September 26, 2023

Building Strategic Partnerships: The VP of Partnerships & Pre-Sales as a Catalyst for Collaboration

Saroj Hange
Saroj Hange
Building Strategic Partnerships: The VP of Partnerships & Pre-Sales as a Catalyst for Collaboration

Bijal Karande spent most of her career in technology and life sciences and was ready for a new challenge. When a colleague introduced her to Rohit Vashisht, Co-founder and CEO of WhizAI, she recalls, "It was perfect timing." 

WhizAI takes a unique approach to life sciences analytics. The platform can analyze billions of data points in less than a second and provide the answers to even the most complex questions. However, it's designed for ease of use, even if life sciences team members have limited IT and data expertise. Using large language models (LLMs), WhizAI can understand business users when they ask questions conversationally and provide accurate, contextual insights on demand. 

"In the past, I worked with static reports," Bijal explains. "With WhizAI, analytics are real-time, conversational and most importantly easy to use! It is having a huge impact on pharma—organizations are now able to make real-time data driven decisions enabling high impact patient outcomes. Automation with WhizAI is enabling that." 

She joined the WhizAI team in January 2021 and is now VP of Partnerships & Pre-Sales, responsible for building strategic partnerships. Although the role is a departure from Bijal's past positions, she uses the skills she acquired when managing large global teams and her focus on digital innovation to rise to the challenge and build WhizAI's partner network. 

Finding the Perfect Fit 

Bijal explains that a thriving partner ecosystem is essential to any software company's growth. 

WhizAI partners fall into three categories:

  • Channel partners - primarily systems integrators focusing in the Life Science and Healthcare space, a focus area for WhizAI
  • Data, platform, and product companies serving the LS & Health care industry
  • Technology integrators - building integrations with technologies such as Snowflake, AWS, Azure, and Collibra, which serve as the backbone for data-driven insights

However, Bijal stresses that it's crucial to find the right partners. Beyond technical considerations, she evaluates potential partners based on values, trust, and vision that align with WhizAI's. 

"WhizAI is focused on life sciences and healthcare. "It is important to know that we share common values with our partners and have a shared vision for innovation. Conversational and generative AI are advancing at a rapid pace. We need to know our partners have the same vision for taking these technologies to market and investing in their teams," she says." When partners are engaged and work together, we can jointly deliver the best customer experiences. "Trust plays an important role in partnerships. it helps us better engage, collaborate and deliver the best outcomes for our clients"

Although finding partners that meet these high standards isn't easy, Bijal has successfully expanded WhizAI's partner footprint by nearly 4x in just a year and half year. "It's fulfilling to see how the partner network has grown," she comments. 

Bijal adds that WhizAI partnerships are more than reciprocal. They're collaborative. "We've had a lot of success stories with partners this year," she says. "We're jointly going to market with partners for specific use cases. It's extremely exciting." 

One example is WhizAI's partnership with data and technology solutions provider Real Chemistry. WhizAI worked with the company to develop solutions focused on patient journeys and is now expanding the partnership to work with other Real Chemistry groups. 

The Support of the Team 

Although building WhizAI's strategic partnerships is solely Bijal's responsibility, she comments, "I'm a one person team backed by 100 people in the company"

She works closely with the solutions and products team to co-innovate with partners. 

"We want to be a partner-friendly company which means creating a frictionless process to enable our partners to sell and train them to implement our platform," she says. "And we are just at the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more to come."

She says that as the startup grows and matures, she will need to adapt how WhizAI forms strategic partnerships but looks forward to contributing to that growth. 

"I've always been challenged by the unknown, and I'm excited by it," Bijal says.

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