Posted on Thursday, Jun 10th 2021
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RateGain is one of the top global SaaS companies built out of India. This interview from 2014 captures Founder Bhanu Chopra’s entrepreneurial journey.
Sramana: Bhanu, let’s start with the beginning of your story. What kind of circumstances where you raised in? What is the genesis of your entrepreneurial journey? Bhanu Chopra: I am a Delhi boy, I was born and raised in a business family in Delhi. Right after I completed school, I went to the US for my undergraduate studies. I went to the Indiana University and have a double degree in finance and computer science. When I was growing up, I was very good with numbers. The advice that my father gave me was to get into something like finance. Computers are a derivation of mathematics. That is why I got interested in computers.
I was not sure which path I wanted to continue down for a career, whether it was investment banking or being involved in the tech industry. The test I put myself through was to go through the campus interviews. I applied for a bunch of jobs on both sides. I had a few offers in investment banking and I had an offer from almost every software consulting company I interviewed with. At that point, Deloitte was a big recruiter at Indiana University. They were a very well-respected company so I started out my career with them in their Chicago office.
I started out doing SAP systems integration work. I had the opportunity to work with some very large firms and Fortune 500 companies. I was part of some very large and complex systems and integration projects where we were implementing SAP at these Fortune 500 companies. That gave me very good exposure early in my career.
Sramana: When was this going on? What years are we talking about? Bhanu Chopra: I started with them in 1998. I worked with them for a couple of years. That was during the dot com boom. Everyone was clearing out of the larger firms and leaving to join a startup. I was in a similar situation. I had some exciting offers with companies and the stock options were worth millions of dollars. I decided to join a couple of my partners at Deloitte who were setting up their own company to implement CRM systems at the dot com companies. It was an exciting opportunity for me.
That gave me a very good flavor of how startups work. I had spent the first few years of my career working for a very large, structured firm. I was now in a completely unstructured environment where there was not a clear demarcated environment to tell me what I should or should not do. The first few months were chaotic but exciting. That gave me some very good exposure. Fortunately, when the dot com crash occurred, our company did not get in as much trouble because we were primarily B2B as opposed to B2C. However, I felt that given my background and entrepreneurial spirit, I would be better off starting my own company in Chicago.
Our conversation continues
here. This segment is a part in the series : Best of Bootstrapping . Bootstrapping to an Exit . Why is Bootstrapping Important? . How Can You Play this Low-Probability Game Intelligently? . Do NOT Go to VCs as Beggars - Go as Kings . Excess is NOT Required for Success . Bootstrap First and Raise Money Later . Some Bootstrapping to Exit Case Studies . The Buy Side of Bootstrapping to an Exit . Blitzscaling vs. Bootstrapping . Bootstrapping to Unicorns More »» . Cinedigm Acquires Bootstrapped 1Mby1M Company Future Today for $60 Million . Mailchimp Bootstraps to $600M Revenue . Bootstrapping from Arizona to $10 Million . Bootstrapped Basecamp Executes a No Nonsense Strategy . How Under30Experiences Bootstrapped to $5 Million . Bootstrapping with a Paycheck . How Algo.ai CEO Amjad Hussain Bootstrapped using Services from Michigan . Seed Investors Who Like Bootstrapped Businesses . How iHeartRaves CEO Bootstrapped a Niche e-Commerce Company to $20 Million . Bootstrapping with Services . How The Intern Group CEO David Lloyd Bootstrapped