Gunjan Sinha is the chairman of MetricStream, an enterprise-wide GRC and quality solutions company with solutions aimed at global corporations. Over his career, Gunjan has spent more than 20 years in various entrepreneurial, board, and executive positions building innovative businesses. As an Internet pioneer, he was the co-founder and president of WhoWhere? Inc., an Internet directory services company acquired by Lycos in 1998, as well as eGain, an online customer service company he built from inception to post-NASDAQ IPO. Gunjan serves on the board of several Silicon Valley companies, and in 2010, he was appointed to the board of the U.S.–India Science and Technology Research Endowment by the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House. He obtained his BS and MS in computer science from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, and UC Santa Cruz, respectively. He also holds an MS in industrial engineering and engineering management from Stanford University.
Sramana: Gunjan, let’s go back to your roots. What is the backdrop of your entrepreneur story?
Gunjan Sinha: I was born in India in the province of Bihar. My parents are from Patna and I spent a significant amount of time in Bihar. I did my schooling in Delhi, completing both high school and college there. After I graduated I moved to the U.S. and did my graduate studies at UC Santa Cruz. I followed that with another masters from Stanford. I worked for a year or two at Olivetti, an Italian multinational company. That is when I got the bug to go out and start my own venture.
This was in the early 1990s, and that bug led me to start WhoWhere? with a couple of my friends. WhoWhere? was an online directory services company that was started around the same time as Yahoo, Lycos, and Excite. We grew to be one of the top 10 most visited websites before we sold the company to Lycos in 1998. It was a fairly large acquisition at the time.
After that I went on to start another company with Ashutosh Roy called eGain. Ashutosh is currently the chairman and CEO of eGain. We built that company from zero to a public IPO. We went through a strong growth curve and survived the post-9/11 industry. We came out as a strong survivor, and I am still on the board of that company.
Sramana: What size company is eGain today?
Gunjan Sinha: They are listed on NASDAQ and have around $40 million in revenue.
Sramana: What did you do after eGain?
Gunjan Sinha: I started having conversations with Shellye Archambeau, who is my partner today at MetricStream. We figured out that there was a new market in risk perspective. Analysts are now calling it GRC, which stands for governance, risk, and compliance. With all of the post-9/11 challenges and cases like Enron, I really felt that risks in the world had increased a lot. Corporate excesses and the damaging effects of those excesses created a new opportunity for our business.