Friday, April 07, 2017

Pearson Campaign

“Jai is just as kind and self-effacing today as he was then,” Howard confides.
So how has Jai changed? Far from sitting in the back row today, he has successfully founded and
sold a business for $1 billion, and is considered one of Chicago’s most successful entrepreneurs.
In 2012, Jai was named Ernst & Young’s 2012 Midwest “Entrepreneur of the Year”, and has
been recognized as an innovator in the Vendor Management Software (VMS) space.
In 1999, Jai took what he had learned from Howard and others and channeled it into a project
that addressed a problem he was deeply familiar with. He started Fieldglass, a company that
offers the world’s most widely used Cloud platform for the procurement of contract labor and services.
Over the past two decades, Jai and Howard have kept in touch and maintained a student/mentor
relationship that has blossomed into a friendship. Howard credits Chicago’s unique business culture
in part for helping to make Jai a success.
I know of few people with more enthusiasm, and being in his class gave me the confidence to eventually find my own path as an entrepreneur.
Jai Shekhawat
“Chicago is different,” says Howard. “People here are loyal in a way that perhaps you don’t see
on the coasts — we’re in it for the long haul. Loyalty is a competitive midwestern advantage,
and we also have an economy that is good for entrepreneurs who have diverse interests.”
Chicago can’t take all the credit, though. Howard taught Jai early on that it takes five things to
be successful as an entrepreneur: passion, preparation, perspiration, perseverance, and principles.
These “5 Ps” are instilled in many of the young, hopeful entrepreneurs that come to
Howard’s prestigious startup incubation program, 1871 Chicago. And Jai gives credit where it’s due.
“Back then and right up to today, I thought of Howard as half teacher and half preacher.
He’s always spreading the gospel and excitement of innovation and entrepreneurship.
I know of few people with more enthusiasm, and being in his class gave me the confidence
to eventually find my own path as an entrepreneur.”

Always the teacher, Howard deflects with more praise of Jai’s work ethic.
“Of course everybody wants to be the next Jobs, but with Jai, we sensed that he had the
determination to be really successful. Perhaps more important than talent or anything else
is the ability to keep your head down and stay focused. Half the battle is keeping your butt
in the chair. Jai’s got that.”
What does one do after selling a company for $1 billion? In Jai’s case, he’s staying active
in the city’s entrepreneurial scene with Howard at 1871, but he’s also focused on making
Chicago the best city it can be by way of social activism and community service. He is
heavily involved with an inner city academic program called MetroSquash, which helps to
teach underprivileged urban youth how to play the unlikely game of squash while devoting
an equal amount of time to academics. In doing so, MetroSquash mentors teach them dedication
and discipline,two traits that Jai discovered are crucial to making it in his much-loved city.


Howard Tullman is the CEO of 1871 and the General Managing Partner for the Chicago
High Tech Investment Partners, LLC and for G2T3V, LLC – both Chicago-based early-stage
venture capital funds which has invested in more than 25 Chicago-based startups in the last two years.
He is also the Chairman of the Endowment Committee of Anshe Emet Synagogue, a member of the
National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE); a member of Mayor Emanuel’s
ChicagoNEXT and Cultural Affairs Councils; a member of the boards of the Innovate Illinois and Illinois
Arts Councils; a member of President Preckwinkle’s New Media Council, an Advisory Board
member of HighTower Associates, Built in Chicago, and Imerman Angels, and an Adjunct Professor
at Northwestern’s Kellogg School, as well as a regular guest lecturer at the Northwestern University
School of Law. Mr. Tullman is a graduate with Honors of Northwestern University (B.A., 1967) and
of its School of Law (J.D., 1970), where he also graduated with Honors. Read Howard’s full bio here 
Jai Shekhawat is the founder of Fieldglass, now part of SAP. Fieldglass provides the world’s most
widely used cloud platform for the procurement of contract labor and services. Under his leadership,
the Fieldglass platform grew globally with users in 100+ countries. He is a former strategy consultant
with McKinsey & Company where he served clients in areas of corporate strategy, technology
and cross-border alliances, as well as a former senior executive at Syntel, a software services firm in
Michigan. He is also a co-founder of Quinnox, an application outsourcing firm in Naperville, Illinois.
 Jai has held various civic and board positions including serving on the Mayor’s Council of Technology
Advisors (MCTA) for the City of Chicago, the Membership Committee of the Economic Club of Chicago,
the Board of TiE Midwest and the Board of Metrosquash. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of
the Field Museum of Chicago and is a founding member of the Firestarter Fund, which mentors and
invests in Chicago start-ups. Jai holds an MBA with specializations in finance and strategy from the
J.L. Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, and a bachelor’s degree
 in management science from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science in Pilani, India. Read Jai’s full bio here 

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