The KANINI Journey: Adding Value with Intellect, Energy, and Integrity

KANINI’s story isn’t one of a tech founder who always knew which direction life was going to take him. But it is one of determination and absolute resilience to keep moving forward despite the challenges thrown at him. It’s the story of someone who could have taken the road well-worn under many circumstances but instead decided to be as resolute in his values, and as adaptable as the shifting world of tech business needed him to be. I can’t talk about KANINI without talking about Babu. So, here’s how it all started.
16 years ago, I got a call for an interview with a company specializing in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). They were just starting to build their India presence, and as with an unknown brand, I had a hard time convincing myself about the company. But I was to interview directly with their Founder and CEO. It was a rare enough opportunity to meet a founder of a young company, so I said yes. I met Babu and it was definitely not an interview. We talked about everything from the state of the tech industry to its gritty dynamics for over two and half hours! I realized later that I had made my decision to join them, even before I walked out of that meeting.
I was one of the first few employees to join KANINI in India. 16 years on, I’ve been the COO of KANINI for 11 years now. Still, whenever I talk about the origins of KANINI, my first instinct is to share this individual journey of Babu as a person whom I’ve grown to admire. The right way though would be to give as much context on how KANINI as an organization hasn’t just been shaped by its founding members, but by all the people who joined us along the way and nudged us just enough to set us on the course we are currently on.

“At KANINI, we strive to contribute to the world’s wellbeing by adding value to everyone we work with and making them happy. And, we do this with Intellect, Energy, and Integrity as our guiding principles.”

– Babu Krishna, CEO

If you look carefully through the milestones in the KANINI journey, you can see the critical business and people decisions that were made, the slight pivots in the organization’s direction, and of course the tangents we chased that led us to learn new lessons along the way.

The KANINI Journey - Key Milestones

While some of the decisions are obvious, others raise questions. Recently, I asked Babu to take me through the initial thinking, the why’s, and the how’s. Why did the early KANINI leadership choose a particular business direction to pursue? How did that affect our basic tenets of people care and development? Why India? And more fundamentally, how did it all begin?

In Babu’s Words

“Solving problems while creating employment was always an aspiration for me,” says Babu. “And software development was my expertise. So, I naturally leaned towards putting these two together when we started KANINI, in Nashville back in 2003 and a couple of years later in Chennai. It has been a humbling endeavor.”
“Almost all of our decisions through these 19 years can be explained by answering the questions, ‘How can we add, and are we adding value to our employees, partners, and customers alike? And, are we able to do this with Intellect, Energy, and Integrity?’.”

Growing with Values

What started with just 2 people is now a 750+ people company and growing. We celebrate when we make our customers smile, and still, always put our people’s welfare first. We believe caring for individuals is an ingrained value. Customers or employees – makes no difference! These core values are what kept us true to our vision for building a more human, people-first technology organization. It will be these same values I’ll still talk about when I tell someone the KANINI story 16 more years later.
Author

Srini Karunakaran

Srinivasan Karunakaran, Chief Operating Officer at KANINI, is a tech-savvy IT services delivery specialist with close to 25 years of demonstrated industry experience. He is a strong operations person with extensive experience in Global IT Software Development & Delivery, Business Relationship Management, and Operations Management. Srini is highly skilled in strategic planning and has successfully implemented innovative engagement models that drive cost-effective IT services delivery.