Chris had significant domain knowledge in the hedge fund industry. He has self-financed a successful company offering to secure virtualization services to the segment with high service levels.
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?
Chris Grandi: I was born and raised on the East Coast outside of Washington DC, and I grew up in suburban Maryland. For university, I went to the West Coast and attended UCLA. I then continued on to graduate work. I got my MBA from Harvard Business School. I moved out to San Francisco, California where I’ve been for approximately 20 years.
Sramana Mitra: What year did you move out to San Francisco?
Chris Grandi: I moved out in 1993. I did go back to Boston for two years to go to graduate school, but I’ve been here for the better part of 20 years.
Sramana Mitra: What did you do when you moved out to San Francisco?
Chris Grandi: This was shortly after graduating from university. I had a desire to get involved with technology. I just wanted to move to Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley was certainly much younger at that point. Not knowing much about technology, I took the first job I could get. I actually joined a semiconductor company called Maxim Integrated Products. I got my start on the hardware side of the business. They were very big. They became a very big, public, fast-growth semiconductor company. I was there for almost four years.
Sramana Mitra: What role did you work in at Maxim?
Chris Grandi: I was a sales person at the entry level. It was a great job because it was a great company. They were growing quickly. They taught me how to sell.
Sramana Mitra: Selling is a critical skill of an entrepreneur.