Cedric’s story is a textbook case study of the kind of entrepreneur we want to see emerge and grow in every corner of the world: a solo entrepreneur who is a developer and a product guy capable of getting to validation while holding onto a day job. Today, Cedric has almost 50 employees spread around the world, and while it maintains a small office of fewer than 10 people in Indiana, the bulk of the company has scaled as a virtual workforce. Excellent model, and I encourage aspiring entrepreneurs to read this carefully.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?
Cedric Savarese: I was born in France and expatriated to the US. I grew up in a small town not so far from Paris.
Sramana Mitra: Were you educated in Paris?
Cedric Savarese: Yes. I did my university degree in Paris.
Sramana Mitra: What did you train in?
Cedric Savarese: I studied Computer Science. I have, roughly, the equivalent of a Masters degree in Computer Science.
Sramana Mitra: When did you finish your education?
Cedric Savarese: Around 1997.
Sramana Mitra: The Internet was in full swing at this point. What did you do when you came out of school?
Cedric Savarese: I worked as an IT engineer for a smaller company. We were in the information space. We were doing press reviews for Fortune 500 type companies. I helped set up the IT infrastructure and software.
Sramana Mitra: This went on for how long?
Cedric Savarese: That went on until 2001 when I worked for a startup that was started by my boss at that time. He had decided to do a startup. It was right in the heart of the first dot-com boom. We worked on something like what I’m doing right now. We were doing a lot of consumer surveys.
The whole idea behind this was to ask people to fill out surveys about their consumer habits. What kind of toothpaste were they using? Were they thinking of buying a car in the next six months. Then we turn around and sell that information to businesses. In exchange for filling out surveys, they could win prizes.
Sramana Mitra: How long did this go on?
Cedric Savarese: That went on for about a year. The company folded. I left and worked as a contractor for a large multinational.
Sramana Mitra: Then how long before you started this company?
Cedric Savarese: It took a few more years. I started this company in 2006. I worked for that multinational for about a year. Then I moved to the United States. In the States, I worked in higher education for a few more years.
Sramana Mitra: Doing what?
Cedric Savarese: Doing web development.
Sramana Mitra: What year did you start this company?
Cedric Savarese: I started in 2006.