Technology in Baton Rouge was virtually nonexistent when Padma Vatsavai’s family moved south in 1999 for her husband’s job.
“The career path I designed for myself, I had to rethink and redesign it if we were going to be moving to Baton Rouge,” Vatsavai says. “I knew I wasn’t cut out to be a stay-at-home mom.”
A native of India, Vatsavai moved to the U.S. for graduate school when computer science programs were the new “sexy” science to study. She had majored in mathematics and physics in her undergraduate studies but was drawn to the emerging potential of computer science.
Competitive as a child, that drive to excel has stayed with Vatsavai and pushes her and her business.
“If I set my mind to something, all I have is Plan A, Plan A and Plan A,” she says. “There is no Plan B or C. I cannot personally take not winning as an option.”
Though she was able to find a job in Baton Rouge, she yearned to contribute to the technology landscape in the Capital Region and dreamed of one day starting a company and creating more opportunities for those seeking tech jobs. Finding the right time and gaining the necessary skills to start her own business were only minor challenges for Vatsavai. The biggest obstacle, she says, was not being a born-and-bred local.
“Being female, being a minority, none of that has been a problem fortunately,” says Vatsavai, a mother of two. “My hurdle has always been that I didn’t go to high school in Baton Rouge—I knew nobody.”
She pulled the trigger in 2008 and started Vinformatix at the Louisiana Business and Technology Center. The business specialized in creating electronic health record systems for primary care physicians.
But although the company was doing well at the time, she saw that the market the company operated in was going to shrink based on policy changes. In 2013, she rewrote the company’s business model. Vinformatix would be a service company, creating products for other companies.
“I didn’t want to be in a shrinking market; I wanted to be in an expanding market,” she says. “I was at a crossroads. But if we would have continued down the same path, we would be closed right now.”
Vatsavai’s decision paid off. Last year, Vinformatix made the Inc. 5000, Inc. magazine’s annual list of the 5,000 most successful companies in the nation. In 2018, Vatsavai’s company earned $3.2 million in revenue, a 370% increase from the previous year.
Even now, Vatsavai is pushing her company to evolve and she has aspirations to enter into the federal space this year. The emergence and spread of COVID-19 only fuels her drive.
“More than ever I feel like we have to be in the federal space for sustainable long-term growth,” Vatsavai says. “When I wake up in the morning I think, ‘I can’t let COVID-19 destroy the blood, sweat and energy I put in to make this business.’ It can’t destroy that—I won’t let it.”