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Entrepreneur Journeys

Master Boostrapper with a Billion Plus in Exits: Bhavin Turakhia, CEO of Directi (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Apr 24th 2017

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Bhavin and his brother Divyank have bootstrapped Directi, a portfolio of Internet businesses over the last ~20 years. In 2014, they had their first $160 million exit. In 2016, they had a second $900 million exit. It’s a very interesting story of masterful business acumen and disciplined fundamentals-driven execution. Not a penny of external financing involved, by the way.

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?

Bhavin Turakhia: I was born and raised in Mumbai. My parents are originally from there. I went to school there. In many ways, the seeds for my entrepreneurship career were largely sown there. I remember in 1989, I was in the sixth grade when the school installed their very first computer room. I’m talking >>>

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Scaling a Fast Growth, Venture-Funded Company: Rephael Sweary, Co-Founder and President of WalkMe (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Apr 24th 2017

WalkMe’s vision is to make software understand humans, rather than the other way around. Rephael discusses the growth story of a company that is driving significant innovation in mobile and web user engagement.

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?

Rephael Sweary: I was born in Tel Aviv and grew up in Tel Aviv. I was an entrepreneur at a very early age. In elementary school, I >>>

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Bootstrap First to $10 Million from Australia, Raise $25 Million Later from the US: Ashik Ahmed, CEO of Deputy (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Apr 17th 2017

Bootstrap First, Raise Money Later is the 1M/1M mantra. Ashik Ahmed tells his story of bootstrapping to $10 Million before raising $25 Million in the first external financing.

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

Ashik Ahmed: I was born in Bangladesh. In 1997, my whole family migrated to Melbourne in Australia. I did my high school education as well as university in Melbourne. Then we moved to Sydney where I started working for my co-founder. My co-founder >>>

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Capital Efficient Entrepreneurship from Arizona: Heidi Jannenga, Co-Founder of WebPT (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Apr 17th 2017

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Heidi and her co-founder have bootstrapped WebPT to significant traction, then raised a small angel round. 2016 revenue was $40 million. The company has sold 51% stake to private equity and the founders have already experienced significant liquidity. Excellent story of a female entrepreneur who doesn’t make excuses. She just executes.

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?

Heidi Jannenga: I was born in Texas to two immigrant parents. My dad immigrated from Austria and my mom is a first-generation American born in Hawaii. She’s Japanese. We moved to Winter Park, Florida when I was six years old. I was a multi-sport athlete in high school. I ended up playing basketball in college at UC Davis in Northern California. I injured my knee in my junior year. >>>

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Bootstrapping Using Services to an Awesome Business Model: Inspyrus CEO Nilay Banker (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Apr 10th 2017

We’ve shared many Bootstrapping Using Services case studies with you here, as well as in the book on that topic. This one is particularly interesting because of the absolutely awesome business model that Nilay and his team have implemented. Read on!

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

Nilay Banker: I’m from India, born and brought up in Ahmedabad, which used to be a sleepy town when I was born and growing up. It has now blossomed into a sprawling metro. It’s one of the five largest cities in India. I had a very interesting childhood. I grew up in a family of professionals. My father is an architect. My mother is a doctor. Pretty much, every person in my family is a professional with very few people who are not doctors. I consider myself a black sheep in the >>>

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Bootstrapping to $30 Million from Czech Republic: Vaclav Muchna, CEO of YSoft (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Apr 10th 2017

This is a wonderful story of a Czech entrepreneur, who at 22, at a time when his country was far from ready to support entrepreneurs, struggled through immense odds and has built a global business. Read on for inspiration and excellent lessons from the trenches.

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?

Vaclav Muchna: I was born in Czech Republic. I studied electronics in high school, which I didn’t like. It was not possible back then that would parlay into the software industry. Because the country was not so developed, access to technologies was limited. I really didn’t like the school. I was born and raised in Prague >>>

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Surviving Near-Death Experiences and Going Public in London: Michael Hughes, co-CEO of LoopUp (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Apr 3rd 2017

An entrepreneur’s journey is often about survival and getting to profitability so that near-death situations do not threaten his venture’s existence. Michael talks about his team’s long, often treacherous, path through troubled waters.

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?

Michael Hughes: I grew up in Wales, United Kingdom in a town of 170,000 people. I was there for the first 18 years of my life.

Sramana Mitra: What did you do for your education? >>>

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From Iran to Stanford to Silicon Valley Entrepreneur: Farnaz Ronaghi, Co-Founder and CTO of NovoEd (Part 1)

Posted on Friday, Mar 31st 2017

Donald Trump wants to restrict immigrants, especially those from Muslim countries, and especially from Iran. Well, read this Iranian entrepreneur’s story.

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

Farnaz Ronaghi: I was born in Tehran, Iran. I came to the United States for graduate school. I was accepted in Stanford University for a Master’s degree in Management Science and Engineering. That is where I met my adviser and co-founder. After that, I started my Ph.D. My work was related to the intersection of computer science and social science similar to human-computer interaction but was more focused on incentives and game theory. One of the pain points that I had >>>

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Serial Entrepreneur From Finland: Verto CEO Hannu Verkasalo (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Mar 27th 2017

Hannu has done three companies, including the one that he is doing now – Verto Analytics. We love stories of successful entrepreneurs from different parts of the world, and this one, from Finland is a wonderful one!

Sramana Mitra: Tell me where you come from, where you were born, raised, and in what kind of background.

Hannu Verkasalo: I’m originally from Finland. I was born in the northern parts of Finland, which is famous for Nokia. I moved to Helsinki to do my university studies. I did quite a bit of different studies in business and technology in Helsinki. About 15 years ago, I started my first company. It was all about mobile apps, which was an industry driven by Nokia at that time. >>>

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Long Road to Product-Market Fit: Allan Wille, CEO of KlipFolio (Part 1)

Posted on Friday, Mar 24th 2017

Often, it takes a long, long time for a company to hit its stride. Read Allan Wille’s journey of great perseverance.

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?

Allan Wille: I was born here in Canada. Before I turned one, we moved to Switzerland. My father is Swiss and my mother is Canadian. I spent the first 14 years of my life growing up in Switzerland. My dad was a banker. Later on, we moved back to Canada because he wanted to start his own business. That has certainly influenced me. >>>

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