Justin tried his hand in other businesses and never had the time to go back and finish his degree at Stanford. He learnt business on the job. Today, he has a thriving Disaster Recovery Cloud venture, for which he has raised over $60 million. The company has not IPO’d or exited yet. Instead, it is moving upmarket from its SME customer roots.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your story. Where are you from? Where were you born and raised? What is your backstory?
Justin Moore: I was born and raised in Manhattan. I moved to London when I was in my early to mid teens and then came out to California for college.
Sramana Mitra: What did you do for college?
Justin Moore: I went to Stanford. I majored in History and English and minored in Computer Science.
Sramana Mitra: When did you come out of college?
Justin Moore: I stopped college a number of times to start companies. I wasn’t on your normal four-year trajectory. Technically, I stopped about two quarters short of graduating. After many failed attempts to go back, I was just busy and excited about building companies. Every time I return, I get another idea and start that company. I’m still two quarters short. Maybe someday I’ll finish.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s go to the first time you dropped out of college to start your first company and trace that story.
Justin Moore: I would have been a sophomore. I got the idea after my freshman summer. At the end of freshman year, I went to the Career Development Center to start looking for a summer job. Everything was in binders and you would look through job opportunities and fax your resumes. This was in 2000 at a time when the Internet was widely available.
It just seemed crazy that, for a college student seeking summer internships or first jobs, you had to go through this manual and cumbersome process of looking through folios of job opportunities and faxing resumes and cover letters. I had this idea of putting it online and having a website targeted at college students for summer internships and first jobs out of college. Basically, a job board specifically tailored for the college ecosystem.
Sramana Mitra: What happened?
Justin Moore: I was 18 years old and didn’t know what I was doing. I built the company and actually started focusing on a specific vertical. At that time, Wall Street was one of the heaviest recruiters. When you went to career fairs, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and all the major Wall Street firms were aggressive in the recruiting of talent.
I reached out to a lot of the HR departments at those institutions and reached out to the career development centers in a number of universities and realized that there was a real opportunity there. I started working on it and the whole dot-com bust happened. It went nowhere quickly. It was obvious that fundraising was an impossibility and I wouldn’t have the resources to build it and scale it. I decided to return to Stanford.