It’s not easy being a woman in tech but there are signs of progress thanks to female trailblazers like Systemates’ co-founder, President and CTO Varsha Bhave.
Through Systemates, Varsha has been able to tackle big issues that have plagued construction management for years while simultaneously inspiring the next generation of women entrepreneurs to follow their dreams.
Globally women only hold about 27% of technology jobs and only about 18% of college students earning computer science degrees are women.
But as we mentioned earlier, there are bright spots.
More and more women are founding companies, taking leadership roles, and paving the way for other women.
Systemates, for instance, has a workforce that is 52% female, well above the industry norm.
Varsha sat down with the Software Equity Group to discuss her story, how she ended up in the software sphere, and her advice to young women thinking about pursuing a career in technology:
This interview is edited for brevity and clarity.
Were You Always Interested in SaaS?
“Growing up in India in the eighties as a woman, I did not have a lot of career choices,” said Varsha. “I was not going take a traditional route—getting married, kids, settling down. I went to architecture school and became an architect.” Varsha’s entrepreneurial journey began after discovering the power of interconnected computers and she founded Systemates in 1997. “I created dozens of websites for architects who, like me, were tiptoeing into the digital world. My first opportunity came from a local architect who wanted me to create hundreds of project websites to track project data for Owners. I had the idea to create a website where the architects could create their own status reports for Owners and called it Projectmates.”
What Do You Love About the SaaS Industry?
“It’s the most innovative industry,” said Varsha. “It’s an ultimate entrepreneurs’ playground where the barrier to entry is low, and the reward potential has no limits. It has revolutionized how companies do business by enabling them to operate more efficiently, reduce costs, and scale rapidly.”
What Was the Toughest Decision You’ve Had to Make as a Leader?
“Selling the company that we worked so hard to build,” Varsha replied. Systemates was acquired by Swedish technology giant Hexagon in early 2023. Varsha said the new partnership was the next step in ensuring the company’s continued growth. Hexagon and Systemates are now working together to develop the next generation of integrated construction management and geosystem technology.
What Has Been Your Biggest Challenge?
“The biggest challenge I had to navigate was to overcome bias as a tech company leader and CTO,” Varsha states, adding that “being marginalized as a small tech company in a competitive situation” was also a big challenge. Varsha also mentions how having a smaller workforce is often equated with not being able to handle large challenges, however, in Systemates’ case that could not be further from the truth. Her team has been able to handle massive accounts with billions of dollars in capital projects because of the strength of the Projectmates platform and the experience of the support group.
What Do You Want to Achieve Next?
Varsha would like “to start a new career in philanthropy with the same drive and focus I had at the beginning of my career.”
What Advice Would You Give to the Next Generation of Women in SaaS?
“I’d say ignore the norms; go for it,” Varsha exclaimed.
Read the full interview in Software Equity Group’s article HERE