tarun sukhani
March 28, 2024, 1:42 p.m.

Journey of Innovation: An Exclusive Interview with Tarun Sukhani

Embark on a journey through the life and ventures of Tarun Sukhani, an entrepreneur and technologist with a diverse background spanning continents and industries. From his early years in India to his migration to the US and subsequent academic pursuits, Tarun's path led him through various roles in IT, education, and entrepreneurship. As the founder of Abundent, Tarun aimed to revolutionize tech training through a developer-focused approach and innovative software solutions. Abundent's presence in Southeast Asia and the US has made a significant impact, providing tailored training in cutting-edge technologies. 

Looking ahead, Tarun envisions further expansion in Southeast Asia and the US, particularly in niche areas like lawtech training. With a focus on innovation and investment in research, Abundent continues to push the boundaries of technology education, earning accolades such as the Malaysia Technology Excellence Awards. Aspiring startups can glean valuable insights from Tarun's journey, emphasizing the importance of financial sustainability and strategic scalability. Through his experiences, Tarun offers invaluable guidance for those seeking to navigate the dynamic landscape of entrepreneurship and tech innovation.

Early Beginnings and Academic Journey

Tell us something about you, your early life and education.

I was born in India, but migrated to the US at the age of six. I spent most of my formative years in the Midwest in the Chicago suburbs and attended the University of Chicago as a pre-med student. I decided that medicine was not for me and switched to computer science and finished my CS degree at UIUC. After graduation, I worked for a number of IT firms before pursuing graduate studies where I completed both a MBA and MS at Loyola University Chicago.

After graduating, I moved to Malaysia to pursue teaching and entrepreneurship. I started companies in mobile software development and education/training and later also worked as a software developer and architect before I moved into a management track and focused on project/product management. I finally entered into the C-suite where I worked as a CIO/CTO for a number of companies and even a CISO/CDO after getting certifications in cybersecurity and data science/machine learning. 

In 2016, I started Abundent where I eventually focused on Edutech and Digital Transformation.

Market Presence and Impact

Tell us about the business and its presence in the target market.

Abundent was started to bring a developer-focused approach to IT and career path development for hardcore techies. The goal was to teach the high-end technical topics in an applied and practical way so that developers could be productive as soon as possible. In addition to training/consulting, Abundent had a software division that released its flagship product, a TMS (Training Management System) that allows training providers to manage their operations, digital marketing, HR, finance/accounting, and more. Essentially, it became an ERP and CRM all-in-one solution for training providers to effectively manage their training business. 

Abundent's presence in the target market has had a huge impact on thousands of our trainees who have been provided with high quality and tailored IR4 training in the latest technologies in use today. Abundent has an international presence throughout SE Asia and the US.

Growth and Expansion Plans

What are some of the growth and expansion plans you have in your pipeline?

Abundent plans to grow in SE Asia through partnerships and collaboration in Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand. We are already present in Malaysia and Singapore. We also are looking at the Philippines. 

In the US, we plan to occupy a niche space in lawtech/legaltech training for individual lawyers and legal firms.

How has the year been for your company?

So far it's been good. We are expecting to grow by over 100% this year in terms of enrollment and hope to achieve our revenue goals as well by Q4 2024.

Competitive Edge

Competitive Edge in the Market

What does your business offer as per the current competitive market?  

We occupy a pretty unique role in the edutech/training ecosystem. In addition to providing software automation services to training providers, we do CDaas or Content Development as a Service. There is a great deal of demand for high-quality content development that is kept up to date for our customers, who can be training providers, freelance trainers, universities, and other educational institutions. 

We pride ourselves on providing software and content development services to our target market and hope to continue our mission to transform high-end software training. 

What measures do you think employees and organizations can take to build effective teamwork and unity?

For Employees:

Open Communication: Encourage sharing ideas, feedback, and concerns openly while maintaining respect for everyone's opinions.

Collaborate and Share Responsibilities: Work collaboratively on projects, sharing responsibilities and acknowledging each other's strengths.

Support Each Other: Offer help to colleagues when they're overwhelmed or facing challenges, fostering a supportive work environment.

Celebrate Success Together: Acknowledge and celebrate team achievements, big or small, to boost morale and foster a sense of unity.

For Organizations:

Team-Building Activities: Regular team-building activities that are both fun and purposeful can help break down barriers and improve relationships among team members.

Clear Goals and Roles: Clearly define team goals and individual roles to avoid confusion and ensure everyone knows what’s expected of them.

Provide Training and Development Opportunities: Offer training programs that enhance teamwork skills, such as communication, conflict resolution, and leadership training.

Foster an Inclusive Culture: Promote an inclusive work culture where diversity is valued, and all team members feel respected and valued.

Encourage Feedback: Create a culture where feedback is encouraged and valued, both from leadership to employees and vice versa, to continually improve teamwork dynamics.

Both employees and organizations play crucial roles in building a team-oriented culture that enhances performance, satisfaction, and unity.

Research and Innovation

Tell us about the company’s focus and investment in research and innovation

Abundent spends 50% of its annual budget on R&D. This represents a significant investment and goes into the further development of our TMS, particularly in the areas of GenAI and automation. We recently won the 2024 Malaysia Technology Excellence Awards for AI in education, the 2nd time we've won this award for our TMS. Our TMS now offers a number of innovations such as:

Automated trainer profile generation and intake scheduling and advertising on social media

Automated generation of SEO metadata for OG/Schema.org and Twitter/X

Automated course generation - speeds up the time taken to create a new course and publish it. In some cases, it can take minutes instead of hours to create a new course. 

Advice for Startups

Any tips for startups looking to get onto the similar pathway?

It's imperative that you have enough runway to last you until the next year. A lot of startups fail simply because they run out of money. Another thing is not to spend the money on cloud offerings. That should only come once you're ready to scale your offering, which should already have been tested by the market.

In conclusion, our interview with Tarun Sukhani offers a glimpse into the remarkable journey of an entrepreneur and technologist dedicated to driving innovation in tech education. From humble beginnings in India to founding Abundent and spearheading its expansion into international markets, Tarun's story is one of perseverance, vision, and continuous learning. Through Abundent, Tarun has not only provided high-quality training and software solutions but has also fostered a culture of innovation and collaboration. 

As the company sets its sights on further growth and expansion, Tarun's commitment to R&D and investment in cutting-edge technologies remains unwavering. His insights and advice for startups underscore the importance of financial prudence, strategic planning, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. As we reflect on Tarun's journey, we are reminded of the transformative power of entrepreneurship and the boundless opportunities that await those willing to embrace change and challenge the status quo. We extend our gratitude to Tarun Sukhani for sharing his experiences and wisdom, inspiring us to push the boundaries of what's possible in the ever-evolving landscape of technology and education.

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