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Bootstrapping Using Services: Sylvana Caridi Coche, CEO of Gravity Pro (Part 3)

Posted on Wednesday, Jan 25th 2017

Sramana Mitra: In the first year of business, how much did you do revenue-wise?

Sylvana Caridi Coche: I did $7.5 million in revenue.

Sramana Mitra: That’s incredible.

Sylvana Caridi Coche: Yes, that was very unique.

Sramana Mitra: That was with 20 people.

Sylvana Caridi Coche: At that time, I had 45 consultants and three projects running in parallel. It was just me and my laptop. I was still doing everything – recruiting, accounting, selling of projects, QA, and running of projects. I don’t know how I did it, but I did it.

Sramana Mitra: But you had 45 consultants that year.

Sylvana Caridi Coche: Yes.

Sramana Mitra: What happened in the second year?

Sylvana Caridi Coche: We were still around $7 million. It was right when the economy was going down. Some of my customers stopped using our services. Retail was the first one to be hit. I still had enough services to do. I quickly understood that I needed to work more on licensing. The big companies like IBM and Deloitte had started offshoring. When I used to have my niche company with the same quality or better service, my lower price was not valid anymore because they would now compete with a lower price. The CIOs were getting fired.

That’s when I quickly changed my strategy, which is something I do a lot. I started to focus on licensing. We sold a lot of licenses and less services. I switched my team and let go of all the consultants, and worked more with sales people. I quickly realized that sales people could not sell as much as me because they were limited in their knowledge. I was still the one selling so I went back to being a one-woman show. I still did the $7 million revenue alone.

Sramana Mitra: You just personally sold $7 million worth of licenses.

Sylvana Caridi Coche: Yes. The economy started to change again. I started to realize that I could also use my WomanOn certification. I was certified, but I had no clue what it meant to be WomanOn. I started to invest in time for all the different certifications. It was two years but I knew that I could use it later when the economy is back. That’s what happened.

I started to reach out to huge corporations. I was able to now sell products and services to more regulated industries because of my reputation with SAP. I started to use my WomanOn certification about three years ago. Because of my background, reputation, and experience, the certification was just a small help. Still, it helped me find a niche and find a way to talk to the regulated industries’ CIOs and convince them that I can be as much as anybody else. These are so big that they usually go directly to SAP.

In this case, they agreed after they did a case study and looked at our experience. They actually asked SAP that they wanted me as a prime instead of SAP direct. That’s when I started to do more and more solutions for the energy and utilities even though my background was more on retail and fashion. Last year, revenue was $30 million.

This segment is part 3 in the series : Bootstrapping Using Services: Sylvana Caridi Coche, CEO of Gravity Pro
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