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Resilient Entrepreneurship: Inspire CEO Brian Loew (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Jan 18th 2016

Brian and his team went five years with little or no revenue. Revenues started flowing in year six, and now, in the 10th year, the company is doing over $5 million in revenue, growing 80% y-o-y.

Read Inspire’s journey of resilience and persistence.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?

Brian Loew: I grew up in Northern Virginia in the suburbs of Washington DC. Both my parents are teachers. My father is a university professor. My mother was an elementary school teacher and, later, a computer programmer. I grew up as a sort of normal suburban kid. I went to the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, which was a big influence. Then I went on to George Washington University and double majored in Physics and Economics. I was always the entrepreneurial kid.

When I was eight years old, I raised guppies and sold them. In my senior year in college, I started a company that sold computers in Africa. When I graduated, I went to work for the science journal Nature. I was in their Washington office. In 1993, the world wide web was born. I think we had one of the earliest Internet connections. It blew my mind. I called up some friends to come over to the office at night. We were just wowed by it. I was very much into publishing. I was running the publication of four monthly journals of Nature. I felt that there was a real opportunity to do publishing online. This was in the very early days of the web.

My friends and I quit our jobs and we started a web company at the end of 1994. That was my first real business. I called up a cousin who had been a successful entrepreneur and asked him how to raise money. He taught me how and invested some of his own money. I raised an angel round there and a couple of venture capital rounds, and grew a successful company out of that, which I sold in 2000.

Sramana Mitra: What was the business?

Brian Loew: It was called It was an online content management software company. It was really a wild ride. I was young. I guess I did that from about 25 to 30. I had a good education but I didn’t have an MBA. I learned on the fly. I had great mentors – a couple of really successful people who were generous enough to be mentors to me. I learned a lot through success and failure. World Web grew to 150 employees from the four of us who had started it.

This segment is part 1 in the series : Resilient Entrepreneurship: Inspire CEO Brian Loew
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