Kumar successfully Co-Founded/Exited PRIME AE Group, a $70M Architecture and Engineering services firm operating in 18 offices across the US. In addition, he acquired 3SG Plus, a $5M technology solutions firm operating in the United States and India. Kumar serves as CEO and/or Executive Chairman for both ventures to execute growth strategy and maximize operations and financial performance. Kumar brings over 30 years of performance management experience actively investing in an ever-growing portfolio of small businesses and start-up companies.
- If you had the opportunity to meet Steve Jobs, how would you introduce yourself?
If I had the opportunity to meet Steve Jobs, I would probably have laid a red carpet down for him lined with all the Apple products I have ever owned before I could introduce myself. Eventually, I would muster up the courage to introduce myself as one of his biggest fans, not only an avid Apple user but as a pioneer, investor, and innovator who I profoundly respect for his revolutionary impacts in the technology industry.
- What’s the one thing you love about working with entrepreneurs?
As an entrepreneur, I love to surround myself with others who share the successful characteristics of that entrepreneurial spirit—strong leadership qualities, highly self-motivated, competitive, innovative, solid ethics and integrity, and demonstrating a willingness to learn. However, what resonates to my core in working with entrepreneurs is those who share my passion as risk takers. These risk-taking entrepreneurs are typically bold, decisive, confident, and, most important, comfortable with uncertainty. It’s their endless enthusiasm, determination, and drive for success that has always been the fuel to keep me charged. What better way to stay motivated and excited about new ventures or prospects than to surround yourself with those who are comfortable in uncertainty but can still make decisions quickly, value innovation, tolerate loss, and manage expectations? Risk-taking is one of the most necessary business practices as an entrepreneur and is what I love about working with other entrepreneurs.
- What important changes do you hope to create in the next generation of startups?
To lead the next generation of startups, there must be some important changes that I deem critical for this success. First and foremost, my motivation for startups stems from my desire to help others with their companies and how I was supported in my career. I can best offer assistance to aspiring founders to learn from the mistakes I made. Most importantly, identify and delegate areas we, as founders or entrepreneurs, would consider to be our weaknesses. Startups should not be viewed as a one-person show. We should allow ourselves to be the risk-takers we are by trusting and relying on others who can make the startup as successful as possible. To do this, you must tap into your network to find the talent that not only compliments your startup’s mission but challenges your startup to think outside the box, ultimately resulting in its growth and success.
- What is the biggest entrepreneurial lesson you learned the hard way?
The biggest entrepreneurial lesson I learned the hard way could be summarized in one word: failure. All successful entrepreneurs have overcome one significant hurdle: we are not afraid to fail. As Winston Churchill said, “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” I have always believed this to be accurate and built a personal and professional life around this phrase. It is the sum of our experiences—whether constructive or destructive— that test how we handle risk. But no matter what, we must always get back up and try again. Accept with risk may come failure, learn from it, and move on.
- If you could time travel to any period in history, where would you go and why?
This might sound cliché, but I would stay in this current period. Sure, I may go back 10-20 years or so, but the opportunities that are available to me today in the United States, as a non-native to this country, would have never presented themselves to me in any other period of time. And on top of that, I am far too dependent on the advanced technology that exists today to have lived in any earlier era of time. In fact, I would probably prefer to travel to the future and see what innovation lies ahead.