to $13 Million . How Passageways CEO Paroon Chadha Bootstrapped from Indiana . How SmartBuyGlasses CEO David Menning Bootstrapped to $50 Million . Death by Overfunding . How RainmakerForce CEO Mack Sundaram Bootstrapped Decisively to $5 Million+ . How FormAssembly CEO Bootstrapped a Virtual Company with a Paycheck . TimeSlips CEO Mitch Russo Bootstrapped to Exit with Sage . The VC-Entrepreneur Compensation Disbalance . BioConnect CEO Bootstraps with Sophisticated Strategic Maneuvering . Tremend CEO Marius Hanganu Bootstraps from Romania . Gesture CEO Jim Alvarez Bootstraps to $10 Million . SproutLoud CEO Bootstraps to $30 Million from Florida . Tuft & Needle CEO Bootstraps to Over $100 Million . Co-founders Bootstrap Linguamatics to Over $10M from the UK . Ownership Matters . Vainu Co-founder Mikko Honkanen Bootstraps from Finland . Entrepreneur Couple Bootstraps to $10M from Colorado . 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Bootstrapping Using Services and Scaling Using Content Marketing . Bootstrapped from London, Went Public and Scaled to $450M . Bootstrapped Credit Card Processing Business Payscape . Bootstrapped TEOCO to $175M with Services . InRule Was Bootstrapped Using Services . HighQ was Bootstrapped Using Services from London . Ingenious Med was Bootstrapped with a Paycheck from Atlanta . Bootstrapped VistaVu to $10M from Canada . OnSIP CEO Mike Oeth Bootstrapped in Pennsylvania . Pramata Founder Bootstrapped in Minnesota . Conversocial was Bootstrapped Using Services from London . Zephyr Health Bootstrapped First, Raised Money Later . iText was Bootstrapped from Belgium . CTO Bootstrapped InteliSecure Using Services from Colorado . Bootstrapping Evariant Using Services . Dave Elkington Bootstrapped Billion Dollar Unicorn InsideSales.com Using Services from Utah . PMG Founders Bootstrapped Using Services from Atlanta . Ensighten Founder Bootstrapped First, Raised Money Later . Bootstrapping LittleThings First, Raising Money Later . Bootstrapping eMazzanti Technologies Using Services . Reltio Founder Bootstrapped Using Services . Co-founders Bootstrapped Ateb Using Services from North Carolina . Bootstrapped HireVue While in School, Raised Money Later, All in Utah . Bootstrapping the First Venture, Raising Money for the Second . Co-founders Bootstrapped BeenVerified with Angel Money . Bootstrapping a Significant Software Company from Australia . Bootstrapping Meltwater to $200 Million . Bootstrapping Casewise from London and Scaling in the US . Bootstrapping Lessons Learned by FairWarning Founder Kurt Long . Abacus Group Founder Bootstrapped a Virtualization Services Company . Seismic Audio CEO Bootstrapped a $10 Million E-Commerce Business . PhishMe was Bootstrapped Using Services First, Raised Money Later . Firmex Scaled with Angel Money in Canada . Wrike Founder Bootstrapped First, Raised Money Later . Bay Dynamics Co-founders Bootstrapped Using Services . Building an AI Software Company from Dallas . RJMetrics Co-founders Bootstrapped First, Raised $22M Later . Bootstrapping Niche E-Commerce Business BuyAutoParts to Exit . TemplateMonster was Bootstrapped to $15 Million . Bootstrapping Edge Hosting to $18 Million . Bootstrapping, Fund Raising and Exiting with Sefaira . Bootstrapping IdeaScale to $5M from Scratch . Bootstrapping to $10M from Finland . Happy Grasshopper CEO Dan Stewart Bootstrapped to Inflection . Bootstrapping Gravity Pro Using Services . Founder Builds Multiple Bootstrapped Education Software Companies . Bootstrapping to $10M from Australia, Raising $25M from the US . Bootstrapped Y Soft to $30M from the Czech Republic . Bootstrapped from Belarus, Raised Money from Silicon Valley . Bootstrapped SproutLoud to $30M from Florida . Bootstrapped 2600Hz Using Services . A Serial Bootstrapping Entrepreneur’s Journey . 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Master Bootstrappers with $1+ Billion in Exits . Bootstrapped Ultra Mobile to Over $100 Million . Bootstrapping a 2-Sided Marketplace to $10M