It’s one thing to be an entrepreneur. It’s another thing to pull it off multiple times. Bala has been there and done that. While fortune favors the brave, Bala’s success is also due to an uncanny knack for spotting trends, an endless reservoir of energy and passion to ideate, strategize and execute and a charismatic, down to earth working style that has won friends and helped him assemble the best teams in business.
Among other things, Bala has built three companies, the latest of which was Snapfish, bought by Hewlett Packard in 2005. As General Manager and MD for Snapfish International, he led its growth into becoming the world’s largest online photo site with 100M+ users, and expansion into 20+ countries in Europe and Asia Pacific. Later, he worked with Mr. Nandan Nilekani, Chairman – UIDAI, and played a seminal and leading role in defining the application strategy and developer ecosystem on the UIDAI project, considered widely as the most complex project of its kind anywhere in the world.
To describe Bala as just a successful entrepreneur is to leave an interesting story half said. His insatiable appetite to see the world has taken him on personal adventures across 80 countries in the world and driven him to acquire fluent spoken Spanish, Italian and French and a surprisingly effective grasp of German and Portuguese, endearing him to many a waiter at restaurants all over the world. He has climbed the Kilimanjaro, trekked the Andes, Alps and the Himalayas, motor-biked across the African continent, up the highest motorable road in the world at Leh, ridden boats, camels and ramshackle trains – in the quest for experiencing those indescribable moments which have made him what he is. He shares his love for the world and adventure with his wife, Dana and their three kids.
Prior to Snapfish, Bala co-founded Wyatt River Software, which was acquired by what is now SafeNet and started his career as one of the early engineers who built Digital Link, which went public in 1993. In 2006, he was recognized by University of California – Santa Cruz with its highest honor for alumni as a “Distinguished Alumnus”. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.
At the end of the day, Bala considers himself as just another guy who likes to drink life from a fire-hose, and believes that there is always a new world waiting to be conquered.