Sramana Mitra: The innovation engine of the country also applies to the middle layer, right?
Aneesh Chopra: Now it will be. Earlier in the Obama administration, we launched an initiative called Startup America. You could imagine that you’re building Startup Global is to drive more entrepreneurs into the economy.
As we know, startups have been the engine of net new job creation. When we explore what makes the entrepreneur story work in America, a researcher at Stanford provided the much needed clarity that when the rules of the road of a particular industry change, it’s the entrepreneur who can get there faster because there’s an economic return on a new way.>>>
Sangeeta (San) Banerjee is the Co-founder and CEO of ADDA, formerly ApartmentADDA.com, an Indian web application company. She talks about her entrepreneurial journey as a bootstrapped entrepreneur tackling heavily funded competitors. She holds a degree in electrical engineering from Guindy and earned her master’s from Louisiana State University. Prior to founding ApartmentADDA, she worked for Tata Consultancy Services from 1999 to 2003 and then went on to postgraduate education. After graduating from Louisiana State University she worked for Capgemini in Chicago for a year before returning to India to work for SAP India.
Sramana Mitra: Sangeeta, let’s start at the beginning of your story. Where are you from, and what were the circumstances of your childhood?
San Banerjee: I am from Kolkata. I grew up in a very conservative environment. Where I was from, girls were not supposed to ride a bicycle. I went to school on the other end of the city, and I commuted to school by myself. I would ride a bicycle to a ferry, then once on the other side of the river I would take a bus to school. Many people felt that my parents were careless with their daughter’s safety, but my parents really wanted me to be self-sufficient. They wanted me to know how to take care of myself. My belief that I can do anything I want to stems from my parents. I used to face a lot of ridicule for riding a bicycle. They would tell me to stay off the road and tell me to keep my cycle on the playground.
Aneesh offers a thoughtful and comprehensive analysis and vision of the innovation and entrepreneurship opportunities throughout the healthcare system. Fascinating conversation.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s do a little intro and get some background. I know you have a very colorful background.>>>
I have spoken with many VCs who are looking for e-commerce companies that can scale at venture pace, which is hard to achieve. On the other side of the spectrum, however, the bootstrapped e-commerce companies are going gangbusters! Co-founder Ricky Joshi’s Saatva is one such and a terrific company. Here is our conversation from 2014.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start with your personal back story. Where are you from? Where were you born and raised?
Ricky Joshi: I was born in Columbus, Ohio. I went to Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. I was very involved in the entrepreneurial scene there. I actually helped start the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network, which is now the flagship entrepreneurial program at Dartmouth. I started my first company at school. I ended up working at a place called IPG, which had 44,000 employees. We were tasked with visual innovation. The first thing I actually did was lead Series C investment round in Facebook. That was a deal I sourced and led. It was a Series C round with $500 million valuation. Obviously, that worked out well. I was able to do a lot of things there.
Sramana Mitra: How do you acquire your locksmith customers?
Didi Azaria: Word of mouth is big. We believe that once somebody is successful, they’re going to brag about it. This is actually the case. We believe that if we provide great service and show them 20% to 50% growth on the same effort, they become our advocates. We started from San Diego and on to LA and then to San Francisco. This is where most of our locksmiths are from. Then we spread to the entire US.>>>
Constellix Founder Steven Job had built a lean company with 37 people and had scaled it to $7 million when we spoke in 2021. Read on to learn how.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born and raised? What kind of background did you have?
Steven Job: I was born in Buffalo, New York in 1976. I stayed there during my undergraduate studies. I studied computer science. Throughout that time, my parents always had a business. When you become an entrepreneur, you have to figure out the reasons to become one. Most people do it because their parents had a business or there was something in their life that motivated them.
Earlier last week Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) reported its fourth quarter results that failed to dazzle the market. The company has been experimenting with newer price tiers in attempts to improve monetization across its subscriber base.>>>
Sramana Mitra: Tell me more about Workiz that drew you into this as your next step. You’ve got substantial experience. To apply that experience to another problem, this must be a very interesting problem.
Didi Azaria: When I was 22, I was a locksmith for six months. I’m not such a great locksmith, but I do understand the opportunities and challenges in this area. I was a locksmith when GPS didn’t exist. There were no cellphones back in the day.>>>