Curai Software Engineer Spotlight: Viggy Venkataraman
Curaians agree that one of the best aspects of Curai is working alongside our teammates each day. To highlight what it’s like working here, we are writing a spotlight series to showcase our colleagues and share a bit more what the day-to-day is like and what we are building.
Why did you decide to join and what keeps you here now?
Right before I joined Curai, I had just gone back to Stanford to finish up my masters degree in CS. I realized pretty quickly upon returning to the academic world that there was some overlap between things I had learned in my time in the workforce, but for the most part the coursework I was doing was far removed from the real-world problems I had an interest in solving. Then Neal (my freshman year roommate and close friend — and now my boss) came to me with an opportunity to work at Curai on a problem that was on my list: healthcare. I joined up, switched my masters to part-time, and never looked back.
My reasons for joining are the same as the reason that I am still here — the mission, the people, and the technical challenge. A chance to work on a very complex problem, in a space that has real tangible impact, alongside people that I truly enjoy being around, working with, and learning from — that is what gets me up every morning. And the fact that I can pursue my passions within and outside work makes it all the more rewarding.
What makes our engineering team culture unique?
I really do think that we have a very diverse team from very different backgrounds — and I think that we have a really good working environment that promotes both collaboration and candor. To me, the former is super important because of what you gain from diversity of thought and perspective. My perspective is formed and limited by my experiences — so working alongside people who don’t share exactly the same experiences and views means that you can push yourself outside your comfort zone and gain a new perspective on various topics. Particularly when tackling a multi-dimensional problem like healthcare, the more varietous inputs you get, the better. That of course presupposes a healthy working environment — and I do think that is another of Curai’s unique strengths. All of our projects feature involvement from product, clinical informatics, ops, and engineering, and feedback is candidly and directly communicated, whoever or whatever it may be directed at. It is, after all, one of our company values!
Working alongside people who don’t share exactly the same experiences and views means that you can push yourself outside your comfort zone and gain a new perspective on various topics
What were you afraid of before joining Curai?
I think I was most scared of not being up to the challenge — which is itself interesting because the challenge wasn’t clearly defined. My vague pre (and mis)-conceptions about healthcare were quickly flushed down the drain within the first few weeks of Curai’s existence — and past that, it has been a constant cycle of absorbing and rationalizing new information. Now, the challenge is clear and obviously daunting — the healthcare space has tons of both low and high-hanging fruit that is waiting to be plucked. I guess my original fear was also of not measuring up to what was expected of me. Imposter syndrome hits everyone at some point, and I was worried that I wasn’t quite the engineer that I thought I was. Now my doubts are somewhat lessened.
What have you learned since you joined Curai?
I could laundry-list a number of new technologies, but that wouldn’t be very exciting :) instead, I’ll say that I have learned a lot about what it takes to build a company from the ground up, and how to grow and scale an engineering team that always has a ton of stuff to do. The former point requires strong commitment to cultural excellence, a measured growth plan, and a lot of flexibility and the willingness to wear many hats. The latter is really complicated — when your goal is ambitious as “revolutionize healthcare,” there are a thousand different things you could be focusing on, and even when you winnow that down, you’ll still end up with a shortlist that dwarfs the resources your engineering team possesses. The big learning has been ruthless prioritization — what absolutely has to get done, and in what order.
What are you working on right now?
Right this second, I’m working on launching a totally new charting experience for our health care team. Right after that, I’ll be working on our labs integration.
How do you hope to grow at Curai?
I hope to be the best that I can be in whatever position Curai needs me to be in. I have no idea what the future holds for me in terms of career path, but whatever it is, I want to be the best at it.
Favorite Curai moment?
Launching our California clinic, with the ability to write prescriptions. It took some sleepless nights, but it was immensely satisfying.
Outside of the office, Viggy can be found:
🐕 Househunting so he can adopt his first doggo.
🏀 In the press room at Chase Center, writing about all things Warriors for the Mercury News.
🥁 Playing Carnatic music all over the world (he’s famous)
🌮 Relaxing at home with his partner, Taco Bell, and FIFA.
What would you say to someone thinking about joining our team?
Join, and don’t think twice about it. You won’t find a better combination of mentorship, growth opportunity, technical challenge, and impact anywhere else ✨
Please stay tuned next month for our next Curaian spotlight! We’ll pass the baton to Viggy to highlight a teammate. If you’re passionate about healthcare access, up for bold challenges, and curious about working alongside really great people, don’t hesitate to say hi 👋