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5 Questions with Vaibhav Vohra

Learn more about our VP of Product, Vaibhav Vohra

It's time for another installment of 5 Questions, a series celebrating the incredibly talented and diverse individuals that make Bossa Nova awesome. 

Last time, we sat down with Amy Han, our VP of Hardware Engineering. Click here to learn how she expertly leads the design, development, and productization of our next generation robot hardware.

Meet Vaibhav Vohra, our VP of Product! An experienced Vice President and Head of Product who has ideated and scaled machine learning, AI, and data products to markets including retail, CPG, banking, and e-commerce, Vaibhav is helping Bossa Nova launch our Data as a Service (DaaS) Cloud platform product into the world's largest retailers.

Tell me about your background and how those roles and experiences led you to Bossa Nova.

I started my career as a Communication Systems Engineer where I designed satellites. A lot of what I built ended up in space and is still in space today. At least I know I did my job if they’re still flying around up there! I even worked on the Patriot missile defense system.

After this, I decided I wanted to get more into the business side of things, so I went and got my MBA from UCLA. I then joined the CTO's office at SAP where I assisted with mergers and acquisitions and portfolio management. I helped build their portfolio from 1 to 4 cloud products within a year, all the way from ideation to customer success. I launched 6 to 7 cloud products during my tenure there. These products covered things like marketing audience discovery, Cloud communication, and DaaS, which was SAP's first enterprise service! My focus was at the intersection of retail and mobile customer experience so that made the transition to Bossa Nova an easy decision. Once I learned about the work we were doing with robots, I was completely sold.

What does a typical day at Bossa Nova look like for you?

My main goal is to provide a "north star" for where we're headed as a company. I'm there to set the right expectations and priorities for the team and make sure our customers understand and are excited to use our technology. Bossa Nova can be particularly challenging because you have the DNA of software, robotics, and field operations - a diverse set of disciplines that must work harmoniously to deliver our unique solution. 

We're moving and scaling at a rapid pace and every decision we make has to be strategic. The challenge right now is: we have sensors that are capturing data, and we're monetizing that sensor data. How do we take the insights we've gleaned from our time in retail to select the right sensors for our product? How do we partner with other companies to action these insights? It's important for us to look at our DaaS model not as a pipeline from Point A to Point B but as transforming every facet of retail operations in real-time. It’s quite exciting!

What’s your favorite part about working at Bossa Nova?

I love being part of a team that’s the first to build and deploy a new technology at scale. We're continuously innovating and challenging ourselves. I've found there's no better place to work than with other people who share that same goal!

What do you think is the next big thing in tech?

I think the next big thing in tech will be the absence of tech. When you talk to retailers, they're always bombarded with the next fancy way to do things. The thought process is that with machine learning and AI you can reduce manual operations, but I think the human relationships and our contextual problem-solving abilities will never go out of style. I feel like the next big wave of tech will involve making sense of all the data machine learning and AI can capture.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

I have a 2-year-old son who always gets up before I do, and he's ready to take on the world. For him, it's all about exploring and experiencing the world. For babies in general, it's all about signal and noise. There's so much noise in their world that they can't understand if they don't know what it is, but they have a good way of deciphering signals from all the noise. At Bossa Nova, one of the questions we contend with is "what is the signal from the noise?" - not just from a data perspective but also a design perspective. There are so many ways we can tweak and refine every aspect of our solution, and it’s important to take in and process that noise to detect the right signal that will guide our future.

What did you want to be growing up?

I always wanted to be a basketball player, but the number of 5'10" Indian players that I could look up to in the state of Alabama was minimal, to say the least. I think that's why my interest shifted to something more "realistic" - NASA!

Bonus Question: What's one item you buy every week at the grocery store?

I know I'd say something else to save face, but my wife would give you the honest truth on this one. Cookies!

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