Sanjay Wayal: A Sociopreneur Making Waves in the Indian Biotech Industry

Sanjay Wayal,Founder & CEO

Sanjay Wayal

Founder & CEO

Audentis Fortuna Iuvat’ or ‘Fortune Favours the Brave’ is a phrase that pertinently suits Sanjay Wayal, Founder & CEO, Ishved Biotech. Born and raised in a poor agricultural household, Sanjay batted against every curve ball that life threw at him and built a legacy in the form of Ishved Biotech that today stands as strong support for the community in rural districts of Maharashtra. The inception of this biotech organisation can be traced back to farmer suicide cases of 2012 in the state that perturbed Sanjay to no end. After all, his hometown Vidharba was one among the many where the agricultural community was severely hit by the drought.

During their biking expedition to Ladakh, Sanjay who was then working in a reputed company in Germany and Sandeep Bora (Co-founder) pondered over the plight of the community and resolved to bring change in the existing paradigm, leading to establishment of Ishved in 2014. Hailed as the ‘Iron-Man’ by the Marathi media, Sanjay went on to build one of the largest plant tissue culture units in India and brought alternate employment opportunities for almost 300 people who are today responsible for a mass production of Horticulture, Floriculture, Ornamentals, Forest/Timber and Medicinal Plants.

No stranger to poverty and dearth of education in his formative years, Sanjay’s story is an epitome of sheer grit and determination. With highly limited resources, he received his elementary education under a makeshift school under a tree. It was during this time that a young Sanjay would assume all airplanes were en route to the
States and harboured a dream of one day going to ‘Land of
Opportunities’ himself. Dreams do come true and post completing his MBA in International Business and SAP certification, Sanjay joined Accenture, US where he worked for two years, gaining technical expertise and hands-on knowledge on people skills and management. Later he shifted base to IBM, Germany where he worked as the youngest manager on premises and learned the importance of process orientation rather than people orientation for business scalability.

With more than a decade of corporate and four years of entrepreneurial experience, Sanjay feels that being a leader should come from within and not merely be a part of the job

Education along with such staunch resolve helped Sanjay convert his dreams into reality. Perhaps this is why he regrets not getting his sister educated as well. He recalls, “In our village, there was hardly any emphasis on girl education”. But today, under his leadership, women make up 90 percent of Ishved’s total workforce with ten percent of the status reserved for widows & handicapped women each and five percent for the farmer suicide cases. Keeping their backgrounds in mind, the employees are offered rigorous training where they are introduced to industry regulations & technical management. Additionally, Sanjay insists upon a personality development training as well that helps pave way for a more clear understanding of the company’s functionality. Thanks to his entwined vision, Ishved is currently a global organization with presence across East Asia, Europe, and US.

Rising Against All Odds
A simple & straightforward person, Sanjay understood the knack of diplomacy much later in his career abroad. Though essential for maintaining relationships, for Sanjay, diplomacy never over takes righteousness. Not the one to
engage in a verbal banter, he lets his work speak for himself. For instance, Sanjay leveraged his people & project management skills and devised a micro-managed project that doubled the company’s operational efficiency, making Ishved fully functional within a year. This is an amazing feat for a well known IT expert but a then novice in the plant tissue culture industry.

With more than a decade of corporate and four years of entrepreneurial experience, Sanjay feels that being a leader should come from within and not merely be a part of the job. “Being a leader is very different from being a manager. Unlike a manager, a leader has the ability to channelize the resource at hand to enable core development,” asserts he. A self taught biotech entrepreneur, Sanjay participates in global conventions and engages with industry experts to stay up-to-date with the market trends. By amalgamating his technical knowledge, industrial expertise and accurate people management skills, he was not only able to bring in his employees’ perspective but also align them into a business model that ensured growth for the company and all its stakeholders.

An inspiration to many, Sanjay dealt with several incompetent managers and major lack of technical expertise that proved to be a major hindrance to Ishved’s growth. However, with his experience & an acute understanding of the industry, Sanjay overcame these setbacks. Today he is a well-known name in the biotech industry and prominent speaker at several national and international conferences. As an active participant of the ‘Make in India’, Maharashtra chapter, he guides students and new entrants in the agricultural industry across various colleges.

In addition to gathering professional insights from Germany, Sanjay also learned the necessity of striking the right balance between work and personal life. A true blue adventurer and an avid biker, Sanjay enjoys spending his yearly two-month break indulging in vacations with his family, bike trips and skydiving that he believes is essential building is professional efficiency.