Investors are in significant agreement that a strong team with founders and key members who are willing to listen and be coached are a critical component of the successful startup. While there are numerous ways to learn and develop a foundation of intellectual capital upon which the entrepreneur can build his company, one of the most efficient ways to obtain knowledge is from the experience of others. Following are the startup stories and learnings of three entrepreneurial companies as told by some of the key leaders from within them. Each are packed with nuggets which should be useful to all entrepreneurs.
Our first company is HubSpot. Based in Cambridge, MA, it was founded in June, 2006 out of MIT by Brian Halligan, CEO & cofounder and Dharmesh Shah, CTO & cofounder. The company specializes in the development and marketing of software for inbound marketing. Revenues grew from $ 255.0 K in its initial year to more than $ 115.0 M in 2014. In route, the company went from initial funding of $ 500.0 K by Shah and followup angel investments from Edward B. Roberts, the chair of the Entrepreneurship Center at MIT and fellow MIT Sloan classmate Brian Shinn, to more than $ 100.0 M in funding from various investors including, General Catalyst Partners, Matrix partners, Sequoia Capital and Google Ventures. The company, which has more than 775 employees is now publically traded on the NYSE under the ticker HUBS. The author, Dharmesh Shah obtained his undergraduate degree in Computer Science from UAB and his MS in management of Technology from MIT. He is a serial entrepreneur, author and active angel investor. Read their story, Happy Birthday HubSot! 9 Lessons From Our First 9 Years, for some enlightening sharings.
Our second story is about Freecharge, which was launched in August, 2010 and is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharasthra. The company provides online facility to recharge prepaid mobile phones, postpaid mobile, DTH and Data Cards in India. Founded by Kunal Shah and Sandeep Tandon the company received early funding shortly after its launch from Tandon Group and Sequoia Capital. It received Series A funding from Sequoia in 2011 and Series B from Sequoia, Sofina and Ru-Net in 2104. The company was acquired by Indian e-commerce company Snapdeal in April, 2015 after substantial growth. Alok Goel the CEO of the company through this growth process tells their story. Mr. Goel now serves as Managing Director, SAIF in Bangalore since the spring/summer of 2015 and focuses on mobile and SaaS businesses. Previous to Freecharge, he was the COO of RedBus. He has previous experience with Google in Bangalore and Mountain View in various product roles. His educational background includes an MBA from ISB and a Bachelor in Technology from DCE. Goel shares his story and learnings in My Learning while building FreeCharge.
Our last story shares the learnings and intellectual capital gained by the author Aepit Kothari who is now the Co-founder of Medd, a marketplace for healthcare services. It shares his journey of experience from his “pilot” effort startup failure and the reasons he feels the failure was not a failure at all, but instead a success, in Why my startup failed, but I didn’t.
Interested in Startup Stories? <see related: Startup Stories at FundingSage >