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Bootstrapping from Indiana: Passageways CEO Paroon Chadha (Part 5)

Posted on Monday, May 7th 2018

Paroon Chadha: We started to see some cross-pollination. We were pulling some leads that we didn’t really plan for. It was a little bit organic. We needed to move out of financial because the financial sector was stalling. We found ourselves selling in hospitals with some success.

Then we ran into a very interesting founder challenge. They were more personal in nature than anything else. Chris took some time off. We needed to make a move. The product that we were working on really wasn’t going to be as helpful going forward. It was not very future-proof. Then we started to think about the cloud and all of that that was upon us.

Sramana Mitra: What year was that?

Paroon Chadha: This was 2012.

Sramana Mitra: It’s not that long ago.

Paroon Chadha: At that point, we found the right use case for the technology that we built. There was a lot of deliberation and a lot of conversation internally. We found that board portals, where the information is very important and communication is completely immobile, was the use case.

That’s when we came up with a new product called OnBoard. At this point, we had about 300 customers for our enterprise portal. Those were for longer projects. We were closing in on our thousandth customer any day. I should say that the last hundred customers had come in less than a hundred days. We are accelerating very fast.

Sramana Mitra: We’ve touched on two inflection points. One is broadening the vertical from credit union to healthcare. We talked about going from a license software to cloud. When you made that transition to the cloud, what was your vertical footprint? Was it credit unions and healthcare still?

Paroon Chadha: When we went into the board space, we were selling to non-profits and universities. That’s why we found that at the board level, almost all organizations are exactly the same. This was a great way for us to leverage what we learned. We have deep portal DNA on our team, much more so than anybody else.

We set out to build the best board portal by far. I remember the meeting when we said, “We’ve done all of this. Here is the end. Why don’t we set the standard?” We’re going to blow this away. This is an important point. Making money and making a business successful is actually not that difficult if you put enough energy into it and burn enough calories. The commitment to excellence, to say we’ll do what nobody has been able to do, is an opportunity that is available to everybody.

Most entrepreneurs don’t even believe in it. When I talk to entrepreneurs and ask why they want to do this, the opportunity you have is to do something that has never been done. That’s at the heart of being an entrepreneur. I think when you are at it, you might as well do it better than anybody else. That’s the second option that you have. Once you start believing in that, I truly believe that it transforms the organization many times over.

When it comes to cloud and mobile and the way information needs to be secured in a portal, almost all my contemporaries are long gone. They have taken their check. I have stayed because we continue to grow faster and faster. At this point, we are having the most fun.

This segment is part 5 in the series : Bootstrapping from Indiana: Passageways CEO Paroon Chadha
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