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Bootstrap First, Raise Money Later: Ensighten CEO Josh Manion (Part 1)

Posted on Wednesday, May 20th 2015

Josh is a fellow MIT alum, and a fellow believer in the tried and true methodology that we espouse in 1M/1M: Bootstrap First, Raise Money Later. Josh raised his Series A with $5M in revenue. The company today is growing at 150% year-over-year. Wonderful story!

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

Josh Manion: I grew up in a little town in Wisconsin called Jamesville, which had about 50,000 people. My dad delivered little snack cakes to grocery stores and stocked the shelves with them. My mom ran a store. It was a Midwest upbringing. The unique element for me was that I was actually homeschooled all the way through high school. That afforded me some unique latitude to pursue some of the things that I’m passionate about. One of which is chess, which I took to some extreme. I actually played as a professional chess player for a couple of years before going to college. I have one sister three years older than me. >>>

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Entrepreneurship in Utah: Blackrock CEO Andy Gotshalk (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, May 18th 2015

We have covered quite a few Utah companies already like Pluralsight, InsideSales, and Steals.com. Here is another interesting entrepreneurial story out of the mini tech startup hub in Utah.

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?

Andy Gotshalk: I’m originally from Boston. I was born and raised there and also finished high school there. I went on to college at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. What I really wanted was Biomedical Engineering but at that time, there weren’t that many schools that offered a Bachelors in Biomedical Engineering. At Georgia Tech, I could pick either Mechanical or Electrical Engineering and then get a certificate in Bioengineering. I officially had a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Certificate in Bioengineering. >>>

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Bootstrap First, Raise Money Later: Joe Speiser, CEO of Little Things (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, May 18th 2015

Joe bootstrapped his first digital media/ad network business to $50 million in revenue and then sold it to private equity. Later he started a second business, an e-commerce company, that he bootstrapped for a year and then raised venture capital. His third business is a spin-off within the second business that takes him back to his digital media roots.

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?

Joe Speiser: I’m from New York and I went to school in the city. I studied at the Columbia University. I’ve been doing all sorts of businesses from a very young age. I always had a passion for trying to start something from scratch and make a living. My dad is an entrepreneur. I used to work in his warehouse for most of my summers. It definitely taught me a lot watching my dad run a business. I don’t know if it’s something that’s taught or something that you’re just genetically predisposed to. I enjoy it so much. >>>

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Bootstrapping to $20 Million with Intelligent Financial Engineering: Tim Hentschel, CEO of Hotelplanner.com (Part 1)

Posted on Wednesday, May 13th 2015

Tim has built an excellent company with quite unorthodox financial engineering decisions that have played out very well for him. Read this story to learn some out-of-the-box thinking.

Sramana Mitra: Where are you from? Where were your born, raised, and in what kind of background?

Tim Hentschel: I was from the West Coast originally, from as far as Hawaii where my family owns some hotels and also a large tour operation company. I left Hawaii when I was 13 to move to Carmel, California where I went to high school. Then, I moved east to New York where I attended Cornell University for hospitality management.

Sramana Mitra: What time frame was that? What year did you finish college?

 Tim Hentschel: 2001. >>>

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Building a Founding Team Financed Business from Omaha, Nebraska: InfoFree CEO Rakesh Gupta (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, May 11th 2015

The InfoUSA founders sold their information service business and reconvened to build InfoFree, a next generation Data-as-a-Service business. The company is funded with $15 million of funding from the co-founders, especially Vin Gupta, founder of InfoUSA, and is in the $5M+ revenue range and is now looking to scale to the next level.

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

Rakesh Gupta: I was born in India in the Himalayan foothills and did my schooling in New Delhi, which is becoming a tech town now in India. Then I studied engineering at IIT, Kolkata. Then I came to the US in 1986 to do my Master’s in Computer Science and Operations Research. That launched me into the corporate world. >>>

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Bootstrapping Using Services: eMazzanti CEO Carl Mazzanti (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, May 11th 2015

Carl has bootstrapped eMazzanti using services to close to $10M, maintaining a 20% y-o-y growth rate.

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

Carl Mazzanti: I was born in Pennsylvania. I come from a military family. A joke that I used as a kid was, “My parents moved around a lot, but I always found them.” Because of that, me and my brother are more outgoing than the rest.

I grew up in New Jersey. I went to school in France, Hong Kong, and Georgetown University. After school, I moved back to New Jersey to be around my family and take a leadership development program with Lucent Technologies. From there, they put me through classes at Wharton and NYU to increase my business acumen. >>>

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Raising $20 Million from Angel Investors: Everyone Counts CEO Lori Steele Contorer (Part 1)

Posted on Wednesday, May 6th 2015

Here’s a ‘what not to do’ lesson from Lori, except, she didn’t have any choice. A story of resilience that is now turning a corner, preparing for much bigger growth.

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

Lori Steele Contorer: I was born and raised in a small town in Ohio. I was raised primarily by my mother and my mother’s mother. I had a sister.  My mom’s sister was also a part of our family. I was raised in a lower middle class family that wasn’t into business or entrepreneurship at all.

Sramana Mitra: What about college? >>>

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Serial Entrepreneurship in Pittsburgh: Ron Bianchini’s Amazing Journey (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, May 4th 2015

Ron is a fellow MIT alumnus who went to Carnegie Mellon for his PhD, and subsequently has done three successful systems ventures. This story offers insights into his methodology.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s go back to the very beginning of your story. Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of circumstances?

Ron Bianchini: I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York in a very large Italian family. If you put a dot on my grandmother’s house at 35th Avenue and go out on a five-mile radius, you’d probably capture 30 to 50 Bianchinis. >>>

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