A Slice on Ajay Jotwani Co-Founder and CEO of i2Chain
In the words of Ajay Jotwani “In our world today, cybersecurity and securing information has become pivotal.” I feel confident that for most of you reading this, that’s a statement you’d agree with. Prior to founding i2Chain Jotwani was Vice President of Strategy & Portfolio Management and later Vice President of Mobility Services and Industry Solutions at IBM. It was in this role that he incubated a new program focused on protecting the security of remote workers. Realizing the technology they were using to do this was “rigid” and “hard to implement” Jotwani set out to create a better solution himself. “That’s [the incubator program] really where the ideation kickstarted, that we thought, ‘Can we build out a platform, a non-intrusive, very easy to use, intuitive application that can enable entities to securely share and transact identity information?’” i2Chain is a SaaS platform that secures information and delivers privacy-compliant clouds, folders, and files. “We embarked on a journey where our vision is to be able to secure information transactions, just as easily as Visa secures financial transactions. Even though we are a cyber security company.” i2Chain raised 1.8 million in its seed round.
Although in the physical world very few felt secure during the COVID-19 pandemic, Jotwani shared how he was “delighted” to help communities, cities and people be more secure in their own environments from a cyber perspective. He also shared how the pandemic allowed him and his team to carry out multiple pilots and improved the number of people inquiring about i2Chain. Jotwani went on to add that even larger companies have embraced him and even carry out pilots with him. He feels lucky to be a part of a community of people who help him, especially in Silicon Valley. “Being in Silicon Valley has both advantages and disadvantages, but the advantages clearly outweigh the other. We are fortunate to be in the valley. At this point in time, we are evaluating how do we create back offices in places where it’s a little bit less expensive and where we can scale much faster.”
For Jotwani scaling is important, but he understands much like all other entrepreneurs do, that along the journey there’s always risk involved. “It’s been a risky journey. In fact, when we started, when I left IBM the thought crossed my mind, ‘Hey is this a midlife crisis?’. It’s not easy to leave a cushy job and kickstart a startup. There are risks that we take on a daily basis, not just from an engineering perspective, but also from an overall significant amount of challenges that we have faced.” When asked if he had a piece of advice, for other entrepreneurs who may be just getting started, or struggling, he noted that time is of the essence. He shared that although it took them a while to convert their initial project into a viable business, that starting early, engaging and carrying out pilots ended up proving incredibly valuable, and something Jotwani wishes even they would have started earlier. “The one piece of advice that I would give to founders, is to get to market very early. In fact, even before the product is ready, before the prototype is ready.”
For Jotwani, success is spending time with his friends and family, especially amid the dynamic COVID-19 times, and ensuring that every person that i2Chain touches wins. He wants everyone who comes in contact with i2Chain to win.
Prior to founding i2Chain, Ajay Jotwani was Vice President of Strategy & Portfolio Management and later Vice President of Mobility Services and Industry Solutions at IBM. Today, he harnesses his passion for people, and security into his role as Co-Founder and CEO of i2Chain. Jotwani currently resides in the Bay Area. Connect with Jotwani on LinkedIn.