Poorvi Agrawal is the Co-Founder & CTO at Reclimate, a startup on a mission to accelerate the growth of projects in the renewable, EV energy space.
To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I was born and raised in a small & humble township in India, where I was instilled with the values of unwavering hard work and determination from a young age, thanks to my inspiring parents. Their guidance and sacrifices were instrumental in shaping my values and career aspirations.
With their support, I was able to achieve my dream of studying at the most prestigious university in India, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur (IIT-KGP). I majored in Mathematics and Computer Science and was able to build a strong foundation in my field.
After college, my first industrial experience was with Xerox Research where I contributed to the practical applications of machine learning in a variety of domains like healthcare, crime analytics, transportation, etc.
One of the projects that I worked on was using proprietary FBI data to predict the next occurrence of crime in a specific state in the US. Later, I worked with Goldman Sachs and Intuit where I had the opportunity to lead various projects, and collaborate with cross-functional teams while also honing my technical skills in the field of deep learning. These experiences helped me gain a deeper understanding of how AI can be used in real-world business scenarios, and how to work effectively with teams from different backgrounds.
Fast forward to today, I am a co-founder and CTO of Reclimate, an Antler-backed company. My co-founders Yovindra, Giorgino and I are on a mission to accelerate the growth of projects in the renewable, EV energy space by providing a powerful AI-based MRV solution and access to the green cash flow using a seamless digital platform.
In simple terms, Reclimate helps businesses with 70% faster access to the company’s carbon credits while ensuring their credibility. We also pride ourselves on providing AI-based aggregators to let SMEs participate in the carbon credits market.
What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
Starting each day with intention, my morning routine begins with a nourishing blend of light stretching and meditation to centre my mind and sharpen my focus.
With a clear direction in mind, I firmly believe in the power of tackling the most challenging task on my to-do list first thing in the morning, setting the tone for a productive and fulfilling day
I dedicate a significant portion of my time to several key areas of focus. These include:
- Developing and improving the product offerings, strengthening our technology and strategizing on product growth.
- Gaining a deep understanding of my target customers and competitors in order to make informed business decisions.
- Continuously honing my skills in running a successful startup,
In managing my work schedule, I prioritise having uninterrupted blocks of time in the morning and early afternoon to focus on my most important and demanding tasks. To achieve this, I schedule most of my meetings in the latter half of the afternoon.
In the evenings, I engage in physical activities such as playing lawn tennis and badminton or going for a short run to stay healthy and recharge myself from a busy day. I cherish spending quality time with my 2-year-old child, who is a source of joy in my life. I look forward to late evenings when I can spend time playing with him at the park, taking him for bike rides, and making memories together.
I am an avid reader and passionate about books, be it through reading or listening to books (though I prefer reading). I always prioritise taking time to read and absorb their wisdom. Currently, I am listening to The 5am Club, which emphasises the power of starting the day early with focused intention and personal development activities.
In addition to reading this book, I am also incorporating principles from my favourite book, Atomic Habits, which stresses the importance of small, consistent habits in driving lasting change.
By combining the concepts from these two books, I am working to build a comprehensive approach to personal growth and development. My end goal is to create a system that reduces the risk of burnout while fostering continued creativity and innovation.
What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
The pandemic has forced many individuals, including myself, to re-evaluate and redefine their definition of work-life balance.
It has highlighted the importance of connection, compassion, health, and rest, which are the aspects of life that can easily be overlooked when we are stressed, busy, and overwhelmed with work. I have come to realise that it is okay to take a break or time out from work or personal life, and to prioritise self-care and well-being.
As a founder of Reclimate, I have been actively working towards achieving a better balance between my team’s and my own professional and personal life. Our company focuses on outcomes rather than enforcing a particular format, which allows our team to adjust their work hours to accommodate life’s needs, including family and recreational activities, as long as the work is covered and no one is disadvantaged.
As a first time founder, I strive to find a balance between these two aspects of my life. I believe that there is no constant mantra and it is an ongoing process that requires regular reassessment and adjustment by taking into account new priorities. Overall, I believe that by being mindful of our priorities and practising self-care, we can work towards achieving a more balanced and fulfilling life.
In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I believe in the power of moderation and aim to incorporate it into my daily routine. Recently, I have made significant changes in my life to improve my overall well-being and productivity. To start my day, I practise morning meditation to improve my focus and clarity.
As a former binge watcher, I have made the conscious decision to stop watching TV series in order to better manage my time and energy. Additionally, I am actively working on becoming more empathetic and a better listener, valuing and appreciating the people in my life. Furthermore, I continue to prioritise my reading habits, as it boosts my confidence and enhances my knowledge in various subjects.
Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
My all-time favourite book is Wings of Fire by Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam and Atomic Habits by James Clear. Both have had a significant impact on my life, but the latter has particularly helped me with its concept of ‘habit stacking’.
This is the idea of incorporating a new habit into your daily routine by linking it with an existing habit. For instance, I now do my meditation just after brushing my teeth, which has made it easier for me to make this a consistent habit. This simple change has made a huge difference in my overall well-being.
Another valuable resource I recommend is Ken, a subscription-based newsletter that provides insightful analysis and keeps me updated on South east and South Asia news. Although I am not a huge fan of listening to podcasts, I do enjoy FinShots, which offers great content on finance and investments.
If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
There are so many inspirational stories of businesswomen who have been successful in balancing their work and personal lives. However, if I have to choose one, I would go with Sheryl Sandberg. She advocates for the importance of work-life balance and has been open about the challenges she faced balancing her role as a mother and a high-powered executive.
Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Balancing work and personal life can be a continuous struggle, and it’s okay to not have everything perfectly balanced on all days. It’s crucial to have realistic expectations and prioritise self-care and self-compassion.
It’s also important to communicate your needs and boundaries at your workplace and to loved ones. Be mindful about the impact of technology which could be intruding on both your personal as well as professional time. Limiting its usage could bring you one step closer to your goal.
Ultimately, it’s essential to remember that work-life balance is a journey and not a destination. It’s important to be open to change, to be adaptable, and to seek support when needed. Remember to take time for yourself and to prioritise the things that bring you joy and fulfilment. And remember to be kind to yourself in the process.
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