Concur CEO Steve Singh recently did an interview with me to discuss the development of Concur Technologies (CNQR). Concur helps corporations lower travel and expense processing costs by streamlining the expense reporting process. It is one of the companies I have covered as part of my Enterprise 3.0 series.
SM: I would like to trace the story of how you built the company. What I would like to start with is your personal background. Where do you come from, where did you grow up and what was your early career? SS: I am happy to cover that, although it will probably be boring! I was a product of India, but I grew up in Michigan. I spent the early part of my professional career in Silicon Valley working for a division of Apple. I also went off and started a company that became a part of Contact Software which is the maker of ACT. I did a brief stint at Oracle, followed by a stint at Symantec. Most of these changes were due to being acquired. After Symantec I came on board as the CEO of Concur, which was February 1996.
SM: What roles were you playing when you were doing your earlier stints? Did you come up the marketing track? SS: No, I was in the development track. I am an engineer, so I started off writing code on the Apple Macintosh platform. I and Mike Hilton, the co-founder of Concur, were the original developers on MacWrite II. We were also the folks who developed what became ACT. My professional background is very engineering oriented. I happened to have a passion for the business side of it as well, so I happened to migrate in that direction.
SM: Did you found Concur? SS: I didn’t found Concur, I was an original investor in Concur. Rajiv Singh, who is my brother and also the President of the company, and Mike Hilton, who is the Chief Technology Officer, founded the company. I had the chance to invest in the company and was a very active board member in the early days of Concur.
SM: What year was Concur founded? SS: It was founded in 1993. It just goes to show how long it takes to built great companies.