We continue our coverage of fat startups, how they get funded, built, and scaled in this series with Adaptive Insights. Lean startups get a lot of attention now, but I have been covering fat startups as well with stories like Adaptive Insights.
Sramana: Rob, let’s start by reviewing your background. Where do you come from? What are the roots to your entrepreneurial journey?
Rob Hull: I was born in Austin, Texas. I spent most of my early years in southern California before heading north to attend Stanford. I was an economics major but did some dabbling in computer science classes. I graduated form Stanford in 1988. I decided that since I had spent most of my life in California, it was time to live somewhere different. So, I moved to the east coast.
I took at job with Booz Allen Hamilton in DC. While I thought I would use my economic background that I had worked so hard at Stanford to build, that was not quite how things turned out. I wound up on a series of projects that were not all that exciting. I started to reshape my focus on BAH to database development and training programs around technology. I began to craft myself into a technologist.
I then began to realize that being in technology in Washington DC was probably not the right move for me, so I came back to Palo Alto. I jumped into early stage entrepreneurial companies. I worked on building custom applications in fourth dimension. I did that for a while and kept books for one of those smaller organizations before jumping to Risk Management Solutions. They were a spin out of some technology from Stanford University. I was one of the first employees there and I spent about 10 years there.
I had a pretty good knack for understanding and working with technology. I was good at communicating customer needs with technology. I joined RMS to help them set up professional services. I did a lot of work with our customer base. I spent about six years in a professional services and quasi-product role before moving into a new role as the business evolved.
I moved into finance and by 1996, I became the CFO. I spent a number of years as the CFO at RMS. I helped sell RMS to the Daily Mail. I stayed around through the sale and through the integration. I was active in what amounted to RMS acquiring and integrating the operations of another portfolio company based in Cambridge and did the financial integration as well.