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Entrepreneur Journeys

Bootstrap First, Raise Money Later: Senraj Soundar, CEO of ConnectLeader (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Jun 19th 2017

Senraj has bootstrapped his company to a multiple million dollar run rate and is contemplating raising some growth capital now. He will, most likely, have numerous offers from investors. We love stories like this that reinforce our philosophy: “Do not go to VCs as beggars, go as kings!”

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?

Senraj Soundar: I was born and brought up in India, particularly in Southern India. I got my Bachelor’s degree in Electrical >>>

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Bootstrapping a Niche E-Commerce Brand: Big Barker CEO Eric Shannon (Part 1)

Posted on Thursday, Jun 15th 2017

We’ve talked about niche, proprietary e-commerce brands and how entrepreneurs are building businesses around different concepts. Eric shares the story of Big Barker, a dog bed for large dogs.

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?

Eric Shannon: I was born in Pennsylvania in a suburb about 45 minutes outside of Philadelphia. I went to Temple University. I was a Finance major. After school, I moved to California and took a job in banking. I hated it and was terrible at it. I had a >>>

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Building a Fast-Growth Marketplace: Stefania Mallett, CEO of EZCater (Part 1)

Posted on Thursday, Jun 8th 2017

Two-sided marketplaces are perpetually difficult to build and scale. EZCater is approaching a billion dollars in gross marketplace value of transactions. Learn more from Stefania about working through the chicken and egg challenge.

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?

Stefania Mallett: I was born in Boston. My parents had come to United States after the war. They came from Europe and there >>>

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Building a Mid-Market Security SaaS Company from Canada: J. Paul Haynes, CEO of eSentire (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Jun 5th 2017

There are opportunities of building cloud businesses focused on mid-market customers, and many entrepreneurs are leveraging those to build compelling businesses. eSentire’s strategy is one worth looking at closely.

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?

J. Paul Haynes: I was born in Toronto. I grew up in a suburb of Toronto called Oakville. I grew up in a family of people studying >>>

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Bootstrapping to $10M+ from North Carolina: Carl Ryden, CEO of PrecisionLender (Part 1)

Posted on Thursday, Jun 1st 2017

Carl and his co-founders have bootstrapped Precision Lender to over $10M from North Carolina. It’s a superb story, including how the company has formulated an AI agent Andi.

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?

Carl Ryden: I was born in North Carolina. I grew up in eastern North Carolina in a little town called Goldsboro. Folks don’t >>>

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Capital Efficient Entrepreneurship: Voices.com CEO David Ciccarelli (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, May 29th 2017

Voices.com started as a small recording studio, and pivoted into a two-sided marketplace for voice talent. Along the way, a thriving corporate business gained momentum. Read on to study the maneuvers.

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?

David Ciccarelli: I was born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario. It’s a city of about a hundred thousand residents located just at the northern tips of the Lake Superior. Before graduating high school, mom and dad suggested to all the kids that we needed to >>>

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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 Chief Strategy Officer 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 Simi Valley and lived there for about a decade and then moved up to Victor-ville. 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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