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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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From $3 a Day to Successful Entrepreneur: Tomas Gorny, CEO of Nextiva (Part 1)

Posted on Sunday, Jun 29th 2014

I see so many people making excuses for why they are not successful – discrimination, fate, luck, all external factors. Read Tomas Gorny’s story. I hope it will give you some perspective and some attitude adjustment that hopefully propels success.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start with your background. Tell us where you are from, where you were born and raised, and in what kind of background.

Tomas Gorny: I was born originally in Poland. I lived there for 14 years. It was a communist country. Poland didn’t have middle-class families at that point in time because everybody was relatively poor. At the age of 14, I moved to Germany where I spent another six years. Then at the age of 20, I moved to the United States.

>>>

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Bootstrapping a Global Software Product Company Using Services From Denmark: Sitecore CEO Michael Seifert (Part 1)

Posted on Saturday, Jun 21st 2014

European software companies seldom reach global scale. Sitecore has not only reached global scale, but is competing with Oracle, Adobe, IBM, and Salesforce.com. Read how they have navigated the market.

Sramana: Michael, where are you from? What is the background to your story?

Michael Seifert: I was born in the Copenhagen area where I lived until first grade. I then moved to a little island in Denmark with a population of about fifty thousand people. I lived there with my mother and her brothers through high school. My father moved to the US when I was 8 or 9. I spent my summer vacations in the Bay area with my father. My first flight to the US was at age 11.

Sramana: Your father moved to the Bay area, so I am assuming that is where you got your early exposure to this culture?

Michael Seifert: Yes. He started a company called SunFlex. I enjoyed going to work with him and that is where I was exposed to my first computer. >>>

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Building to $10 Million in EdTech: Panopto CTO Eric Burns (Part 1)

Posted on Sunday, Jun 15th 2014

One of the issues we’ve discussed is the slow-growth nature of the EdTech industry. This interview explores the question in depth, and shows how Panopto is mitigating the issue through sector diversification.

Sramana Mitra: Eric, let’s start at the beginning of your story. Tell us where you were born and raised, and in what kind of circumstances.

Eric Burns: I was born in Nashville, Tennessee. My father, at that time, was in a seminary to be an Episcopal priest. He finished seminary and we moved to Knoxville, Tennessee when I was very young. My dad opened his parish there. My mom was a psychologist.

>>>

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