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Entrepreneur Journeys

Capital Efficient Entrepreneurship: Greg Besner, CEO of CultureIQ (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, May 22nd 2017

Greg has built three businesses and shares our philosophy of capital efficient entrepreneurship. Read on to learn more about his journey.

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?

Greg Besner: I was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, which people think of as a small casino town although there were no casinos there at that time. My father was a taxi driver for 38 years. My mother was a housewife until the casino industry started in >>>

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Bootstrapping to $100 Million Plus: Ultra Mobile CEO Rizwan Kassim (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, May 15th 2017

I have long believed that Go BIG or Go HOME is complete bullshit. I have seen entrepreneur after entrepreneur build a small but profitable, slower growth business as a first outing, followed by a much larger, higher growth business as a follow-on venture. Rizwan has done exactly that. Read on to learn more.

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?

Rizwan Kassim: My mom is from East Africa. My father was born in Karachi. They both came here in the 70’s. I was born in California and lived there for about a decade and then moved up to Victor Road. I went to UCLA. >>>

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Capital Efficient Entrepreneurship: Bonanza Co-Founder Mark Dorsey (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, May 8th 2017

Bonanza has scaled to over $75 million in revenue with just $1 million in funding. It was bootstrapped for several years before a penny of external financing was raised. Amazingly crisp execution. A must-read story of how a two-sided marketplace was masterfully seeded and scaled.

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?

Mark Dorsey: I am from Los Angeles, California. That’s where I was born. I was raised in Southern California. In hindsight, there >>>

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Bootstrapping a Two-Sided Marketplace to $10M: Sal Akbani, CEO of Gateway Classic Cars (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, May 8th 2017

Sal has bootstrapped Gateway Classic Cars to over $10 million in revenue. Another great story of how a two-sided marketplace was masterfully seeded and scaled in a niche market.

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?

Sal Akbani: We have the same ancestry. My parents were from India. I was born in Pakistan. My mother is from Calcutta. My dad is from Bombay. >>>

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Master Boostrapper with a Billion Plus in Exits: Bhavin Turakhia, CEO of Directi and Flock (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Apr 24th 2017

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Bhavin and his brother Divyank have bootstrapped Directi, a portfolio of Internet businesses over the last ~20 years. In 2014, they had their first $160 million exit. In 2016, they had a second $900 million exit. It’s a very interesting story of masterful business acumen and disciplined fundamentals-driven execution. Not a penny of external financing involved, by the way.

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

Bhavin Turakhia: I was born and raised in Mumbai. My parents are originally from there. I went to school there. In many ways, the seeds for my entrepreneurship career were largely sown there. I remember in 1989, I was in the sixth grade when the school installed their very first computer room. I’m talking >>>

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Scaling a Fast Growth, Venture-Funded Company: Rephael Sweary, Co-Founder and President of WalkMe (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Apr 24th 2017

WalkMe’s vision is to make software understand humans, rather than the other way around. Rephael discusses the growth story of a company that is driving significant innovation in mobile and web user engagement.

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

Rephael Sweary: I was born in Tel Aviv and grew up in Tel Aviv. I was an entrepreneur at a very early age. In elementary school, I >>>

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Bootstrap First to $10 Million from Australia, Raise $25 Million Later from the US: Ashik Ahmed, CEO of Deputy (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Apr 17th 2017

Bootstrap First, Raise Money Later is the 1M/1M mantra. Ashik Ahmed tells his story of bootstrapping to $10 Million before raising $25 Million in the first external financing.

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

Ashik Ahmed: I was born in Bangladesh. In 1997, my whole family migrated to Melbourne in Australia. I did my high school education as well as university in Melbourne. Then we moved to Sydney where I started working for my co-founder. My co-founder >>>

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Capital Efficient Entrepreneurship from Arizona: Heidi Jannenga, Co-Founder of WebPT (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Apr 17th 2017

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Heidi and her co-founder have bootstrapped WebPT to significant traction, then raised a small angel round. 2016 revenue was $40 million. The company has sold 51% stake to private equity and the founders have already experienced significant liquidity. Excellent story of a female entrepreneur who doesn’t make excuses. She just executes.

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?

Heidi Jannenga: I was born in Texas to two immigrant parents. My dad immigrated from Austria and my mom is a first-generation American born in Hawaii. She’s Japanese. We moved to Winter Park, Florida when I was six years old. I was a multi-sport athlete in high school. I ended up playing basketball in college at UC Davis in Northern California. I injured my knee in my junior year. >>>

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Bootstrapping Using Services to an Awesome Business Model: Inspyrus CEO Nilay Banker (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Apr 10th 2017

We’ve shared many Bootstrapping Using Services case studies with you here, as well as in the book on that topic. This one is particularly interesting because of the absolutely awesome business model that Nilay and his team have implemented. Read on!

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

Nilay Banker: I’m from India, born and brought up in Ahmedabad, which used to be a sleepy town when I was born and growing up. It has now blossomed into a sprawling metro. It’s one of the five largest cities in India. I had a very interesting childhood. I grew up in a family of professionals. My father is an architect. My mother is a doctor. Pretty much, every person in my family is a professional with very few people who are not doctors. I consider myself a black sheep in the >>>

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Bootstrapping to $30 Million from Czech Republic: Vaclav Muchna, CEO of YSoft (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Apr 10th 2017

This is a wonderful story of a Czech entrepreneur, who at 22, at a time when his country was far from ready to support entrepreneurs, struggled through immense odds and has built a global business. Read on for inspiration and excellent lessons from the trenches.

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?

Vaclav Muchna: I was born in Czech Republic. I studied electronics in high school, which I didn’t like. It was not possible back then that would parlay into the software industry. Because the country was not so developed, access to technologies was limited. I really didn’t like the school. I was born and raised in Prague >>>

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