[This interview is featured in my Entrepreneur Journeys book, Seed India – How To Navigate The Seed Capital Gap in India]
Jaspreet is a co-founder and CEO of Druva. An entrepreneur at heart, he bootstrapped the company while defining the product, sales and marketing strategies that have resulted in Druva’s early and impressive success. Prior to founding Druva, Jaspreet was a member of the storage foundation group at Veritas. He also held a number of engineering specific roles at Ensim Corporation. Jaspreet holds a bachelors degree in computer science from IIT Guwahati.
Sramana: Jaspreet, let’s start with your personal story. What is the background to your entrepreneurial story?
Jaspreet Singh: My father was in the Air Force, so I tell people I was born and raised in India. I have lived in all over the country and have spent a lot of time in the western part of the country. I knew different cultures and I had a lot of friends all over the place. I went on to study computer science at IIT Guwahati.
Sramana: I don’t think I have every talked to anyone who has been to IIT Guwahati. How long has it been around?
Jaspreet Singh: The first class was in 1996. It has been around close to 17 years now. I graduated in 2004.
Sramana: What did you do after school?
Jaspreet Singh: My entrepreneur journey started in college. During my fourth year I did an internship at a research lab for a private company. I did my internship in Germany, and while I was there my roommate was Dutch. He and a few of the others who were there really had a taste for Indian food. They offered to buy a regular supply of groceries, and my friends and I started to make some money by cooking various types of food. The group of us from India ran this as a small operation and even had a balance sheet. It was fun until the racket was busted and we got thrown out of the hotel. Fortunately, I had an apartment.
That is when the entrepreneurship bug bit me. At that time I was planning on joining Infosys and eventually going on to get my MBA. When I was telling my friend about my plans, he told me that he was going to do a startup. When I got back to India, the startup idea was still in the back of my mind during my fourth year of school. When I graduated I joined a startup, Ensim.
Sramana: How did you find Ensim?
Jaspreet Singh: I joined a French startup in the same city, but the owner was really racist. We had some big confrontations, and I left within a month. I went searching for a job and I met the VP of business development for Ensim. In my IIT days I was the president of the Student Union. I was technically good, but also had social skills so he offered me a job. I loved working in a startup and I became increasingly interested in security and storage. I started working in open source projects.