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Entrepreneur Journeys

Bootstrapping a Fun Social Business: PaintNite CEO Dan Hermann (Part 1)

Posted on Wednesday, Jul 30th 2014

Social media is great, but human beings also love to socialize in person. PaintNite is thriving by tapping into the desire human beings have to ‘hang out’ and do creative things.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start with telling our audience a little bit about your personal background. Where were you born and raised? What kind of background?

Dan Hermann: I am now 43 years old. I was born in Boston and grew up in Newton, Massachusetts. I attended the University of Wisconsin. I started my first business at the age of 21. That business is a pick-up and delivery laundry service, which I still own today. We’re in six different states. I learned a great deal about operational businesses in that business.

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Disrupting Cloud-Based Recruiting: SmartRecruiters CEO Jerome Ternynck (Part 1)

Posted on Wednesday, Jul 30th 2014

SmartRecruiters is going after Taleo and SuccessFactors and intends to disrupt the cloud-based recruiting platform industry. Gutsy and well-conceived, Jerome is executing very well on his vision!

Sramana: Jerome, let’s start by reviewing your background. Where are you from? What are the roots to your entrepreneurial journey?

Jerome Ternynck: I was born in France. I studied finance in Paris at the University of Paris Dauphine. I then went into the army, which was mandatory at the time. I gained my first lessons in leadership over there. I served as an officer in the French paratroops for two years. >>>

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Thought Leaders in Online Education: Peter Hirst, Executive Director of Executive Education, MIT Sloan School of Management (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Jul 28th 2014

This interview is a great discussion about the various experiments going on in the world of higher education and how online learning is playing out there.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s introduce our audience to yourself as well as to what you’re doing at Sloan vis-à-vis executive education.

Peter Hirst: I’m the Director of the Executive Education program here at the MIT Sloan School. Essentially, what we do is run short, non-degree courses for individual executives and Senior Managers. We also do this for companies in a more customized >>>

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Thought Leaders in Online Education: Katya Andresen, CEO of Cricket Media (Part 1)

Posted on Wednesday, Jul 23rd 2014

It almost always is the case that Edtech companies don’t have solid monetization models. Cricket media is experimenting with models that are worth understanding. This interview also further elaborates on the issues raised in one of my articles, Are We In A Golden Age of Edtech?

Sramana Mitra: Let’s introduce our audience to Cricket Media. Tell us what you do and what trends you are aligning with.

Katya Andresen: We’re a children’s education media company. We provide award-winning content for learning on a safe and secure learning network. >>>

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Building a Fat Startup with a Massive Patent Portfolio: Cleversafe Founder Chris Gladwin (Part 1)

Posted on Wednesday, Jul 23rd 2014

There aren’t many sub $100 million technology companies that can boast of a strong patent portfolio. Cleversafe is that rare exception, and hence, a tremendously valuable company with robust revenue growth in a $20 billion market.

Sramana: Chris, let’s start with your background. Where are you from? What is the genesis of your entrepreneurial journey?

Chris Gladwin: I was born and raised in Ohio. Like you, I went to MIT, which was transformative for me. It opened my eyes with respect to technology and technology-based businesses. That led to me becoming a technology entrepreneur. >>>

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Bootstrapping Using Services: Krishna Kumar, CEO of AppOrchid (Part 1)

Posted on Wednesday, Jul 16th 2014

See how a serial entrepreneur is using the ‘Bootstrapping Using Services’ methodology repeatedly to get companies off the ground.

Sramana: Krishna, let’s start with the beginning of your personal story. Where are you from, what is your background? What leads up to your entrepreneurial story?

Krishna Kumar: I was born in India. I came to the US in 1996. I worked my way up the consulting chain from an SAP consultant to the Vice President of Ness, a consulting firm based in New Jersey. Ness was also primarily an SAP shop. It was a NASDAQ-listed company and I had exposure to both the strategy and product sides of the house. >>>

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Building a VC-Funded Fashion E-Commerce Company: Weddington Way CEO Ilana Stern (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Jul 14th 2014

There aren’t that many venture-funded fashion e-commerce companies out there. The main reason is that the venture capital business is dominated by men, and typically, women happen to be more in tune with fashion. Ilana Stern is building a very interesting fashion company focused on bridesmaid dresses as the starting point.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start with your personal story. Where are you from? Where were you born and raised and in what kind of circumstances?

Ilana Stern: I’m originally from Los Angeles. I was very close with my family. My dad is actually an entrepreneur of sorts. I was inspired by his hard work and passion for what he does. I left LA when I was 18 to go to University of Pennsylvania for undergraduate studies. >>>

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Serial Entrepreneur David Steinberg’s Four-Startup Journey (Part 1)

Posted on Wednesday, Jul 9th 2014

Today’s entrepreneurial landscape is full of serial entrepreneurs who start really young and build company after company. Some succeed and some fail. David’s four companies have all been successful.

Sramana Mitra: David, where are you from? Where were you born and raised? What’s the back story?

David Steinberg: I grew up in New York City.

Sramana Mitra: Was there any entrepreneurship in your DNA?

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Bootstrapping a Web Hosting Company to $60 Million: Christopher Aker, CEO of Linode (Part 1)

Posted on Tuesday, Jul 8th 2014

Chris had many opportunities to raise money along the way while bootstrapping to a $60 million revenue level. Find out why he chose not to.

Sramana: Chris, let’s start with the beginning of your story. Tell me where you are from and set the stage for your entrepreneurial journey.

Christopher Aker: I was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey. We lived on the main land off of a coastal barrier island. I had a traditional American, South Jersey coastal upbringing. We had a lot of summer jobs and a huge amount of people would flock to our town in the summer to enjoy the beach. >>>

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Bootstrapping Using Services to $15 Million in Venture Capital: Gravitant CEO Mohammed Farooq (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Jun 30th 2014

We continue to see exciting enterprise software companies being built by entrepreneurs who have roots in the consulting business and who have taken their domain knowledge and customer insights to develop compelling products to solve specific problems. Gravitant is yet another case in point.

Sramana: Mohammed, let’s start our discussion by reviewing your background. Where do you come from? What are the roots of your entrepreneurial journey?

Mohammed Farooq: I am originally from India, close to Hyderabad. I went to engineering school in India and came to the United States in 1991 to attend graduate school. I was born in 1967 and went to school locally in India. I attended Gulbarga University in India where I studied mechanical engineering. I attended graduate school in Oklahoma. In Oklahoma, I completed a dual degree in operations research and computer science. I then did an MBA in finance as well. >>>

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