Gaurav has deep domain expertise in the BI space, something he has leveraged to concept-finance a new venture to the tune of $8.5 million. Read how he is building the company, especially how he has positioned the company. Fast growth businesses only happen if you can position them right to begin with.
Sramana Mitra: Where are you from? Where did you grow up? What’s the beginning of the story?
Gaurav Rewari: I was born in Bombay, India, as it was called then. I grew up and did my schooling in Bombay. I then moved to the US after high school. I was fortunate enough to earn a scholarship to MIT. I went there for undergraduate work and stayed on to do graduate work as well. I was there from ’80s to mid-’90s. After that, I joined a startup called MicroStrategy based out of Delaware. It was a company started by an MIT graduate senior to me. It had about 13 to 14 people. I was thinking of doing a Ph.D. so I interrupted that to join a startup just to get a feel for what it was like. I’d initially thought that I would do that for one year. That one year never ended.
I ended up having a wonderful time. I got to wear many hats from professional services, documentation, product design, and doing whatever was needed to really get a company off the ground. I found that to be an extremely addictive thing. I was drawn to the magic of creating something from scratch and going from that wonderful white-boarding moment all the way to building a company with real products, team, and market.
Sramana Mitra: How long did you stay at MicroStrategy?
Gaurav Rewari: I was there for six odd years. It was interesting. We grew dramatically in that period, if my memory serves me right, from 30 to 2,000 plus people. The company went public in that process. Of course, that was the late ’90s, so it was an extremely high-growth company. It was good to see the results of one’s hard work play out. For me, the most instructive part of that experience was understanding how important it was to pick the right caliber of people during the early stages of a company, how to really focus on building a product that met a genuine customer need, and being very honest with oneself and as a team about what is core and what is optional. As a small company, you just don’t have the luxury of too many resources.