Jay Chaudhry is the founder and CEO of Zscaler, an enterprise cloud security company. He is an innovator and trendsetter who has founded and funded several successful companies, including Zscaler, AirDefense, CipherTrust, CoreHarbor, Air2Web, and SecureIT. Chaudhry’s 25 years of sales, marketing and engineering experience also includes leadership roles at leading companies such as IBM, NCR and Unisys.
Sramana: Jay, let’s get started with an overview of your background. Where do you come from? Where do your entrepreneurial roots come from?
Jay Chaudhry: I have the biggest contrast with where I came from and where I am at. I have seen the Stone Age and I have seen the rocket age in the span of 40 years. I come from a tiny village at the foothills of the Himalayas. There were 800 people in the village where I grew up. Every so often I look back, and I can’t believe the transition that I have been through. We had a village well, no electricity, and we had to self-sustain as a community. We grew out own cotton and made our own clothes. It was a good, simple life. The best thing I learned from that is hard work and honesty. Life is tough, and you have to work very hard. >>>
Krish Kupathil is the founder and CEO of AgreeYa Mobility, an enterprise mobility and mobile system integration company. AgreeYa Mobility provides solutions for collaboration and communication products for mobile platforms, and has a flagship product lknown as Onvelop. Prior to AgreeYa Mobility, Krish was the vice presiden at Azingo, another company in the mobility space that was purchased by Motorola. Prior to Azingo he worked at FSMLabs.
Sramana: Krish, let’s start with your personal story. Where are you from? What is the story to your personal journey?
Krish Kupathil: I was born and brought up in Delhi, India. I did my schooling and college in India. I started dabbling in software in 1987 and did some initial work in India. I got into software related businesses surrounding finance. I did some work out of Europe and Singapore before landing in the U.S. ten years ago. I was involved in a few startups in earlier years as well. >>>
Ash Ashutosh is the CEO of Actifio, a company which provides advanced data storage products. He brings more than 25 years of storage industry and entrepreneurship experience to his role of CEO at Actifio. Ashutosh is a recognized leader and architect in the storage industry where he has spearheaded several major industry initiatives, including iSCSI and storage virtualization, and he has led the authoring of numerous storage industry standards. Ashutosh was most recently a partner with Greylock Partners, where he focused on making investments in enterprise IT companies. Prior to Greylock, he was vice president and chief technologist for HP Storage.
Ashutosh founded and led AppIQ, a market leader of Storage Resource Management (SRM) solutions, which was acquired by HP in 2005. He was also the founder of Serano Systems, a Fibre Channel controller solutions provider, acquired by Vitesse Semiconductor in 1999. Prior to Serano, Ashutosh was senior vice president at StorageNetworks, the industry’s first storage service provider. He previously worked as an architect and engineer at LSI and Intergraph.
Sramana: Ash, let’s start with the beginning of your story. What is the back story to your entrepreneurial journey? Where were you born and where did you grow up?
Ash Ashutosh: I was born and raised in Hyderabad, India. I came to the U.S. to pursue my masters and PhD in computer science. I got half way through my PhD when someone came and gave me a job to go build a new RISC processor. This was in the early days of RISC processors, in 1988 and 1989. I have been a systems person for a long time. I was involved with the early development of building systems and the storage used on those systems. >>>
Todd McKinnon is the CEO and co-founder of Okta, an enterprise grade identity management service, built from the ground up in the cloud and delivered with a focus on customer success. Okta enables IT management of access across any application, person or device. Whether the people are employees, partners, or customers, or the applications are in the cloud, on-premises or on a mobile device, Okta helps people become more productive and IT more secure.
Sramana Mitra: Todd, let’s start at the beginning of your story. Where are you from? What is the story to Okta?
Todd McKinnon: I am from California. I was born in Southern California but I grew up in the Bay Area. I always tell people that I am super lucky that the career I chose to go into happened to be the hotbed of the area where I grew up. All these smart people are born all over the world and have to move here, and for some reason my parents decided to move here in the 1970s, so I was raised in it. I am extremely lucky. >>>
Maxine Manafy is the founder and CEO of Bunndle, an app distribution network. Prior to founding Bunndle she held various sales and executive positions with companies such as Viximo, Mochi Media, Yahoo, KLA-Tencor and Intel. She is a graduate of San Jose State University and Stanford.
Sramana: Maxine, where does your story begin? Where are you from?
