Posted on Monday, Jun 21st 2021
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We continue to see exciting enterprise software companies being built by entrepreneurs who have roots in the consulting business and who have taken their domain knowledge and customer insights to develop compelling products to solve specific problems. Gravitant is yet another case in point. Before Gravitant was acquired by IBM in 2015, I spoke with Gravitant CEO Mohammed Farooq about his journey.
Sramana: Mohammed, let’s start our discussion by reviewing your background. Where do you come from? What are the roots of your entrepreneurial journey? Mohammed Farooq: I am originally from India, close to Hyderabad. I went to engineering school in India and came to the United States in 1991 to attend graduate school. I was born in 1967 and went to school locally in India. I attended Gulbarga University in India where I studied mechanical engineering. I attended graduate school in Oklahoma. In Oklahoma, I completed a dual degree in operations research and computer science. I then did an MBA in finance as well. Sramana: What year did you finish your school work? Mohammed Farooq: I completed my schooling in 1995. I moved to Austin to look for a job as a foreign student on an F1 visa. At the time, the economy was booming and I was fortunate to have received multiple job offers. One job offer was for a manufacturing engineer with applied materials, another was a consulting assignment with KPMG, and the final job offer was for a government job with the state as a software engineer. I had an interesting decision to make.
I made the decision to start my career as a software engineer, so I became an employee of the state of Texas. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to solve some very large challenges that ultimately landed me in the state Governor’s office, who at the time was George Bush. The problem was around the drought in Texas. There was a law that required Texas to monitor the past 50 years of data to predict water reliability for the next 50 years. The outcomes would be used to create water consumption predictions for municipalities, agriculture, and industries that could be used in creating a water consumption policy. That was one of the biggest projects that anybody could work on. I was assigned to lead that project after just one year.
Sramana: That sounds like a very interesting project to work on in the very first year of your career. Mohammed Farooq: Yes, I was very lucky. I think I did well because I had a multifaceted background. I had operations research modeling and computer science. I was able to combine those skill sets to solve a problem. There were a lot of engineering and IT firms that consumed that work. The project was a phenomenal success because you could go to a Texas map, click on any location, and find out who owned the water rights, what the water availability looked like, what the water quality was, and see the projected water consumption for that location. The strategy and solution was a $200 million project over 3 years.
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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