Posted on Tuesday, Mar 22nd 2022
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Co-founder Nitesh Chawla bootstrapped Aunalytics while keeping his academic job at Notre Dame.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your story. Where are you from? Where you born, raised, and in what kind of background? Nitesh Chawla: I’m from New Delhi although I was born in Calcutta. I did my schooling from Delhi Public School. Then I did my engineering from Pune. Then I came to the United States in 1993 right after finishing my undergrad. I went to grad school in South Florida. I got my PhD in Computer Science with a focus on Machine Learning and Data Science. Sramana Mitra: I was also born in Calcutta. Let’s talk about what happens when you finished your PhD. Nitesh Chawla: I had never worked in the industry before. I came only for my Master’s. I was going to graduate in 1999. All my friends decided to leave because it was the dot com boom. All my friends were going for startups and were lured by these amazing sign on bonuses. I’d already published a couple of papers. I was enjoying it, so I changed my track and went for a PhD. Most of the decisions in my life, I usually go by intuition.
I took my qualifier in that same semester. I passed. I finished my PhD in 2002. Because I had not been in the industry before, I had a fellowship from the National Academy of Sciences for a postdoc fellowship. I had an offer from CABC in Toronto. They were following some of my work that had come out from my PhD. I spent two years in banking. I remember a presentation I had where I was enamored by the beauty of the maths and algorithms that we were doing. Half the executives left the room. I was like, “Why?” They said it was a waste of their time because I didn’t get to the business.
Then I spent my time understanding how banking works. With machine learning and data science, we are not creating a new industry. What we are trying to demonstrate is that are we solving a pain point in an existing industry. I understood all those pain points. I went in with another presentation. That went really well. I started talking about the business problem. They didn’t know that the results were based on the models I talked about before. The point is he didn’t care. And he shouldn’t.
Sramana Mitra: Does it solve the problem or not? Nitesh Chawla: Yes. That was a game-changing moment. It triggered something.
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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