Maxine Manafy: I was born here in the Bay Area, in San Francisco. I was raised in East Oakland. Both of my parents are immigrants and entrepreneurs as well. My father is from Iran and my mother is from Samoa. My father built his own furniture, so he had a furniture factory. My mother worked in the family business, and we all were raised around that environment. My interest in starting my own company has always been there. >>>
Chris Cabrera is the founder and CEO of Xactly, a leading incentive compensation management software suite for companies of any size. He has more than two decades of successful senior management experience at both early-stage and public companies and has managed sales, marketing, operations and business development. He is also the co-author of “Xactly Sales Compensation for Dummies.” Prior to founding Xactly Corporation, Cabrera was the senior vice president of operations for Callidus Software. Before joining Callidus Software, he ran North American channel sales at Silicon Graphics. Cabrera earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration with an emphasis in entrepreneurship from the University of Southern California, and a master’s degree in business administration from Santa Clara University.
Sramana: Chris, let’s get started by reviewing your background. Where do you come from? What are the roots of your entrepreneurial journey?
Chris Cabrera: I grew up as one of five kids. Originally I was brought up in Boston, although my family moved a lot. I moved to Northern California for high school. My father was a serial entrepreneur at a time when being an entrepreneur meant you were a bootstrapped entrepreneur. My household was very entrepreneurial. I worked with my dad every summer in his office. >>>
Jake is the co-founder and CEO of SheerID, an online shopping cart platform which provides instant, seamless group verification. For more than 15 years, Jake has focused his career on entrepreneurship and small business growth. He has traveled the world to teach business and marketing planning to small businesses, consultants, large enterprises, universities, and government organizations. He co-authored the province of Alberta, Canada’s Tourism Marketing education program, developed Pearson Education’s business feasibility analysis software and Integrated Marketing Communications program. Jake is a graduate of the University of Oregon.
Sramana: Jake, let’s start by reviewing your background. Where did you grow up? What put you on your entrepreneurial path?
Jake Weatherly: I grew up just outside of Ann Arbor, Michigan. I was raised by a family of Michigan Wolverines. I grew up with a “Blue and Maize” room. I got into skiing and ski racing and really enjoyed it, so I broke with family tradition and did not go to school in Michigan, instead I went East so I could focus on collegiate ski racing. I attended Middlebury College my freshman year and destroyed my shoulder while I was there. I was laid up the summer between my freshman and sophomore years. My then-girlfriend, and now wife, and I decided that it was time to head West. >>>
Kevin O’Connor is a serial entrepreneur with a track record of success. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a BS in electrical engineering in 1983. He was the founder and VP of Research at ICC, which was acquired by DCA in 1992. He was then the founder and CEO of DoubleClick from 1995 to 2005. He also operated O’Connor Ventures from 2001 to 2009. He founded FindTheBest in 2009 and is currently the CEO.
Sramana: Kevin, let’s start with some of your early story. Where are you from? What circumstances did you grow up in?
Kevin O’Connor: I grew up outside of Detroit. I always knew I wanted to be an electrical engineer. When I was 12 and 13 years old I used to go around and pull electronics out of the trash, like old TVs, and make stuff with them. I figured that I would get a PhD and go to work for Bell Labs, hopefully picking up a Nobel Prize or two. I wanted to be an inventor. >>>
Jeff Nobbs is the founder and CEO of Extrabux, a highly regarded shopping rewards site. He co-founded Extrabux as a student at the University of Southern California in 2006. Two years later, Extrabux was submitted to the USC business plan competition, where it won first place.
Sramana: Jeff, let’s start with the beginning of your story. Where are you from? What are the circumstances that led up to the Extrabux story?
Jeff Nobbs: I am from San Diego. I was born in Northern California and spent two months there before I decided it wasn’t for me! I grew up in San Diego and went to college at USC in Los Angeles. While I was at USC, I started Extrabux with my co-founder, Noah, a guy who lived two doors down from me in the dorms. We started it as a side project while we were at school, and it stayed that way for a few years. >>>
Matt Mickiewicz, who was named to the Forbes Magazine “30 under 30″ list in 2012, co-founded 99designs. The company has hosted more than 200,000 design contests and paid out more than $50 million to designers, while winning a 2010 Webby Award for “Best Web Service” and raising $35 million from Accel Partners. Matt has also co-founded Flippa.com, which has helped entrepreneurs sell more than $70 million in websites and domain names. INC Magazine named Matt to their “30 under 30″ list in 2011.
Sramana: Matt, let’s start at the beginning of your story. Where were you born and raised? What is the story that prepared you for your entrepreneurial career?
Matt Mickiewicz: I was born in Poland under Communist rule in 1983. A couple of years later, my parents immigrated to Germany to avoid Communism. They had four-hour lines just to buy a block of cheese. I lived in Germany for just shy of five years, until 1991. My mother worked in the service industry and my father worked in construction. >>>