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Entrepreneur Journeys

Bootstrapping Using Services from Ireland: Shane Evans, CEO of ScrapingHub (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, May 23rd 2016

Shane has built a 140-people virtual team-based business from Ireland. Very interesting view into a different part of the world.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?

Shane Evans: I was actually born in the UK. Both of my parents worked at Heathrow. My father is British but my mother was Irish. I think their involvement and love for travel had an impact on me. I came to Ireland when I was two years old and that’s where I grew up.

Sramana Mitra: What was your educational process like? >>>

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Building a SaaS Company with Operational Discipline: Betterworks CEO Kris Duggan (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, May 16th 2016

Kleiner invested $15 million in Bettelworks on a concept. It’s an unusual financing that only experienced entrepreneurs can pull off. Read how Kris is building the company.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?

Kris Duggan: I was born in Australia. My parents are Australian. When I was five, we moved to Texas because my dad had an opportunity to relocate with the chemical company that he worked for. I grew up in Houston and actually went back to Australia for a year but then, ultimately, moved to California for most of high school and college. That was in Southern California. About 15 years ago, I moved up to Northern California. >>>

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Bootstrapping to $10 Million from Helsinki, Finland: Mikko Valimaki, CEO of Tuxera (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, May 16th 2016

In our effort to bring you stories from the global startup ecosystem, here we introduce you to a wonderful success story from Finland.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of circumstances?

Mikko Valimaki: I’m a 39-year-old guy from Finland. I did my schooling in Finland. I did, however, study in Berkeley in the United States and was exposed to the American culture. I’ve never worked for any big company. I always started my own stuff. I had already developed my own computer games back in the 1990s while at high school. I tried to sell those.

After university, I tried to found my own company. I tried several things. We had one database startup back in 2001. The product is still selling but that broke up perhaps because of personal issues with the other founders. That was one of my first success stories. There were some other companies as >>>

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From High School Drop Out to $20M in Revenue: Brad Lea’s Journey with Lightspeed VT (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, May 9th 2016

Brad knows how to sell. Read how he turned that skill in to a $20M revenue business with very little formal education.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?

Brad Lea: I was born in Cottage Grove, Oregon in about 1969. My journey began right there.

Sramana Mitra: Did you grow up in that community?

Brad Lea: Yes, I grew up there until I was 14 years old.

Sramana Mitra: What did you do after that? Where did you move to and how did the journey evolve? >>>

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Bootstrapping from New Zealand, Scaling in America: Jason Westland, CEO of ProjectManager.com (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, May 2nd 2016

I have always said that you need to bootstrap your way to validation and traction. Jason did just that, and has built a robust company from New Zealand. Read on, it’s a fabulous story.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?

Jason Westland: That’s way back in time than I expected. I’m from New Zealand in the Southern Alps. My first job was managing a project of 25 people. I was 22 out of university. I was in project management until around 15 years ago when I became the General Manager of a software company that grew fast. I was inspired, based on reporting to a Board that I learned a lot from, to start my own business. This is the third business that I’ve started. >>>

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Capital Efficient Entrepreneurship: Janet Kosloff, CEO of InCrowd (Part 1)

Posted on Friday, Apr 29th 2016

You know I don’t buy into the men saying that there’s a bias against women entrepreneurs in the industry. Janet doesn’t either. Here’s an opportunity to learn from her success in building solid revenues, and a profitable business.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your story. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?

Janet Kosloff: I was born and raised on Long Island in New York. My father owned a diner in Queens. He was from Brooklyn. My mother was from a small town in Central Pennsylvania. I had a fairly typical upbringing. I went to college at the State University of New York and I studied Nursing. I started my career as a nurse not necessarily because I had a passion for nursing. It was more so because I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do with my life. My family guided me into that career for the reason that I had an affinity for science. >>>

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Building a Robust Business in Australia: Investorist CEO Jon Ellis (Part 1)

Posted on Friday, Apr 29th 2016

Jon has side-stepped venture capital, and raised a significant funding from his customers. He hopes to take the company public in Australia once the company gets to about $50 million in revenue.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Were were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?

Jon Ellis: I grew up in a small town in Australia on the border of New South Wales and Victoria. It’s got a population of about 40,000 people. My father is a mechanic and has owned his own business for many years. My mother is a teacher.

Sramana Mitra: What did you do for education? >>>

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Bootstrapping to $18 Million: Vlad Friedman, CEO of Edge Hosting (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Apr 25th 2016

Vlad has built his business using only bank financing, and has aspirations of growing it to $50 million. Read how he has done it, including about on-dilutive financing mechanisms.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?

Vlad Friedman: I was originally born in Ukraine back in 1973. In 1979, my family decided to immigrate to the United States. I came to Baltimore, Maryland at the age of six from Kiev. My family and I have lived here ever since.

Sramana Mitra: What about education? >>>

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Multiple Pivots, Taking on Giants, to Over $100 Million in Revenue: Matthew Calkins, CEO of Appian (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Apr 18th 2016

Matt’s first couple of bets didn’t pan out. The story is interesting on many levels, the pivots being two critical ones. Also interesting is how the company managed to compete with much better funded competitors and win.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very  beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?

Matthew Calkins: I was born in Hartford, Connecticut and raised in California. There’s nothing particularly of interest about my background. I went to a public school. I was not a technologist but I appreciated technology growing up. That carried me when I started my degree though that was also not in Computer Science. I am an economist by training. I’m interested in technology because it is so impactful on society. It’s complicated. It’s fascinating but it’s also a way to change the world.

Sramana Mitra: Where did you go for college? >>>

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Successful Pivot to a High Growth Business: Ray Grainger, CEO of Mavenlink (Part 1)

Posted on Friday, Apr 15th 2016

Ray had started Mavenlink with a certain vision, but had to pivot to find market traction. The pivot was handled skilfully. The original vision remains, and Ray hopes to be able to launch it in the next couple of years. Very good, deliberate execution.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your personal journey. Where are you from? Where are you raised? What kind of background do you come from?

Ray Grainger: I was born and raised in Southern California. Though I’ve lived, traveled, and worked in many places around the globe, I’ve always called Southern California home. From an upbringing perspective, I’m from a middle-class environment. One of the key things that is fundamental is, I grew up in the 70s. In the 70s, divorce was a growing trend especially in California.

By the time I was 18, my mother and father had been divorced five times. I was moving from one house to another. What that really instilled in me as I became >>>

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