Shane Neman is the Founder of EZ Texting, JoonBug.com, and Principal at Neman Ventures. Shane has bootstrapped two companies as a solo entrepreneur, found successful exits for both, and is now an investor. Needless to say, he has no bias against solopreneurs.
Sramana Mitra: We are going to spend quite a bit of time today with Shane Neman. I met Shane a while ago in his Entrepreneur Journey story. I found a lot of interesting insights and lessons from his journey that I wanted to highlight and showcase for you. That is what we are going to do for a while today then we will see what else we have time for. Welcome to the show, Shane.
Shane Neman: Thanks for having me.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start with a summary. You started your journey as a solo entrepreneur. I want to spend some time on this. You also built two bootstrapped companies and found successful exits for both of them. Tell us more about the entrepreneur phase of your journey. The reason why I want to dig into this issue is because of the abundance of bias against solo entrepreneurs in the investor segment.
We are trying to counter this. I just want to underscore the fact that one of my favorite entrepreneurs who I have been tracking for a long time, over 15 years, was a solo entrepreneur. His name is Fred Luddy. He is the founder of ServiceNow. I met him at a very early stage of his journey. Today, his company is valued at $100 million.
Shane Neman: He is the ultimate example of what can be done as a solo entrepreneur.
Sramana Mitra: Exactly. Tell us about your journey and how you started as a solo entrepreneur and how you put one foot before the other.
Shane Neman: Preceding my solo entrepreneurship, I did a failed startup that wasn’t a solo entrepreneurship. I had a degree in computer science. I did the pre-med track and I also studied computer science. During college, I was working as a programmer doing development work for various companies and startups in New York City.
That gave me a taste of what it was like to work in the tech industry and make some serious cash because that kind of skill was coveted and hard to find in the early web days. I had planned to go to medical school. I went for half a year of medical school. I went to NYU med.
I ended up dropping out, and getting lured by the startup glamour. I pulled out of med to do a blogging system. It was one of the first blogging systems. We call it content management or publishing system. I was the lead developer in a company called convey.com.
Sramana Mitra: What year was this?
Shane Neman: This would have been around 1999 to 2000.
Sramana Mitra: This was right before the dotcom crash.
Shane Neman: Yes, I worked there for about six months. During that time, I built out a system. We were thinking way ahead. My roommate happened to be my friend from high school and he worked at Goldman Sachs.
He said, “Listen, there is this crazy technology called Citrix. There is this idea of creating what is called an ASP which is an application service provider.” We now call ASP as SaaS. A lot of the terminology that is used now was not in existence in those early times. My friend convinced me and said, “Leave your job. You be the CTO. I will get the money and do the business aspect.”
We had another friend or two that could come in and help. We went in and did this. We were 22 years old at this time. That time was kind of similar to today but had a lot less due diligence. People were just giving away money to anything that had to do with dotcom or being online.