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Bootstrapping to $27 Million from Arizona: Jeremy Young, CEO of Tanga (Part 1)

Posted on Thursday, Feb 11th 2016

This is a wonderful story of a serial bootstrapper who has built a wonderful e-commerce business similar to Groupon, but with no outside money.

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

Jeremy Young: I was born in Spokane, Washington. My dad had ended up moving our family across the border to Idaho, which is about 45 minutes away. That’s where I grew up. I have six brothers and sisters—two older brothers and four younger sisters. I was raised in a middle lower class home. My dad worked the same job for 30 years. My oldest brother, Jeff, who is five years older than me ended up getting several jobs while he was in high school and got me interested in business and work in general. He’s a role model to me. He worked very hard and always had lots of money. He was able to buy cars, stereo equipments, and video games. I learned from him and really wanted to earn money as well. >>>

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Building a High Growth SaaS Company from Los Angeles: Nick Hedges, CEO of Velocify (Part 1)

Posted on Wednesday, Feb 10th 2016

This story illustrates a couple of interesting strategic moves that have resulted in growth acceleration for Velocify. These kinds of strategic moves are critical to the evolution of a business.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s go back to the very beginning of your story. Where are you from? Where were you born and raised? What’s the back story of Velocify?

Nick Hedges: I was born in England where I lived for 30 years. I would say that I was expected to be a banker when I grew up. My father was a successful banker and his father was also a banker. I really disappointed my parents by going into the advertising industry after college. I went to Manchester University and graduated Valedictorian from school. I decided that I wanted to do something more creative than banking. I went into advertising and worked for Ogilvy & Mather for a couple of years. I enjoyed that but found it a bit limiting. >>>

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Bootstrapping a Niche E-Commerce Business to Exit: Dara Greaney, CEO of BuyAutoParts.com (Part 1)

Posted on Friday, Feb 5th 2016

Dara bootstrapped BuyAutoParts to $54 million in profitable revenue and sold the company to private equity. Yet another story of success in the niche e-commerce domain.

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?

Dara Greaney: I was born and raised in Ventura, California. I was the first one in my family to be born in the US. My family is all Irish. My grandfather got a visa and came to New York. My father immigrated in ’78 and I was born that year. I’m a first-generation American. I went to school in Ventura. I enjoyed beach, surfing, and soccer. I was always fascinated by technology and marketing. I went to University of San Diego for undergraduate studies. I got a degree in Marketing and Finance there. Then I went to San Diego State’s entrepreneurship school and graduated there in 2002. At that time, I did a startup with an e-commerce company that quickly got bought by a bigger company, but I didn’t want to move to Chicago. >>>

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Bootstrapping to $100 Million Using Services from The Netherlands: Pierre and Fred Guelen, Planon Software (Part 1)

Posted on Thursday, Feb 4th 2016

Pierre and Fred Guelen have bootstrapped a very significant company from The Netherlands using the bootstrapping using services principle. Read on and learn how.

Sramana Mitra: We’re going to start at the very beginning of your personal journeys. One of you please start by telling us where you’re from, where you were born, and in what kind of background, and then we’ll do the same thing with the other person.

Pierre Guelen: I’m the CEO of Planon group. Fred is my brother. We were born in The Netherlands in a small town near the German border. We were raised in an entrepreneurial family. My father owned a large building company. He was already the fourth generation in that building company.

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

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Bootstrapping to $15 Million: David Braun, CEO of TemplateMonster (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Feb 1st 2016

When you run a business over a long period of time, technology changes create massive challenges. David has navigated TemplateMonster in  several of these.

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 circumstances?

David Braun: I’m from Georgia – the former USSR country. I’ve lived there until I turned 11. In 1992, Russia initiated the war in Georgia. We were a very wealthy family. We had to drop everything we had – house, apartments, cars, and so on. We just moved in one day with just the clothes we were wearing. I still have my shorts in which I had to run away. That’s all we had to start.

My father was a teacher. He was teaching math. My mother was a cosmetic specialist. We were moving from one place to another, wherever friends offered free places to live. It all ended up in a small city in Ukraine where I graduated from school and finished university. >>>

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Building an Artificial Intelligence Software Company from Dallas: Dave Copps, CEO of Brainspace (Part 1)

Posted on Thursday, Jan 28th 2016

Artificial Intelligence startups are very hot these days. Read how Dave Copps has built Brainspace from Dallas.

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

Dave Copps: I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. My dad was an eye surgeon. My parents had moved down from Wisconsin. They were snow birds, as they called themselves. My mom was a community leader. My dad was very smart. He graduated from college at 17. His dad had the same background. He went to the Navy while his friends were graduating.

My mom funded many fundraising efforts in Dallas. From an early stage, I learned a lot about the importance of education, culture, and giving back. I left for college to go to Westminster College in Missouri and came back to Dallas and finished at the University of North Texas. I’ve been in Dallas ever since. I always thought I’d be off in Europe somewhere. Dallas is a great city. It’s a great place to start a business. >>>

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Women ARE Raising Venture Capital: Kerry Cooper, CEO of ChooseEnergy (Part 1)

Posted on Wednesday, Jan 20th 2016

Kerry was brought into ChooseEnergy by Kleiner Perkins along with the seed funding. Since then, she has raised $25 million and is running a traditional venture-funded company. This interview includes a discussion on the controversial subject of women in technology and venture capital.

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?

Kerry Cooper: I was born and raised in New Mexico. I was born in Santa Fe and raised, mostly, in Albuquerque. Both my parents are veterinarians. My mom was one of the first women to go to veterinary school. However, I grew up in a lower middle-class environment. We didn’t have much money. I started working when I was eight. I started babysitting when I was 12. I got my first job at Baskin-Robbins when I was 15. I think I’ve had a thousand jobs since then. That was the very beginning. I graduated from high school in Albuquerque. >>>

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Resilient Entrepreneurship: Inspire CEO Brian Loew (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Jan 18th 2016

Brian and his team went five years with little or no revenue. Revenues started flowing in year six, and now, in the 10th year, the company is doing over $5 million in revenue, growing 80% y-o-y.

Read Inspire’s journey of resilience and persistence.

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?

Brian Loew: I grew up in Northern Virginia in the suburbs of Washington DC. Both my parents are teachers. My father is a university professor. My mother was an elementary school teacher and, later, a computer programmer. I grew up as a sort of normal suburban kid. I went to the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, which was a big influence. Then I went on to George Washington University and double majored in Physics and Economics. I was always the entrepreneurial kid. >>>

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