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Entrepreneur Journeys

A Pilot’s Heroic Journey: Jonny Nicol, CEO of Stratajet (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Feb 20th 2017

Jonny is a pilot. He literally flew around to build Stratajet through many storms. Read his fascinating 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?

Jonny Nicol: I was born in England near London. I went to state school. When I was a kid, I decided that I wanted to be a fighter pilot. I dedicated my life to that. I did three operations when I was in the military. I ended up coming back to the UK when I was about 26 years old. I decided I had enough of the military. I was in touch with a friend who had an idea for a staffing agency. The idea was that this industry that had always functioned with filing cabinets can >>>

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From Solo Entrepreneur to $65 Million in Revenue: Brazilian Entrepreneur Daniel Scandian, CEO of Madeira Madeira (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Feb 20th 2017

Daniel had fully validated his business to significant revenue before going to investors. The result is spectacular! Read on…

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?

Daniel Scandian: I’m from Rio de Janeiro. I started my career a little bit different from other entrepreneurs. I was 14 years old when I started with Go Carting. My dream was to be a Formula One driver. I won the Formula 3 South America in 2001. That’s why I started late because I could get sponsors to go to GP2. I then came >>>

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Building Multiple Bootstrapped Education Software Companies: Lane Rankin, CEO of Illuminate Education (Part 1)

Posted on Friday, Feb 10th 2017

Lane was first a teacher, then a school and school district administrator. His background is not of a typical tech entrepreneur. However, his deep domain knowledge and relationships in the education field have propelled him to become a very successful EdTech entrepreneur. Great story!

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

Lane Rankin: I’m currently in California. I was born in Seattle, Washington. I have a Bachelors degree in Applied Mathematics and went on to get a Masters in Leadership. I started my first company back in 1999. >>>

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Learning From Mistakes: Roy Peleg, CEO of FirstImpression.io (Part 1)

Posted on Tuesday, Feb 7th 2017

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FirstImpression is Roy’s fourth startup. The prior ones had all failed, and Roy candidly discusses how and why they failed. There is much to learn from failures and mistakes, possibly even more than from successes.

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?

Roy Peleg: I was born in a city north of Tel Aviv. When I was 12, my parents separated. When I was 16, I left high school and started my entrepreneur journey. At the age of 18, I joined IDF and after that the intelligence corps. After getting out of the army, I started a career as an IT manager. >>>

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Scaling an Energy Management Venture: Martin Manniche, CEO of Greenwave Systems (Part 1)

Posted on Friday, Feb 3rd 2017

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Martin is a serial entrepreneur with nine startups under his belt. This story traces his journey from Copenhagen to California with a focus on his latest venture Greenwave that has already scaled to over $50 million in revenue.

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?

Martin Manniche: I was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, and I moved to the US 11 years ago. I’ve been leading companies as a CEO. I’ve also been >>>

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Building a FinTech Company in Brazil: Sergio Furio, CEO of BankFacil (Part 1)

Posted on Wednesday, Feb 1st 2017

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Companies are starting to scale in Latin America. In this story, we bring you a FinTech company’s journey from its bootstrapped beginnings to validation, venture financing, and scaling.

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?

Sergio Furio: I’m Spanish. I graduated in 2000 in Business Administration. I spent five years in Deutsche Bank doing investment banking.

Sramana Mitra: In Spain? >>>

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Bootstrapping Using Services from Russia: Ruslan Fazlyev, CEO of Ecwid (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Jan 23rd 2017

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We’ve discussed Bootstrapping Using Services extensively over the years. Ruslan used eLance (not Upwork) to source service projects, then built, first a platform+services business that scaled to over $10 million in revenue. Then he spun off a pure play e-commerce platform business that now has over a million merchants using it. Revenue is over $5 million.

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?

Ruslan Fazlyev: I was born in a very little town in Russia. I grew up in Ulyanovsk, which is a city on the Russian river Volga. The city that you grew up in interests you more than the place of birth.What’s interesting about that place is it’s the place where Lenin was born – the guy who founded USSR. Because it’s >>>

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Bootstrapping Using Services: Sylvana Caridi Coche, CEO of Gravity Pro (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Jan 23rd 2017

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Sylvana has an aura of no nonsense, no bullshit confidence about her that I find immensely attractive. Read her story to feel the force of sheer energy, smarts, and execution to learn how she did it!

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to yourself as well as Gravity Pro.

Sylvana Caridi Coche: I’m 42. I was born and raised in France. My parents were from Italy. They moved from Italy to France to find work because, at that time, it was hard for them because they were both illiterate. I was the last kid and grew up in a very low-class environment. I studied all the way to my doctorate, but I did not do my thesis because I went to work. >>>

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Successful Pivot from B-to-C to B-to-B: Inkling CEO Matt MacInnis (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Jan 16th 2017

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Here’s another pivot story. Note: pivots are very expensive to do in VC timeline and cap tables. Matt discusses how damaging the ownership structure has been. Worth understanding the ramifications.

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?

Matt MacInnis: I’m from Nova Scotia, Canada. I’m from a small island in the northeast, 300 miles to the nearest airport. My mom was a school teacher and my dad was a factory worker. We had a pretty good upbringing up there. It was a little bit cold in the winter. I ended up getting into Harvard somehow from that little town. We had to find a way to make that work. My parents, very graciously, gave their retirement savings to make that work. >>>

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Bootstrapping With a Paycheck to Techstars: Nevin Shetty, CEO of Blueprint Registry (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Jan 16th 2017

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In a previous story, we showed you how Jas Grewal bootstrapped his company CareSkore with a paycheck and then got into YCombinator with a validated business. With Blueprint, we show you the same strategy as executed by Nevin Shetty to get into TechStars.

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?

Nevin Shetty: I was born in Alabama but the first memory I have is of Saudi Arabia. I spent five years in Saudi Arabia. My dad is an aeronautical engineer. I grew up in an American compound in Riyadh and had an amazing childhood. Growing up, I remember my mom teaching English to some of the Saudi princes. >>>

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