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Bootstrap First, Raise Money from Kleiner Perkins Later: William King, CEO of Zephyr Health (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Mar 9th 2015

Continuing on our theme of ‘Bootstrap First, Raise Money Later’, here’s William King’s story of building a robust company in the healthcare industry, now funded by Kleiner Perkins.

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 circumstances?

William King: I was born in Princeton, New Jersey. I lived in Princeton until I was 18. I’m the oldest of six children. That’s a little bit unique in that we had a lot of action in the house. The age span was actually a difference of 10 years, which was pretty interesting and pretty heroic, now that I’m a parent myself. As a child, part of my experience in growing up was leading my siblings and helping them to participate. Kids look up to their older brothers and sisters. A lot of what was instilled in me at a very young age is this notion of making good choices, collaboration, and the idea that people are paying attention to the things that you’re doing.

We’re a very close family. We remain very close, although geographically we’re fragmented. I live in California. Some of my family lives in California but much of them are back East. Part of why I chose healthcare as a focus and career came out of a family situation.

Sramana Mitra; What about college? What were your thoughts at that time in terms of entrepreneurial aspirations? Was that something you wanted to do early on?

William King: The short answer is yes. My father is a real estate developer. I felt that was an entrepreneurial activity despite the fact that there are many different ways to go about real estate development. In particular, what they did were large commercial projects. This notion that they could literally take a green field and build and incorporate landscape awed me. One of the things that made a big impression on me at a young age is the idea of striking a balance between not just the workplace, but also the environment as a whole. A lot of the development projects that they did incorporated frosted glass and windows, greenery, and walkways. I remember, as a young child, seeing how these things came to life. For sure at the back of my mind, this idea of starting something was always there.

I studied at University of Denver, Colorado. There was not an Entrepreneurship major but the kernel was always there. When I think about my career progression and development, it was important to me to have formal training just like at school. At the back of my mind, I think I always thought there was an opportunity to try and start something and hopefully make a contribution to the world.

This segment is part 1 in the series : Bootstrap First, Raise Money from Kleiner Perkins Later: William King, CEO of Zephyr Health
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