Why I became CEO and Co-Founder of InFusion Technologies

Praveen

By Praveen Loganathan, University of Michigan student and entrepreneur

I am constantly asked, even by my co-founder Alex, why I founded InFusion Technologies Inc. (formerly Go Green Technologies). I am NOT a maker, a hacker, an inventor, or an engineer. So why do I have an interest in running a firm focused on energy research and design?

Two years ago when I came to the University of Michigan, I did not see too many paths to fulfill my passion. Being eager to seek more, I sought how to apply the information I learned into something that mattered.

I wished to find a purpose, a vision, a path to make the most out of my college education. But all the options that surrounded me didn’t seem like a good fit for me. I may not be a maker, a hacker, an inventor, or an engineer, but I am a DOER.

I always wanted to take what I learned in the class and DO something with it. For example, when it came to my classes, I learned about positive business through the stories from successful businessman — and I always wanted to apply them immediately.

The problem was I am not Steve Ross or Dan Gilbert. Unlike the successful businessmen I learned about in class, I did not have the financial means or resources to show how a corporation could implement social impact in day-to-day business. But I wasn’t going to let that stop me at Michigan.

Running InFusion was my way to revolutionize the business world and the education world. InFusion Technologies was my path to test out the theories I learned in class. As CEO of InFusion, I have created a business strategy that encourages positive business and a welcoming corporate structure, or at least I think I have.

I have been able to become a DOER! Two years ago the minor in entrepreneurship did not exist. So I had to create my own self-proclaimed minor and curriculum. Even though I may be a BBA at the Ross School of Business, my real focus is a Bachelors in Engaged Learning. Why? Because I focus on opportunities to throw me outside of my comfort zone in order to grow and learn as I test what lessons I have gathered. At the end of the day, I am comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Here in college you can do whatever you want. There is very little judgement and very little risk. With the University of Michigan, I have a wonderfully tight safety net. I may take a risk to try something out and see where it takes me. If all else fails, my net will not. Worst-case scenario I can still graduate with a degree and invaluable lessons.

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It’s hard to fail, unless you let yourself fail. As a first generation American college student from a middle class family, the University of Michigan has provided me with support from faculty to take my risks to successes. InFusion may end up as a chapter of my life, but the lessons I learned are truly priceless.

If you really want to find out who you are, you need to DO what you are uncomfortable with. I am in a field where I had no previous background and I am constantly looked down upon for not “knowing” the engineering behind our system. Yet each and everyday, I am ok with being uncomfortable. In the beginning, I may not have been an expert on how solar panels worked, how to run a team meeting, how to balance our accounts, or how to pitch our company properly; but I was not afraid to learn. I encouraged myself to step past the classroom and become a master in my own way for the skills listed above. As a result, I have grown immensely as an individual and have become ok with temporary failure.

Like Henry Ford did back in the day with his revolutionary five-dollar workday, I will find my own way to create social impact in the business world. Thanks to the Ross Center for Social Impact, I will be involved in a 10-week self-directed internship, which will bridge the gap in financial means and resources so I can continue to make a positive difference. Some of these resources include collaborating with faculty like Rishi Moudgil, Catherine Johnson, Tanya Upthegrove, and many other unsung heroes at this University.

Each summer, the Center for Social Impact awards competitive grants for nonprofit and public management internships to students pursuing graduate degrees in the Ford School of Public Policy and the School of Social Work. Grants are also available for both MBA and BBA students in the Ross School of Business.

This opportunity enables students to receive a stipend for summer internships, in addition to project management, research, and industry expertise support from the Center. Find out more about this opportunity.

In essence, this internship provides me the necessary resources to be like the Steve Ross and Dan Gilbert’s of the world so that I can run my for-profit company with a positive difference at its core.

Entrepreneurship does not require any prior knowledge, but requires more of a passion to learn, try, and maybe fail. With college students all over campuses striving to learn, I hope this blog post and the others about my summer will encourage individuals to go out and try something new.

At the end of the day, I, like many fellow students, want ownership over my education. My work for InFusion is not for a grade or a resume builder, but it’s MY WAY of creating social impact, learning past the classroom, and being my quirky self.

Praveen Loganathan is a rising junior at the University of Michigan pursuing a degree in business administration and management. This is the first in a series of blogs that will explore his entrepreneurial journey at the university.

 

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