Vijaya Rao wasn’t always a startup founder. But she has been here before.
Before founding DeliveryCircle in 2014, the Newark-based logistics company (and the #1 ranked startup on Technical.ly Delaware’s inaugural RealLIST Startups), she spent several years as a tech executive for Google and JPMorgan Chase. Now, having moved on from DeliveryCircle, she is founder and CEO of a new Delaware-based tech company: Techvio.
Rao initially stepped aside as DeliveryCircle CEO in January 2020 to focus on developing a new, more robust Decios platform for the company. That platform was installed in May, and, to avoid causing a conflict of authority for new CEO Natalie Putnam, Rao said she effectively left the company altogether, while retaining her share of the company and her position as chair of the board.
“When I stepped down in July, I took two months free, because I was just so tired of working 90-hour weeks,” Rao told Technical.ly. “Funnily enough, for me, I really loved it, but it was impossible to completely disconnect. It just doesn’t work out for me.”
A friend offered her the opportunity to work for their company as a CTO or CIO, and she considered it. “But then I thought, well, that’s another four years, and then what happens?”
Instead, she decided to start a new venture. Something that focused on small and medium-sized businesses.
“I never understood the challenges of small and medium-sized businesses before I started DeliveryCircle,” she said. “When you work for Google and JPMorgan and all those companies, there’s enough money and enough talented people working there to do anything. Managing DeliveryCircle, I met a lot of entrepreneurs like myself. The only difference was I was in tech and they were not. And I thought, ‘That’s not a level playing field for everybody.'”
Techvio was designed to offer fixed-price tech services to smaller businesses, as well as help those businesses figure out which services they need.
Small businesses outside of tech, she said, often don’t know what they need to do digitally to thrive, and often rely on freelancers for small jobs — people who may have no real interest in where their company is going.
“On the other end of the spectrum, you have established consulting companies, and they are also a drain on the resources because they charge a lot,” she said. “And then, sometimes you want a swing and you get a hammock.”
The new venture, Techvio, was designed to offer fixed-price tech services to smaller businesses, as well as help those businesses figure out which services they need.
“Sometimes businesses don’t know what they want and they don’t have the money to spend to get what they want,” Rao said. “It’s better for us to sit with them, see what their challenges are and figure out what is important along with them. Or, sometimes, people have vision but they can’t execute it because they don’t have resources in-house.”
Getting a new startup off the ground requires support, so Rao reached out to her network to find partners interested in joining with Techvio.
“When I was designing DeliveryCircle, one of our investors in D.C. was a guy by the name of Gene Tyndall, with a private equity group. He left that private equity group, went somewhere else, and we stayed in touch, and he’s now party of Techvio,” she said. “I’m building the team in that way. Then there’s Steve Anderson. Steve and I have known each other for many years. Actually, DeliverCircle at one point [was] in talks to buy Steve’s company, FSA Logistics. I decided not to, but Steve and I stayed friends, and now he’s another team member.”
The company, which officially launched just a few weeks ago in January, has a team of five currently, plus three contractors. But it’s looking to grow to about 20 full- and part-time employees by the end of the year. Though the executive team is spread out across the country and remote, the company will be based in Delaware with a physical location that will open soon.
“I would love to have most people [we hire] in Delaware if there is an opportunity to do that,” Rao said.
For now, Rao is back to 90-hour weeks, but she foresees that it will eventually be less demanding on her time as Techvio becomes more established: “It’s like an infant,” she said, “but I’m thinking it will not be 90 hours all the time. It’s more tech compared to DeliveryCircle’s logistics and operations.”
Techvio is currently looking to hire a program manager and a senior software architect. To see job availability, go to Techvio’s careers page.