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Thought Leaders in Online Education: John Miller, Chief Operating Officer of Hands-On Learning (Part 1)

Posted on Wednesday, Aug 27th 2014

There is a huge gap between industry and academia today. Learn more about the lay of the land and identify opportunities for entrepreneurship.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start with giving our audience a bit of context about Hands-On Learning (HOL). What do you do? What major online education industry trends are you aligning with?

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Bootstrapping a Cloud Startup with Services on Force.com from London: Alex Fuller, Co-Founder and CTO of CloudSense (Part 1)

Posted on Wednesday, Aug 27th 2014

The Force.com platform has been a great bootstrapping device for entrepreneurs. Read how Alex and Richard Britton bootstrapped CloudSense to a sizable product company on the platform.

Sramana: Alex, let’s start with your personal journey. Where were you born and raised? What are the roots of your entrepreneurial story?

Alex Fuller: I was born in Wimbledon in the UK where the tennis championship is held. My educational background was not focused on technology. I studied classics at Oxford University, which focused on Latin, Greek, and Linguistics. Before that, I had already acquired an interest in technology. I got into computing as a child when I was 12 years old. I had a keen interest in computing throughout my school years. >>>

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Building A Profitable, Steady Growth Subscription Business: Expensify CEO David Barrett (Part 1)

Posted on Sunday, Aug 24th 2014

VCs in Silicon Valley want financial levers that allow you to grow with a hockey-stick curve. Expensify doesn’t have that. In my opinion, however, they have built an excellent, profitable, steady growth subscription business that has an attractive viral characteristic. The business, at some point, may accelerate naturally, but as David notes, the levers are not financial. Very interesting case study.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start with your personal background. Where were you born and raised? Tell us a little bit about your childhood.

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Thought Leaders in Online Education: Sari Factor, CEO of Edgenuity (Part 1)

Posted on Wednesday, Aug 20th 2014

K-12 has been a challenge for EdTech companies to build businesses in. Typically, buying cycles tend to be very long. See where Edgenuity is getting traction, and what trends are emerging in the space.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to you as well as to your company.

Sari Factor: After a short career in teaching back in 1980, I joined a company to explore technology in education. It was the first electronic publishing division of a major US publisher. I thought technology was going to change the world. I was this young green thing right out of teaching. Here I am many years later and I’m still trying to get technology to change K-12 education.

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Unicorn in the Making: Veeam CEO Ratmir Timashev (Part 1)

Posted on Wednesday, Aug 20th 2014

You have read some of the Unicorn Series pieces already: Tableau, FireEye, RightNow, Palo Alto Networks and several others. Here’s a company that gets little coverage but is performing at Unicorn levels.

Sramana: Ratmir, let’s start our discussion by reviewing your background. Where are you from? What are the roots of your entrepreneurial journey?

Ratmir Timashev: I was born in Russia in 1966 in the mountains between the European and Asian region of Russia. I studied physics in Moscow and I attended the top science school in Russia. I was working on my PhD when perestroika came into being. Science was very prestigious under the Soviet Union and when perestroika happened, all that changed. Government funding suddenly stopped. The economy collapsed and science did not make sense. A lot of my friends who were studying science went to work in other areas. >>>

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Building a Global Technology Company from Colombia: Ricardo Villadiego, CEO of Easy Solutions (Part 1)

Posted on Wednesday, Aug 13th 2014

We seldom see global technology companies being built out of Latin America, so what Ricardo and his team have been able to accomplish is very exciting. And to think that they are building a fraud prevention company out of Bogota, Colombia is truly impressive.

Sramana: Ricardo, let’s start at the very beginning of your story. Where were you born and raised?

Ricardo Villadiego: I was born in Cartagena, Colombia which is a small city in the north of the country. I was raised there until I was 15 and then I moved to Bogota to study to become an engineer. I moved there by myself. I finished my degree as an electrical engineer. Immediately after graduation, I went to work for Unisys Corporation. >>>

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Disrupting the Floral E-Commerce Industry: Farbod Shoraka, CEO of BloomNation (Part 1)

Posted on Wednesday, Aug 6th 2014

You must have heard of 1-800-Flowers. Did you know that the company takes 50% of the order value, while the local florists fulfill the orders? That’s a hefty customer acquisition cost. Read how Farbod Shoraka and his co-founders are disrupting the industry.

Sramana: Farbod, let’s start by learning a bit about you. Where are you from? What is the backstory to the BloomNation story?

Farbod Shoraka: I am from Los Angeles. I was born in Iran, but I grew up in LA. I was only two years old when we came over to California. I went to school at Berkeley. I studied economics and graduated in 2004. >>>

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Bootstrapping a Bulk Book E-Commerce Business: BookPal CEO Tony DiCostanzo (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Aug 4th 2014

Tony has identified a gap in the book business and built a thriving company. Let’s learn the how, what, and why of it.

Sramana Mitra: Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from? Where were you born and raised?

Tony DiCostanzo: I was born in Anchorage, Alaska. Shortly after turning two, I moved up to Nome, Alaska – from a small city to an even smaller village of 3,000 people. We lived there through the sixth grade and then moved back to Anchorage through most of high school. I ended up spending a couple of years in Washington State but found that California was more of my natural habitat. I came down to go to school at Pepperdine University and met my wife who was from southern California. It was a natural >>>

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