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Scaling a SaaS Company in a Competitive Space: Gainsight CEO Nick Mehta (Part 3)

Posted on Friday, Dec 20th 2013

Sramana: What came after your exit from RedPoint?

Nick Mehta: In 2002 I was talking about my career options with a VC. We were talking about big companies, and he told me that if I ever wanted to go work for a big company to get that experience, I should do it at that point because it would be a lot harder to do it later. He told me that I would learn a lot about how things work at scale.

I then went to Veritas, which was a storage company that was pretty hot at the time. They were growing pretty fast. I found a product management job listed on the website and called. I was able to get an entry-level product manager job working for a very boring product. I was excited about the job, though, because I felt it was an opportunity to see how to sell technology at scale and how to build a large product.

I came in as a product manager in 2002. I spent five years at that company, during which time Symantec bought Veritas. I was fortunate and lucky to work on something that did well. I ended up becoming a VP and general manager of a business that grew from $20 million in revenue to $300 million in revenue in a couple of years. I was fortunate to be on that team because we essentially ran a mini business unit within the company. It was a great learning experience. In 2007, after five years at Veritas and Symantec, I felt I had learned enough about large enterprise, and I decided to go back into the startup world.

Sramana: How did that decision come about?

Nick Mehta: I was at a large company and learned a lot. I think there is an opportunity to learn everywhere, and I enjoyed my time there. At some point I felt that some of the learning I was looking for was not coming anymore. There was one day in 2007 when I slept through my alarm clock, and my wife thought that was really odd; it was something that I had never done before. I was running a global business unit, so I was used to waking up at 5 a.m.

She knew that I was having thoughts about doing something different. I don’t know if it was the universe telling me to do something different, but it made me realized that I was probably not as excited about what I was doing as I used to me. I find it hard to do something if I’m not excited about it.

I knew that I wanted to run a company, but I did not know what it was that I wanted to start. I thought about a lot of alternatives, such as starting something on my own versus going into an existing startup as an executive. I knew some folks in the VC industry, and a few different firms asked me to come spend some time with then as an entrepreneur in residence until I figured out what I wanted to do next. I would describe that as a job that only exists in California, where a VC pays you money to figure out what you want to do with your life!

This segment is part 3 in the series : Scaling a SaaS Company in a Competitive Space: Gainsight CEO Nick Mehta
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