complexity modules. I have a Master of Technology 1st Year in Modelling and Simulation. I have postgraduate certificates in Analytics (IIT Bombay) and Economics (IIM Calcutta). I am a Mechanical Engineer with a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management majoring in Marketing. I have a standardized GMAT score of 730 (96th Percentile) taken in August, 2011. I have letters of recommendation from a statistics faculty at IIT Bombay, and a management PhD from Carnegie Mellon. I have also tried to work part time in data entry but made next to no money. I decided to move out. I have travelled from Mumbai via Delhi to the Indian border in Sonauli. I walked over on to the Nepal side and took a bus and arrived in Kathmandu on 21st March, 2021. I am currently put up at Traveller’s Dorm Bed and Breakfast, Rayamajhi Marga, Kathmandu. I am booked till the 6th of April, 2021. I have the support of my friends. I am divorced and have no immediate family. I have asked UNHCR, Nepal to grant me the asylum seeker status at the earliest and protect me against refoulement. With no salary coming in I have maxed out on my bank balance:

https://github.com/PrashantPD/GoGetFunding1 (My Bank Account)

To expound more, all analytics companies worth their salt have overseas clients - no clients in the Indian industry. The only fellow I know who has a PhD has a doctorate in statistics and is no longer working out of India. Now there is one other fellow who has a PhD in operations research but he works in machine learning a discipline that has a strong computer science element. There are guys at IBM Research who have a PhD in operations research but they are not involved in management science. For the record, on my flagship academic journal, Strategy Science there are no India-based academics on their editorial list, no one has published a paper, and to the best of my knowledge not a single faculty or PhD candidate actively looking to make a contribution in strategy simulation. In my industry the golden standard to recognise one’s contribution is the Franz Edelman award given out annually by the Institute For Operations Research and Management Science (INFORMS). In India we have the equivalent given by the Operations Research Society of India (ORSI) but the work has had to be carried out in India. But with little envelope pushing work happening in management science I find no forum for active scholarly contribution or participation.

India has its share of dreamers who want to set up successful businesses and people who pursue PhDs in narrow scientific disciplines but they find their way into academia where the record for scholastic publication leaves a lot to be desired. Those who do get into the industry tend not to pursue expansive world leading ideas. But with a poor ecosystem, there are no world beating companies yet coming out of the stable.

So there are growth centers like Hyderabad known for its coding prowess, Bengaluru with its IT mandate, Delhi with a chunk of all the strategy work happening in the country, Mumbai-the financial capital, Pune-the so called Oxford of the East. But not a place where I can thrive.

I am currently writing code for a customer analytics product that integrates with strategic pricing decision-making based on lop sided discounts offered to customers. A 1% increase in price typically leads to a 5% increase in margins. I have the technical documentation ready:

https://github.com/PrashantPD/GoGetFunding1 (Strategy and Analytics Tool)

This is how I intend to get my foot in the door. I have the US market in mind – will begin with Los Angeles because of widespread data-centric customer excellence prevalent in the Silicon Valley. I will connect with marketing heads on LinkedIn. I will meet them in person make a presentation and give a demo. I will meet around 20 prospects in a week.

There are analytics vendors and there are strategy vendors. I will be the customer analytics and strategy provider of choice. And pricing is one of the most powerful but least understood disciplines of all (https://www8.gsb.columbia.edu/cprm/about). The tool will have an aesthetic user interface designed open source using R, the least disliked programming language (https://stackoverflow.blog/2017/10/31/disliked-programming-languages/#:~:text=The%20most%20disliked%20languages%2C%20by,of%20people%20who%20liked%20it) and will be hosted on cloud.

The tool will have an annual and an in-perpetuity license that will go for $10K. It should be light on the pocket. I am looking at a sales cycle of 2 weeks to close deals.

I will be located down the road at a co working space. I will also open a US bank account to enable friction-free business transactions. I will invest in R&D and make the upgrades freely available.

So we are not blind nor naïve as we round out our quality, service, and price deliverables to compete with the very best (https://www.cmu.edu/swartz-center-for-entrepreneurship/assets/NSF%20I-Corps%20/Competitive%20Analysis%20.pdf).

I am 40 and would like to believe I still have 30 years of enthusiasm, spirit, and a dream.

The impact:

I need a place of residence. I intend to buy my passport at Dominican Republic through investment (will need around $100K) after close to 3 years of savings. I want to get into a US Top 20 PhD program in strategy where the methodological grounding requires computer simulations. My job market paper will enable me to work as a full time faculty. I obviously want to get married and have lots of kids (3 girl kids if someone’s asking).

What I need and what you get:

I am seeking $20K in crowdfunding for my campaign. This will go towards my subsistence, sales cost, and travel to the US on a business visa. You will get my heart felt gratitude for your donation.

Risks and Challenges:

Even if we don’t hit the target, I will buckle down, travel, and get the first client in which should help kick-start something. The LinkedIn contacts, the palpable analytics and strategy tool, and the in-person presentation and demo will count for something.



  • Anonymous
  • Donated on Apr 05, 2021
Apr 02


Update posted by Prashant Prakash Deshpande at 03:31 pm

You will find a copy of it here (Prashant CV):https://github.com/PrashantPD/GoGetFunding1

See update

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  • Anonymous
  • Donated on Apr 05, 2021


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