Raj Ananthanpillai’s vision for InfoZen

Raj Ananthanpillai's vision for InfoZen - top government contractors - best government contracting event
Raj Ananthanpillai, CEO of InfoZen

Raj Ananthanpillai, CEO of InfoZenFour years ago, Raj Ananthanpillai was named Chief Executive Officer of InfoZen, Inc., a multi-million dollar IT services provider specializing in enterprise e-solutions, risk and data management solutions, and enterprise infrastructure management for both public and private sector organizations. In the following Q&A Ananthanpillai talks about his vision for his company “” it has in excess of $150 million in contract backlog, with the goal of becoming a $250 million company in the next five years. Plus, Ananthanpillai explains why he’s passionate about mentoring emerging companies in the area.

Tell us about your company and what you do.

Raj Ananthanpillai: InfoZen provides IT and engineering solutions to the public and private sectors and has been doing so for more than 12 years. Currently, most of our business is in the public sector. In addition to our core services, InfoZen has a leading edge software platform for credentialing and risk management for national security-sensitive and related applications. This platform is currently in use with a large agency of the federal government. Our primary focus is risk screening and management as it pertains to national security, intelligence and law enforcement.

What is your approximate revenue and number of employees?

Raj Ananthanpillai: As a private company we do not disclose our financials. However, our 2007 revenues were between $25-$50 million, with more than 150 employees. Our average growth per year for the past 4 years has been around 65 percent and we expect to continue to grow steadily for the next several years.

Who is your biggest customer?

Raj Ananthanpillai: Within the federal government, Department of Homeland Security is our biggest customer. Some of our other customers include Department of Justice, an intelligence agency, Health and Human Services and Nuclear Regulatory Agency.

How does InfoZen differentiate itself?

Raj Ananthanpillai: Our vision of innovation, performance, and customer satisfaction are primarily driven by our core values “” customer commitment, employee excellence, empowerment, collaboration and agility. We are not necessarily your typical small business government contractor. Our customers tell us that we are a “big“ small company. InfoZen's main differentiation is its seasoned and experienced management team. In addition, we focus our attention on growing our core business and technical strengths. InfoZen constantly strives to be the employer of choice. Our culture is very entrepreneurial and dynamic and hence agility is one of our core values.

What will the company look like in 5 years?

Raj Ananthanpillai: My goal is to continue to grow the company. We have in excess of about $150 million or so in contract backlog (business we have won over the next several years). While we will continue to grow organically, we will look toward acquisitions for sizable step ups in our growth. Our goal is to be a $250 million company in the next five years.

Since we are very entrepreneurial and do not hesitate to take well understood risks, I envision InfoZen being in businesses in which we are not currently involved.

What is your leadership style?

Raj Ananthanpillai: Predominantly, very entrepreneurial. We don't have a lot of management layers. My personal leadership style is to hire the best, give them the responsibility and more importantly the authority to execute and deliver. I tend to lead by example.

You give back to the community by mentoring. Tell us about that.

Raj Ananthanpillai: I mentor a lot of emerging companies in the area “” pro bono, of course. I help people develop their businesses by advising them on key hires, business plans, financing strategies, etc. I also teach competitive strategy at John Hopkins in their MBA program. In support of the local community and to encourage the youth of Montgomery County, I also volunteer with the county's business roundtable by speaking to high school freshmen on the importance of performing well in school and aspiring to achieve well for a successful career and jobs.

What do you think is the future for the public sector market?

Raj Ananthanpillai: It goes in cycles. After the dot com bust, people are looking for companies that can sustain and manage predictable revenues and profits. There is going to be a lot of consolidation over the next five years. It's a natural phenomenon in any industry.

What advice would you give your fellow entrepreneurs?

Raj Ananthanpillai: Don't be afraid to bring in good management “” because most people tend to stick to their own friends and family and not bring in experienced professionals. And, at the end of the day, management can make or break a company. It is important to determine if the business you are running is a life style business or you intend to provide some liquidity to all the share holders. The growth and success factors could be vastly different depending on the approach one takes.

What is something most people don't know about you?

Raj Ananthanpillai: I really enjoy interior decoration. It's a hobby “” making things and seeing the results the way you want them. That is something that I really enjoy and I don't get to talk a lot about it in my professional career. I guess this hobby goes along with my entrepreneurial spirit and desire to build.

I am also very fortunate and blessed to have accomplished a lot at a very young age, thus enabling me to give back and provide opportunities for others to do the same.

Interview with Raj Ananthanpillai conducted by Lisa Singh.

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