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Entrepreneur Journeys

Capital Efficient Entrepreneurship: Janet Kosloff, CEO of InCrowd (Part 1)

Posted on Friday, Apr 29th 2016

You know I don’t buy into the men saying that there’s a bias against women entrepreneurs in the industry. Janet doesn’t either. Here’s an opportunity to learn from her success in building solid revenues, and a profitable business.

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?

Janet Kosloff: I was born and raised on Long Island in New York. My father owned a diner in Queens. He was from Brooklyn. My mother was from a small town in Central Pennsylvania. I had a fairly typical upbringing. I went to college at the State University of New York and I studied Nursing. I started my career as a nurse not necessarily because I had a passion for nursing. It was more so because I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do with my life. My family guided me into that career for the reason that I had an affinity for science. >>>

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Building a Robust Business in Australia: Investorist CEO Jon Ellis (Part 1)

Posted on Friday, Apr 29th 2016

Jon has side-stepped venture capital, and raised a significant funding from his customers. He hopes to take the company public in Australia once the company gets to about $50 million in revenue.

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

Jon Ellis: I grew up in a small town in Australia on the border of New South Wales and Victoria. It’s got a population of about 40,000 people. My father is a mechanic and has owned his own business for many years. My mother is a teacher.

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

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Bootstrapping to $18 Million: Vlad Friedman, CEO of Edge Hosting (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Apr 25th 2016

Vlad has built his business using only bank financing, and has aspirations of growing it to $50 million. Read how he has done it, including about on-dilutive financing mechanisms.

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?

Vlad Friedman: I was originally born in Ukraine back in 1973. In 1979, my family decided to immigrate to the United States. I came to Baltimore, Maryland at the age of six from Kiev. My family and I have lived here ever since.

Sramana Mitra: What about education? >>>

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Multiple Pivots, Taking on Giants, to Over $100 Million in Revenue: Matthew Calkins, CEO of Appian (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Apr 18th 2016

Matt’s first couple of bets didn’t pan out. The story is interesting on many levels, the pivots being two critical ones. Also interesting is how the company managed to compete with much better funded competitors and win.

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?

Matthew Calkins: I was born in Hartford, Connecticut and raised in California. There’s nothing particularly of interest about my background. I went to a public school. I was not a technologist but I appreciated technology growing up. That carried me when I started my degree though that was also not in Computer Science. I am an economist by training. I’m interested in technology because it is so impactful on society. It’s complicated. It’s fascinating but it’s also a way to change the world.

Sramana Mitra: Where did you go for college? >>>

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Successful Pivot to a High Growth Business: Ray Grainger, CEO of Mavenlink (Part 1)

Posted on Friday, Apr 15th 2016

Ray had started Mavenlink with a certain vision, but had to pivot to find market traction. The pivot was handled skilfully. The original vision remains, and Ray hopes to be able to launch it in the next couple of years. Very good, deliberate execution.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your personal journey. Where are you from? Where are you raised? What kind of background do you come from?

Ray Grainger: I was born and raised in Southern California. Though I’ve lived, traveled, and worked in many places around the globe, I’ve always called Southern California home. From an upbringing perspective, I’m from a middle-class environment. One of the key things that is fundamental is, I grew up in the 70s. In the 70s, divorce was a growing trend especially in California.

By the time I was 18, my mother and father had been divorced five times. I was moving from one house to another. What that really instilled in me as I became >>>

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Bootstrapping, Fund Raising and Exit: Mads Jensen’s Journey with Sefaira (Part 1)

Posted on Thursday, Apr 14th 2016

Mads started working on Sefaira while an MBA student at INSEAD Business School. He went on to launch a sustainable architectural design software product, raised $10 million in funding, and recently exited the company. Read on for more.

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?

Mads Jensen: I was born and raised in Denmark. I’m from a family with several generations of entrepreneurs. I grew up with business in my blood. I was fortunate enough that my grandfather, in the early 80s, thought this computer thing might have some potential. He bought me a computer when I was quite young. All kids these days grow up with computers.

Sramana Mitra: Where were you growing up? >>>

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Bootstrapping to $5 Million: IdeaScale CEO Robert Hoehn (Part 1)

Posted on Friday, Apr 8th 2016

The Innovation Management software space is quite crowded. Ideascale has managed to carve out a niche. Read on!

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

Robert Hoehn: I am from Northern New York, almost bordering Canada. I actually did Computer Science in high school. I was a pretty lucky kid to have experience in programming at a pretty young age. I went to the University of Vermont and joined their Computer Engineering program. I studied Computer Science and Business.

After that, I decided to take a little time off and think about where I wanted to live and what kind of environment I wanted to >>>

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Scaling a Family E-Commerce Business: Lucky Vitamin CEO Sam Wolf (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Apr 4th 2016

All kinds of niche e-commerce businesses have been built over the last 20 years. Sam and his family have built a health and wellness products business that is doing quite well.

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?

Sam Wolf: I was born and raised outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I still reside there now. I grew up in a family that had ran, operated, and owned a family business since the day I was born. My father was fairly entrepreneurial. He inherited a family business from my grandfather. All of the family businesses had always been anchored in health and wellness. I ultimately went to college in Washington DC. I went to American University and graduated from there in 2004 with a Business degree with a specialisation in Information Technology and E-Commerce. >>>

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Bootstrapping with a Paycheck from Indiana: One Click Ventures Co-Founder Angie Stocklin (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Mar 14th 2016

Angie and her husband have built a portfolio of e-commerce businesses using a very unusual strategy. I had a lot of fun learning about their journey, and hope you would as well.

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?

Angie Stocklin: I was born in a small town called Paisley in Indiana. It’s a town of about 2,500. My mom was a teacher and my dad is a farmer and somewhat of an entrepreneur in the fact that farming is a self-employed type of business. My dad and his brothers owned an implement dealership. They sold tractors. I grew up with a little bit of an entrepreneurial spirit. I went to college at the University of Evansville and started studying Psychology. I went on to get my Masters and my educational specialist degree in School Psychology. I worked as a school psychologist for three years before starting One Click. >>>

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Leveraging Amazon To Build a Cloud Storage Business: Nelson Nahum, CEO of Zadara Storage (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Mar 7th 2016

Nelson has built an interesting enterprise storage company and one of his key strategic moves was an unusual deal with Amazon.

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?

Nelson Nahum: I was born in Uruguay. I immigrated to Israel to study in college. Back in the 80s, Uruguay was governed by junta. It was not very nice to stay there. Me and my brother moved to Israel with little money to study engineering. I got accepted into the university. The first thing that I liked in Israel was the freedom that everybody had. It was totally new for me because I grew up in a dictatorship kind of environment.

Sramana Mitra: What did you study?

Nelson Nahum: Engineering. First of all, I studied Hebrew. After a few months, I got accepted into an engineering school in Technion University. >>>

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