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, FormAssembly CEO Cedric
Savarese 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
Savarese: I was born in France and expatriated to the US. I grew up
in a small town not so far from Paris.
Mitra: Were you educated in Paris?
Savarese: Yes. I did my university degree in Paris.
Mitra: What did you train in?
Savarese: I studied Computer Science. I have, roughly, the
equivalent of a Masters degree in Computer Science.
Mitra: When did you finish your education?
Savarese: Around 1997.
Mitra: The Internet was in full swing at this point. What did you do when you
came out of school?
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.
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 similar to what I’m doing right now. We were doing a lot of consumer surveys.
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.
Mitra: How long did this go on?
Savarese: That went on for about a year. The company folded. I left
and worked as a contractor for a large multinational.
Mitra: Then how long before you started this company?
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.
Mitra: Doing what?
Savarese: Doing web development.
Mitra: What year did you start this company?