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Entrepreneur Journeys

Unicorn in The Making: Ross Mason, Founder of MuleSoft (Part 1)

Posted on Saturday, Dec 20th 2014

Ross bootstrapped Mulesoft with a paycheck and also with services. Now, the company has raised over $130 million—the last round at an $800 million valuation. Very interesting story!

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

Ross Mason: I was born in London and raised, up until about 9, in London. Then, we moved to Wales in the UK. I was in Wales with my parents who had a hotel and eventually, hotel chains. I grew up in a business. My dad himself is entrepreneurial. I got used to dealing with customers and thinking about what people need at a very young age. From there, I went to college in Bristol where I studied Computer Science. Fairly soon after that, I got into working with banks and insurance companies. My focus was always around solving difficult problems.

Sramana Mitra: Can you put a chronological framework around this? What year were you graduating from college? What year were you starting to get into the industry?
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Aiming to Dominate Real Estate Brokerage: Robert Reffkin, CEO of Urban Compass (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Dec 15th 2014

Urban Compass is trying to disrupt the real estate industry with a tech-savvy brokerage model. They have raised $70 million and are currently valued at $360 million based on the last funding round. Listen to Robert Reffkin explain why he thinks the company will dominate the industry.

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

Robert Reffkin: I’m from Berkeley, California. My mom is an Israeli and my father was African-American. I grew up in a mixed race household with a single mother. When I was younger, I went to an entrepreneurship program called the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship. It helped me create a disk jockey business in high school. I was actually a DJ in high school and college, which paid for school. It was the foundation of a lot of the entrepreneurial drive that has carried me since I graduated from college.

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Thought Leaders in Online Education: Warren Barkley, CTO of SMART Technologies (Part 1)

Posted on Saturday, Dec 13th 2014

Warren is the CTO of Smart Technologies, a $500 million provider of virtual classroom solutions. He offers a window into trends in the space and ideas for new entrepreneurs to focus on.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing yourself as well as SMART Technologies. What do you do?

Warren Barkley: I’m the CTO for SMART Technologies. I joined about two years ago from Microsoft. I was at Microsoft for about 16 years. I did a whole bunch of interesting things there. I worked on WiFi, networking, and a lot of other cool projects over the years. Before that, I was a teacher and a principal. If I reach far enough back, I was a musician at one point. I didn’t get a Computer Science degree but I somehow figured my way out into technology.

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Building an Exciting Healthcare IT Company From Chicago: LaunchPoint CEO Terry Ryan (Part 1)

Posted on Saturday, Dec 13th 2014

At the cusp of three major trends, Big Data, Cloud Computing, and Healthcare IT, Terry Ryan is building a very interesting company from Chicago. The company is profitable, already of substantial scale, and at a very exciting juncture.

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

Terry Ryan: I was born and raised in the Midwest in the suburbs of Chicago. I spent most of my time in the Midwest, but I’ve also lived around the world including Europe. I’ve done business across most of the continents, but Chicago is home.

Sramana Mitra: What did you do for college? What’s your educational background?
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Building a Secondary Ticketing Business From Spain: Ander Michelena, CEO of Ticketbis (Part 1)

Posted on Wednesday, Dec 10th 2014

Spain’s economy has been devastated, and it is really up to entrepreneurs to build it back to health. Anders Michelena is doing his part.

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

Ander Michelena: I was born in northern Spain. I moved to Madrid when I was 12. I studied in a French school. I then studied at one of the biggest economic universities in Spain for my bachelor’s degree. It was a five-year program of which I spent a year at Marquette University, Milwaukee. That is where I met my wife.

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Thought Leaders in Internet of Things: Coby Sella, CEO of Sansa Security (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Dec 8th 2014

The Internet of Things (IoT) trend is significant, and will blossom over the rest of the decade. Imagine, however, with so many connected devices, how the security issue becomes critical! Let’s explore with Coby Sella.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start with introducing our audience to yourself as well as to Sansa Security.

Coby Sella: I have been the Managing CEO for Sansa Security for the last four years. Sansa Security is a security-oriented company focused on IoT. We see ourselves as solving deep security problems in a smarter way.

Sramana Mitra: When you say focused on security in the IoT world, tell us more about specifically what the security issues and what kind of challenges the IoT world is facing vis-a-vis security? What part of that are you solving?
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Thought Leaders in Healthcare IT: Abraham Gutman, CEO of AG Mednet (Part 1)

Posted on Saturday, Dec 6th 2014

Clinical trials are hugely expensive for pharmaceutical companies to administer. Abraham Gutman has created a solution to make the process substantially more efficient and offers insights on new entrepreneurial opportunities in the field.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start with introducing our audience to yourself as well as to the company.

Abraham Gutman: I’m the founder and CEO of AG Mednet. I’m a computer scientist by training. This is my second entrepreneurial company. I started the first company in 1998 in the area of telecommunications where we were building software to do provisioning of large carrier-based optical networks. We sold that company to AT&T. In 2005, I started AG Mednet. Perhaps it may be interesting to entrepreneurs that what I set out to build and what I’m doing right now are somewhat different.

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Bootstrapping to $10 Million from Canada: Jory Lamb, CEO of VistaVu (Part 1)

Posted on Wednesday, Dec 3rd 2014

Jory Lamb started as an entrepreneur as a 23-year old in rural Canada. Read his 18-year journey.

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?

Jory Lamb: I grew up in Saskatchewan, Canada. I was also born there. My dad was a schoolteacher and my mom ran local food stores called Red Roosters. We used to own three Red Roosters, which would be the equivalent of 7-11 stores in the late 70s to the mid 80s. I went on to the University of Saskatchewan and graduated with a business degree.

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Bootstrapping Using Services: Robin Wiener, CEO of Get Real Health (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Dec 1st 2014

Robin has built an excellent company with large, international clients in the healthcare domain and has used the bootstrapping using services technique that we espouse in 1M/1M.

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

Robin Wiener: I’m from Connecticut. I was born in Bristol, the home of ESPN now. I went to the University of Connecticut for college. The back story for me was early on, I had a major speech problem. I couldn’t really pronounce things. Along with that, I had a major learning disability. I had two sisters and a brother. The teachers told my parents that I just wasn’t as smart as my brothers and sisters. Maybe I could get married and that would be a good thing for me to do.

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Bootstrapping Using Services from London: Ajay Patel, CEO of HighQ (Part 1)

Posted on Saturday, Nov 29th 2014

Continuing with our Bootstrapping Using Services theme, we bring you a story from London.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start with some back story. Where are you from? Where were you born and raised? What kind of background?

Ajay Patel: I was born in London about 42 years ago. I’ve lived here all my life. My origins are actually Indian. My father is from India and my mother was born in Fiji, but she’s of Indian descent.

Sramana Mitra: What about school? I imagine you went to school in London.

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