By Shadan Muneer, Freelance Journalist
Dr. Srilakshmi Desiraju is the Co-founder of Triphase Pharmaceuticals Private Limited. She has done her Ph.D in Chemistry, post-doctoral courses from Pune and Bengaluru and an MBA from Canada which resulted in starting her own business venture in India.
The company is into Research and Development of Probiotics from the past 10 years and apart from various awards, the most important milestone was when the company was awarded a US patent in 2018 for the discovery of a technology. Triphase Pharmaceuticals is the only company in the world to have been able to take Probiotics which is temperature-sensitive.
Star of Mysore: Tell us about your entrepreneurial venture. How did you come up with this unique idea?
Dr. Srilakshmi: I did my MBA in Technology Commercialisation in Canada and I worked as a business development associate for 2 years and also as a premium scientist which led into starting my own venture. I always wanted to try something new. I made my company functional in 2009 and started working in the area of Probiotics.
SOM: Tell us more about Triphase Pharmaceuticals Private Limited?
Dr. Srilakshmi: Triphase is world’s first and only biotech company which makes high temperature-stable probiotic strains for various applications. Probiotics are basically dependent on temperature and Triphase looks at developing scientific approach to enhancing the quality of human life. The benefits are just like pharma drugs but without side effects.
SOM: What has been the biggest challenge for you as an entrepreneur?
Dr. Srilakshmi: Funding is always an issue in any industry and my initial funding was from SBI schemes in 2011 which helped me establish my lab. Market access was a bit of challenge as Probiotic is not too widely known; so educating people is required. But now with digital world it is not all that tough but I have gone through my own hassles. It’s just that I don’t put them in front of me and I always found solution for the problem. When the challenge comes through it motivates me.
SOM: What tips do you have for the other women who would like to start their own business?
Dr. Srilakshmi: You need to have perseverance and you have to be clear in your head as to what you really want; whether you want to bring out a good product in the market or want to make money, you have to do it ethically. People fail when they mix many things together and for me the passion is to bring out a good product. A major motivating factor for me was an incident where our probiotic bacteria worked for a new-born baby as we contributed in saving a life. You need to have a bigger reason to get into an entrepreneurship.
SOM: What are the pros and cons of being a female entrepreneur?
Dr. Srilakshmi: Honestly speaking I never felt any pros and cons of being a female entrepreneur. If you are good at your work and know what you are doing, people will give you your credit and you have to be truthful for yourself. I do understand that some women find it hard because they have to worry about adversities. Being a successful entrepreneur is not easy but if you have a goal and perseverance towards making it happen, it will definitely work.
SOM: How do you manage family and work?
Dr. Srilakshmi: Work has always been my priority and my passion is to bring out good product and enhance the quality of human life. I come from a family of academicians and scientists and academic excellence was what was expected. Sometimes family does take a backseat but I’ve been blessed to have a family who has supported me in whatever I have done.
SOM: How do you deal with competition?
Dr. Srilakshmi: Competition in Probiotics is a challenge and a blessing. In India competition is not too much because Probiotics is not too widely known. People understand Probiotics only in terms of curds and butter milk. Competition has not been an issue but I have faced issues in concept selling and educating people as to what Probiotics are. At the international market, yes Probiotics has a lot of competition since we have come up with the technology which is unique in the world.
SOM: What are your views on Women’s Day?
Dr. Srilakshmi: It is a wonderful way of celebrating womanhood and I do appreciate that finally people are bringing women to the mainstream and accepting their decisions. I personally feel that you need to be as good as your counterparts. I take decisions for my company, my family, my house and my life.