Sramana: What did you do after the company was sold?
Fred Laluyaux: That was in 2006 and for the first time, I found myself working for a real company, Business Objects. I did not think that I would stay there for more than 2 weeks, but I felt responsible for my team. I committed to stay there for a year. I liked that company. I was able to develop the performance management business for this BI company and I did a very interesting project. I learned how a publicly traded company worked and I was hitting a groove when SAP acquired Business Objects. At that point, I knew it was time to leave.
I started to reach out to friends. I was looking out for startup or CEO opportunities, and there was not a lot of that in Atlanta. Most of the opportunities that were out there were going to require us to move and I had three kids at the time. I wound up working the integration of Business Objects and SAP. I was learning the lingo of governance at a massive corporation where I knew I did not want to spend the rest of my career. I was an entrepreneur at heart and I really wanted to be in an entrepreneurial environment. I ended up spending four years with that company.
Ultimately, what was very clear to me is that I loved starting and growing businesses. I also knew very clearly what the market needed. I was literally looking at starting a business when a friend of mine gave me a call and asked me to meet with a company he just took on as a client. He was searching for a CEO and he wanted my take on the company. He was not trying to place me there because he felt the company was way too small. I flew out to San Francisco and met with the folks at Anaplan. It was literally the same company that I was thinking of starting.
I liked what I heard. I asked them to show me their software the next day and in about 2 minutes I realized that they had something amazing. They had answered a massive problem in the enterprise world that SAP, Oracle, and IBM had failed to answer. No other point solution vendors had the solution. I realized that I did not need to start my own business because it was sitting right there. I called up the recruiter and told him that I wanted the job. Then I called my wife and told her that my plans had changed. Within a few weeks, I had met all of the board members and I signed my contract three weeks later.