Murano Corporation

Research Triangle Park, NC

First in Perseverance

In the early 2010s, Sree Rajagopalan was working for a large, slow-moving company. He knew he could build more efficient processes, and he wanted the freedom to innovate. “I wanted to accelerate innovation, what I hear from the field and the customers,” Rajagopalan explained. “So I said, I’m going to start this on my own.” But the beginning of his company, Murano Corporation, was slow-going, with plenty of bad days. “You need lots of patience, lots of perseverance, the ability to handle rejection . . . You got to be really thick-skinned and crazy to a certain extent to embark on this.”

Exploring Possibilities

Early on, Rajagopalan struggled to lead Murano Corporation—which provides advanced cloud, supply chain, and AI technologies—towards profitability. He was intrigued by the idea of contracting with the government, but he did not know where to start. The process for registering with the System for Award Management (SAM) was complex and frustrating. Left to his own devices, he would not have taken the time to figure it out, missing out on an opportunity that would prove invaluable to his company.

The SBTDC counselors were “instrumental in helping us get into the world of government contracting and obtain multiple SBIR awards.”

Finding the Funds to Innovate

Rajagopalan met Alex Viva with the SBTDC at the NC World Trade Center in 2016, while he was prospecting for new customers. Viva and his fellow counselors walked Rajagopalan through the process of registering and applying for government contracts and becoming 8(a) certified, leading to the procurement of their largest client, the U.S. Navy. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding they received from the government has been instrumental in their success. “The SBIR awards that we have today that support our employees, that would not have happened without SBTDC’s involvement.”

The SBTDC Connection

Through SBTDC events, Rajagopalan and Murano Corporation met with prime contractors General Dynamics, Northrup Grumman, and other large companies they would not otherwise have had access to. In addition to these connections, Rajagopalan said, “SBTDC has been providing really qualified, talented interns for us [through their Technology Summer Internship Program], connecting us with other customers, and also providing mentoring services on business strategy and marketing assistance.” Several of the SBTDC-recruited interns from 2017 and 2018 have gone on to become full time employees with Murano, making a significant impact on the company’s development. Even as interns, Rajagopalan said, they were “involved in building some of the cutting-edge stuff.”

Product Development

Today, Murano Corporation is deep in the development stage with their products. Murano Corporation has begun developing “a cutting-edge digital twin device we call Beacon, it’s primarily meant to allow industrial organizations to become more predictive and productive.” Rajagopalan is already looking towards the future. “The innovation that we are being funded to develop, we want to make sure that the military is able to adapt it fairly quickly and benefit from this investment.”

Giving it Their All

Murano Corporation has worked with the U.S. Navy on cutting-edge devices that support national defense. They’ve pivoted from focusing only on software to both software and hardware, a transition made easier with the SBTDC’s aid. Recently, both the U.S. Navy and Army have committed to supporting the development of Murano Corporation’s Beacon technology for 2024 and 2025. “That’s a huge achievement for both our team and for the state of North Carolina that will add a significant number of high-paying jobs to the local economy,” Rajagopalan said.

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