Say hi to our Chief Technology Officer, Swamy.
Name: Swamy (Real Name: Padmanabhan Ramaswamy)
Sandboxx Title: Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer
Swamy’s life motto has always been “if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”. From a young age, he’s put that into practice both personally and professionally.
When he was in high school, Swamy and his friend set up their first business. A book delivery service. Swamy and his friend rode their bikes to the library, checked out all the free books they could and delivered them to kids for a charge. “We were the only 2 kids on the street with bikes and the business worked pretty well”. However very soon, it became clear, it wasn’t sustainable or scalable. “We were riding bikes all day with no time to do anything with our revenue, and once everyone else got bikes, our business would go under.”
From then on, he knew that creating businesses that helped people is what he wanted to do. Growing up in what’s called “God’s Own Country”, Kerala, India, he was fortunate to graduate with a computer science degree in high school. He quickly realized that the freedom it gave him creatively, as well as the potential of computers and technology in all aspects of life, made it a perfect fit.
He went on to study Computer Engineering and Computer Sciences at a university in India and then taught for 3 years. He then became a software engineer but felt he wasn’t getting to affect people’s lives for the better.
The American dream became a real draw for Swamy, it was at the forefront of technological advances and companies using them to change how people lived their lives. “I wanted to become part of the American technology ecosystem, creativity, and innovation. The impact it has on everyone’s lives was and still is phenomenal”.
He moved to San Fransisco for his first year with $500 in his pocket and worked at a consulting firm where he got his first taste of the American dream. When the opportunity arose to move to New York, he jumped at it. This was the start of 2001.
The first few months working at the startup in New York were exciting, building software for networking equipment with clients from the local area lining up to buy. Swamy remembers 9/11 and watching the towers fall, the company office was mere blocks away.
“I’ll never forget that day. I could see the towers from the debris filled streets of Manhattan and feel the panic everyone was in. The event significantly re-inforced values of being grounded, grateful and never giving up. Years later when I met Sam and asked him why he joined the Marines, he said because of 9/11, I knew that Sandboxx was where I was supposed to be.” – Swamy
With recession looming, Swamy felt it was time to upskill and moved to Kentucky for his Masters in Computer Engineering and Science and worked on some academic projects.
He landed a job in Boston as a software engineer with a small company of 10 employees working in the P&C insurance domain. Over the 10 years, the company grew from 10 employees to 500. “Until I co-founded Sandboxx, it was the best business experience I’ve had. In the start, everyone did a bit of everything, I did Sales and Marketing and Operations as well as software engineering. It really opened my eyes to what growing a business meant”.
Swamy met Sam, our CEO through mutual contacts who put them in touch, who thought they’d be perfect for each other. Sam was looking for a Co-Founder and CTO to build out the Sandboxx platform from an MVP and Swamy was looking for an opportunity to build something that would truly help people. It was a perfect match. And it has been ever since.
Final Thoughts from Swamy
Favorite thing about working at Sandboxx?
When we started Sandboxx and lived and worked in the same house. Now it’s the amazing team at Sandboxx. We have been extremely fortunate with the people who have joined us and share our mission of serving the military community.
What’s been the best part of watching Sandboxx grow?
Watching the team grow, establishing processes and best practices, and the occasional “roll up your sleeves and go back into hustle mode”. I still remember driving to the post office in the early days with maybe 1 letter and being so careful about sending it.
“To grow from 1 letter a day to 10,000 letters and for us to have the same level of care about every single letter from our team is inspiring.”
What do you do at Sandboxx?
My main priority is ensuring that we stay focused on our mission and vision of really helping the military community. Part of that is identifying the needs within the company and building out our teams to deal with it, we are expanding at a really amazing rate so ensuring we get the right people is very important. Also ensuring that our product remains focused on making our users lives as easy as possible, so every new feature and development is well thought out and well-executed. I also consider myself as the self-proclaimed head of Culture, I think people should take their work seriously but not themselves.
As someone who is a civilian and relocated to America, what is it like working in a space dominated by military life?
Growing up, my Uncle was in the Indian military and I really looked up to him. His discipline and work ethic were next to none but more importantly, he always put others before himself and I try to follow in those footsteps.
As someone who was so graciously welcomed to this country and enjoys the freedoms and opportunities I have been afforded here, I consider it a privilege to be able to give back in some way. The U.S. military community is an amazing example of all of the strengths I looked up to in my uncle and as a civilian, anything I can do to make their lives easier is a great honor for me.
Where do you see your future going?
I see myself at Sandboxx for a long time to come, but I’d love to get back into teaching. I currently help out with some local organizations who help kids with entrepreneurship skills as well as doing some volunteer software teaching. I’m a firm believer that “small” ideas can change the world and I’m excited for what the next generation of entrepreneurs are going to do.
Check out Sandboxx Careers if you want to join the team!