Alumni Spotlight: Soumya Tejam

Technovation recently had the chance to reconnect with Soumya who is a 2015 Alumna and hear about her experience with tech, what she’s working on now, and what advice she has to girls interested in technology and entrepreneurship.

My name is Soumya Tejam and I participated in the Technovation Challenge in the 2015 season. My world pitch experience has in the most cliched manner changed my life. In the past two years, I’ve gone from zero coding experience to teaching a group of underprivileged girls in my community how to code, starting my own company and developing my app Cappable.

The app that I built for Technovation is called Cappable and it acts as a bridge connecting physically challenged job aspirants with corporations willing to hire them and NGO’s aiming to help them. It will be available for Android and iOS very soon and through the process of programming it, I’ve enriched my programming skills which I hope to implement in other projects. I’ve got positive feedback from the people who I hope will use this app and I can’t wait to see it in action.

Since World Pitch, I have also founded a business venture — BookBite. Founded in the summer of 2016, BookBite is a subscription box service thats sends out a curated package containing a Young Adult novel, short stories by budding novelists, bookish goodies, and an exciting online experience which gives you access to discussion forums and online downloadables. I started BookBite because I noticed the lack of passionate readers in our community and sought to change that attitude among my peers. Through the process I’ve learnt a good load about running a business, from customer acquisition to engagement and retainment. Through BookBite, I’ve run competitions, BookTalks, donation drives, and reading sessions. I’ve also gotten the opportunity to present my venture to Sandy Carter and speak at the IBM India Onward conference with Vanitha Narayanan in Delhi about the work that I’ve been doing.

I’ve been working on a particular section of technology that I think is going to change the way we use technology today. Artificial intelligence is one branch of tech that I’ve been exploring through IBM Watson. As I learn more about how to implement it and it’s applications, I’m eager to use it for my app and my venture. For BookBite I hope to use it to personalize the curation process through personality insights that we learn from a person’s social media presence. With Cappable, AI can help us better match job seekers with employers. AI is the way forward and I’ve been lucky to interact with some people building amazing applications with it.

I’ve also started mentoring a group of talented kids from the Parikrma Foundation School, a school for underprivileged children. My objective through these sessions is to teach them the power of code and how it can bring about a positive impact in their lives. My goal is to get a team for Technovation very soon!

Lastly, my message to girls learning about technology is to keep challenging themselves. When I interact with other students and programmers, it’s very encouraging to learn about the work they’re doing. I constantly try to learn new things and I think it’s a great idea to keep putting yourselves to different tasks. Through BookBite and Cappable, my goal is to impact the lives of readers and people with disabilities, but through technology, my goal is to impact the way we live.

Do you want to share your Technovation story? Email Maggie at [email protected]