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Bootstrapping from New Zealand, Scaling in America: Jason Westland, CEO of ProjectManager.com (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, May 2nd 2016

I have always said that you need to bootstrap your way to validation and traction. Jason did just that, and has built a robust company from New Zealand. Read on, it’s a fabulous story.

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?

Jason Westland: That’s way back in time than I expected. I’m from New Zealand in the Southern Alps. My first job was managing a project of 25 people. I was 22 out of university. I was in project management until around 15 years ago when I became the General Manager of a software company that grew fast. I was inspired, based on reporting to a Board that I learned a lot from, to start my own business. This is the third business that I’ve started. >>>

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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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