Originally published by Sramana Mitra on LinkedIn: 10 Founders Share How They Built Their Unicorn Startups
Entrepreneurs looking for some great advice and inspiration from some super successful Founders who have each built a Unicorn company from the ground up, should have a listen to these 30-minute podcast interviews.
Daniel Cane, CEO and Co-founder of Modernizing Medicine, has followed a unique and tremendously effective strategy of raising equity crowdfunding from his customers, about 100 of them, and reflects on how well it has worked for him. Modernizing Medicine is Daniel’s second Unicorn and has recently crossed $100 million in revenue.
Gaurav Dhillon is Founder, Chairman and CEO of SnapLogic, and also Founder of Informatica. Gaurav discusses his process of sniffing out high potential market opportunities in large horizontal enterprise software categories. Both Informatica and SnapLogic are Unicorns, and it is rare to have an entrepreneur who can do two of these in a row.
Greg Gianforte, Founder and CEO of RightNow Technologies, took the company public, and later sold it to Oracle for $1.5 billion. He made an unorthodox choice of building the company mainly in Montana. Today, RightNow (now Oracle) is one of Montana’s largest employers.
Vineet Jain, Founder and CEO of Egnyte, a Unicorn company in the same space as the much-hyped Box – cloud storage and file sharing. In this discussion, we do a deep-dive on the space and how it is likely to evolve over time, including expanding into data management.
Fred Luddy is Founder of ServiceNow, one of the most successful companies in the history of enterprise software. Founded in 2003, ServiceNow is valued at over $12 billion in the public market. This is a truly wonderful discussion, marked with Fred’s warmth, humility and wit: “We hire people with a lot of experience. We ask them to bring their knowledge, and leave their baggage!”
Ross Mason, Founder of MuleSoft, has built a terrific commercial open source company that is scaling at Unicorn rates, with freemium conversion rates in the 5-6% range. Ross discusses how he got the company off the ground, and built a product strategy that makes such high conversion rates possible. The company has since gone public at a Unicorn valuation.
Girish Navani, CEO of eClinicalWorks, has bootstrapped a billion dollar Unicorn with a paycheck. Girish didn’t quit his job for two years, while he tested and validated his original product and customer base. He now has built a $500 million revenue company that is still 100% bootstrapped, private, and has no desire to sell out or go for an IPO.
Adam Singolda, Founder CEO of Taboola, has had a fascinating journey as an entrepreneur. It took him four years to get product market fit, and today, the company is at over $200M in revenue. Persistence pays off. Resilience is the single most important characteristic that drives entrepreneurial success.
Aaron Skonnard, Founder and CEO of Pluralsight, one of the few EdTech ventures out there that are scaling at Unicorn levels, discusses his journey over the last decade. Aaron bootstrapped Pluralsight to $16 million in revenue before raising a $27.5 million Series A at almost a $100 million valuation. From there on, the company has gone on to follow a roll-up strategy with additional funding and is currently valued at over $1 billion.
Therese Tucker, Founder and CEO of BlackLine, is a very successful female entrepreneur who followed our core philosophy of bootstrap first, raise money later. When I first met her in 2009, her company was in the $10 million revenue range. Subsequently, it has continued to grow at 50% CAGR year over year, and Therese raised private equity funding in 2013 to take liquidity for herself and her team. The company has since gone public at a Unicorn valuation.