You’ve read about our Chairman General Ray Smith, our CEO Sam Meek and our Head of Operations Phil Linder. So it’s only right that the next person on our team that we introduce you to is our Chief Technology Officer, Swamy.
Name: Swamy (Real Name: Padmanabhan Ramaswamy)
Sandboxx Title: Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer
Swamy’s life motto is if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change and from a young age, he’s put that into practice.
When he was in the 8th grade, he set up his first business. A book delivery service. Swamy and his friend took 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 after a couple of weeks, 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 Kerala, India, he was fortunate to get a chance to study computer science in high school and 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 Science and Engineering at a university in India and then taught for 2 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, the creativity, and the 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 startup there 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 hardware products 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 work and the panic. 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 other projects.
He got a job in Boston as a software engineer with a small company of about 10 employees working in the insurance software field. Over the 10 years, Swamy was there 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 the minimally viable product they had 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 we all lived and worked in one house in Connecticut, it was simply my life and I loved it and how we grew. Now it’s the amazing people who we have here at Sandboxx, we have been extremely fortunate with the people and the talent who have joined us and share our mission of helping service members and the military community
What’s been the best part of watching Sandboxx grow?
Definitely, the people, both the team and the people who we are lucky to call users. 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. And 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 hopefully, 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!