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Bootstrapping Using Services: Sylvana Caridi Coche, CEO of Gravity Pro (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Jan 23rd 2017

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Sylvana has an aura of no nonsense, no bullshit confidence about her that I find immensely attractive. Read her story to feel the force of sheer energy, smarts, and execution to learn how she did it!

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to yourself as well as Gravity Pro.

Sylvana Caridi Coche: I’m 42. I was born and raised in France. My parents were from Italy. They moved from Italy to France to find work because, at that time, it was hard for them because they were both illiterate. I was the last kid and grew up in a very low-class environment. I studied all the way to my doctorate, but I did not do my thesis because I went to work.

Sramana Mitra: What did you study?

Sylvana Caridi Coche: My background is in Mathematics and Science. Mathematics is my passion. From there, I switched to accounting, finance, and business. My doctorate was in HR and human relationship.

Sramana Mitra: What did you do when you came out of university?

Sylvana Caridi Coche: It took me a year to find a job I wanted. For a year, I did many jobs. I started with Rolex at Geneva because I was living by the border on the French side. I was on the logistics team. That’s when they were implementing SAP. That’s how I started with SAP. I learned on the spot because I didn’t study IT.

I did that and then joined Cap Gemini in Europe because everybody at that point was looking for people who knew SAP. It was growing like crazy. I was also part of the elite team of Nestlé for them to decide on their main system. One of my customers was Oakley. Two years later out of the blue, they called me from the US and said, “Why don’t you come here and run our worldwide implementation?”

That’s when I came to the US thinking I’ll be here for two years. It’s been more than 15 years now. In parallel, I was still working very closely with the development team of SAP. I headed the development of the industry solution retail. Through the years, I became a very strong solution architect and project manager. I’ve done many jobs in SAP.

In 2007, I decided to quit, buy a laptop, and start a company. My girls were nine months old and four months old. I was still married at that time but I knew that my husband, at that time, would get fired. He was on my team. It was fair that when I left, my ex-husband had to leave too. Then I started from scratch with my laptop.

From there, I brought so much deals because of my reputation. I became a reseller, which is very unique at SAP. To this day, I’m still the only woman who can resell SAP North America. Two years later, I became Gold. Up to last year when we were number one, we were the largest SAP seller for SAP North America.

Sramana Mitra: What is the time span of this journey?

Sylvana Caridi Coche: 2007. It’s going to be 10 years this July.

This segment is part 1 in the series : Bootstrapping Using Services: Sylvana Caridi Coche, CEO of Gravity Pro
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