Faisal Husain, CEO of Synechron, is one of those rare entrepreneurs who managed to grow his business with no outside financing to significant scale. We discuss his journey here.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s go to the very beginning of your story. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?
Faisal Husain: My roots are from India, but I was actually born in West Africa in Nigeria. My parents had moved from India to Nigeria in search of jobs and they were in the education field. My father was a principal and my mother was a math teacher. While they were doing their jobs and building their careers in Nigeria, I was born there. I lived in Nigeria for 13 years. At that point, my parents decided to move back home to India. I was then home schooled for about three or four years, and then came to the United States.
I landed in Queens, New York. I started at a place called College of Aeronautics, pursuing Aeronautical Engineering. I completed that and then immediately started my Master’s. I decided to switch tracks to Computer Science for my Master’s because I wanted to go into the software engineering space. That’s my high level journey.
Sramana Mitra: What year did you come out of university?
Faisal Husain: I graduated in 1994 and I completed my Master’s in 1996.
Sramana Mitra: The Internet was just starting to come about at that point.
Faisal Husain: Yes. I remember the very early days of the Internet – things like gopher and IRC. People don’t probably know what that means today. I started working on a 386 computer. The Pentium chip came out when I was just starting my career in Computer Science.
Sramana Mitra: What did you do right after you finished your Master’s? What was your next move?
Faisal Husain: While I was doing my Master’s, I got an internship position as an entry level software developer at a software product company in Manhattan. It’s called Magna Software. Those were really the formative years. I was hired to be the person who would get a list of bugs. My job was to go find out what was causing these bugs. I learned to look at a lot of codes that was written by very experienced and skilled people. My job was to find what the error was. After I graduated, I was then hired full time by that firm. Then, I became an entry level software analyst.
Sramana Mitra: You stayed with that company for how long?
Faisal Husain: I stayed with that company for about four to five years until it went bankrupt. That, again, was a formative experience. I started working for that company in 1995. The company went into difficulties in 1998. We all lost our jobs. I then became a freelance consultant. I consulted for companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield. Eventually, I joined Merrill Lynch where I got exposed to the outsourcing and consulting industry. That was in 1999. In 2000, I, along with my two buddies, decided to launch the venture today that’s called Synechron.