Lokvani Talks To Triveni Upadhyay
Dr. Upadhyay is founder and CEO of Mayflower Communications Company, Inc. (Mayflower), a privately-held company, located in Burlington, MA. Mayflower’s business focus is in Military GPS (Global Positioning System) user equipment and Military wireless communication radios. The company is a recognized technology leader in radio frequency interference (RFI) protection of spread spectrum signals, such as GPS and 3G cellular wireless signals.
Dr. Upadhyay has over 30 years of experience in developing wireless technology, equipment and components. He began his engineering career at Texas Instruments in Dallas, Texas where he was responsible for the development of the first hand held GPS receiver. Subsequently Dr. Upadhyay worked at Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, MA where he was a Group Leader.
Dr. Upadhyay founded Mayflower Communications in 1986 where he has provided technical and management leadership in advancing cutting edge technologies and developing wireless navigation and communications products. Dr. Upadhyay’s technology leadership at Mayflower has resulted in the company being designated by the Air Force GPS Wing as a “Military SAASM Receiver Developer” – the only small business to receive the designation by the government.
In March 2000, Dr. Upadhyay founded Envoy Networks, Inc., a VC-funded 3G cellular wireless infrastructure company. He served as the President and CEO of Envoy, which was acquired by Texas Instruments in February 2002.
Dr. Upadhyay has published over 20 technical articles and journal papers and has written a chapter in a book published by Academic Press (see attached biography). Dr. Upadhyay is co-inventor of four (4) patents awarded by the U.S. Patent & Trademark office.
What motivated you to start Mayflower Communications?
Beginning at Texas Instruments and then working at Draper Laboratory, I have spent most of my professional career developing and advancing GPS technology and products. We knew even then, about 25 years ago, that GPS is cool technology; even though it was first developed for the Department of Defense, it could have a tremendous commercial market. I guess our prediction was right.. Mayflower was founded, more than 20 years ago, to further develop and commercialize GPS technology.
What is main mission of this company?
The primary mission of the company is to advance wireless navigation and communication system technology for both the government and commercial market. We found our first technology niche in radio frequency interference protection of GPS and other wireless communication radios. This interference could be unintentional from another friendly radio or intentional from an adversary. In either case, the interference must be mitigated in order for the radio to work.
The company has come flying though the many ups and downs of the financial world. What is the secret to its success?
Part of Mayflower's success is attributable to maintaining technical innovation over the years and the other part is a tribute to its conservative financial management philosophy. One basic tenet of our success is to keep the customer's interest first , even if it costs more in short term.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs who may be thinking of starting a company ? Is this the right or wrong time to do this?
There is no good or bad time for an entrepreneur. The only requirement to start a company is having a compelling business idea that one understands and believes in, and is uniquely suited to carry-out. The rest happens.
What areas in the field of communications would you consider as ripe for new companies?
Not counting the dot-com bubble, third generation(3G) cellular wireless communications was a very hot idea in early 2000 - probably ahead of its time. Several companies in this market segment were started and some are still doing well. 3G is being deployed now and the market share is expected to grow worldwide. Communication technologies that offer better capacity for a given spectrum, cognitive radios that sense the environment and configure accordingly, communication technologies that extend battery life are some examples of what may be coming.
You have been an active member of the Democractic Party. Why do you think it is important to take an active role in American Politics?
Whether one takes active interest in politics or not, we are all effected by the policies our government chooses to adopt. This is true when one is concerned about privacy, access to health care, or oversight and regulation of financial markets. The latest hot topic is congressional renewal of Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program which has been very successful and now other interested parties want a piece of the action. I like to think that taking active interest in American politics is part of being a good citizen and therefore, I encourage everyone to do so.
What advice do you have for youngsters who may think of running for office?
Do it for good reason. Running for office is like being an entrepreneur - one should have a compelling reason and belief to do so - make a difference in average citizen's life. It is very tough but it could also be very rewarding.
Thank you for you time
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