Meet Sukhi Lamba
At a time when there is so much uncertainty, what we do know is that people can change the world. At NEC X, the technologies we accelerate into viable businesses through our incubator program are hand-picked by top NEC Laboratory researchers. Our Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIRs) partner with researchers early on, seeking to unveil the extraordinary potential in these technological solutions to create new social value.
Our EIRs come from diverse backgrounds. For some, their entire career has been centered around entrepreneurship; others became entrepreneurs later on in their careers. For Sukhi Lamba, it was the latter. Through our accelerator program, Sukhi is in a position where he can see his impact as an entrepreneur, quickly. Working at NEC X, he feels energized to make a difference and to foster the next breakthrough startup that will positively impact society.
Sukhi joined our Silicon Valley team for three distinct reasons:
“First, my absolute obsession with solving a problem I’ve personally experienced with past customers; second, the chance to work with top-notch technical, research and startup teams; and third, validating significant product solution and market fit with our customers.”
Sukhi exemplifies the value of lifelong learning and has gained a diverse skill set over the years. In terms of formal education, he holds B.E. in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), an M.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of South Carolina, and an MBA from the University of Michigan. He also has had significant real-world learning; from the start, he’s been involved in cutting-edge technologies, working at Ford in the late 1990s to the early 2000s, leading computer-aided engineering programs, and the hybrid electric program.
He then moved on to his career at IBM, where he gained exposure to dynamic problem-solving techniques as a consultant, leveraged this knowledge to work in sales, and served as a customer success manager. After working in quite a few different roles with various companies, Sukhi’s experiences shaped his motivations to be an entrepreneur. In his words, “I want to bring our customers significant value from our product and experience, something they won’t receive anywhere else.”
In 2013, Sukhi officially became an entrepreneur and founded a startup focused on product life cycle management to manage computer-aided design data over the cloud. Although he had to close this startup after two years due to some technical roadblocks, it was a significant learning experience for him. Even though it can be discouraging if a startup doesn’t achieve success, entrepreneurs need to be proud of themselves for pushing outside their comfort zone and use these past experiences as lessons for improvement. For example, after this startup, Sukhi went to work at a different startup company, where he created an ethos of customer-centric culture and hired sales teams from the ground up, to successfully create market traction.
Even when times are challenging, for Sukhi, gaining customers’ trust and delight is a powerful motivator to keep fighting for his startup projects within NEC X. The end goal for his projects is to have a successful, highly visible, and well-invested launch. Sukhi advises that those interested in becoming entrepreneurs should only pursue opportunities where they are genuinely passionate about the problems they are solving.
Another critical aspect of the entrepreneur community, mindset, and growth is access to mentorship. NEC X offers opportunities for mentorship, and many of our EIRs were already acting as mentors in Silicon Valley, as you may remember from EIR Massi’s Q&A. Since 2012, Sukhi has been the co-chair of the Indian Institute for Technology Mentorship Program, and a mentor with IIT Startups, where he has mentored countless startup founders, specifically with sales and business development. Overall, these commitments have engrained Sukhi in Silicon Valley entrepreneurial culture.
What we want our community to take away from Sukhi’s experience is that it’s never too late to become an entrepreneur. You don’t need a degree in entrepreneurship to change the world. There is no ideal combination of work or educational experience that will make someone the perfect entrepreneur. Instead, what matters is how you apply your background to the problem at hand to develop your solution and achieve a positive outcome for your passion. When you give customers’ their “aha moment” after resolving their most complex issue, you will see what we mean. At NEC X, we do this by fostering excellent team cohesion. Our tight-knit culture helps us solve very complex issues for our customers.
At NEC X, Sukhi feels he has the best of both worlds, with the support of a respected multinational company while still running his own startup. Ready to experience that for yourself?
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In 2019, Sukhi began his EIR career with NEC X. As a seasoned entrepreneur with decades of career experience, he is a firm believer in pursuing what you’re passionate about. Sukhi consistently gives back to the community by providing mentorship to startup founders for sales and development, with the end goal of enabling rapid scale-up. He currently leads an NEC X technology startup project that tracks the indoor location of first responders for better command, control, and coordination to create safer outcomes.
If you have any questions you would like to ask Sukhi, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.