Entrepreneur Profile by San Francisco Business Times

Published By : SanFrancisco Business Times

Fractal Analytics’ CEO Srikanth Velamakanni shares the pain and passion of what it takes to grow a successful company. What it does: Helps companies understand their consumers and use analytics to make the most of marketing and other expenditures. HQ: San Mateo. 2011 revenue: $12.8 million. Employees: 25 in U.S. and 350-plus outside U.S. Founded: 2000. Source of startup capital: $600,000 from angel investors, as well as about $50,000 contributed by the founders and friends. Background: Worked for two investment banks. Graduated with a B.S. in electrical engineering from Indian Institute of Technology’s Delhi campus. Earned an M.B.A. from Indian Institute of Management. Age: 38. Residence: Foster City. Web site: fractal.ai Big picture How’s business: We are growing at about 100 percent per year at this time. We are very capital-efficient. Biggest challenge for your business: Our clients are very global, and they expect us to serve them globally. There are some challenges associated with running a global business that is not a billion dollars in size. What’s going to change at your company in the next year: We will be much more IP-rich, and we are expanding our global team dramatically. We should be also raising some major private equity capital. Hiring: Our U.S. team will grow from 25 to about 85 in the next 12 months. Business moves Reason for starting business: My co-founder and I were working for investment banks. We didn’t find that meaningful. Most difficult part of decision: I really didn’t have any precedent in my entire family history. There was a lot of family resistance. Biggest misconception: Just because you’re the best analytics guy out there doesn’t mean you’re the best guy to run an analytics business. I had to reinvent myself. Biggest business strength: Our hiring acceptance rate has been 1.8 percent. We are very careful about who gets on board. Biggest business weakness: We are not a strong recruitment brand in every part of world. Our biggest challenge is how to scale up the U.S. team. Biggest mistake: We have made so many mistakes that I sometimes wonder why we survived. We stayed too focused in a market that was not right for us. We took too long to expand globally. Smartest move: We are investing in the way of the future: big data. Biggest worry: I don’t want to underplay our hand as this market is exploding. What do you wish you had known from Day 1: We were probably the first player to provide analytics to clients globally. If I had known that it would be this exciting, I would have made a bigger investment. Work routine Most challenging task: Meeting with clients in the many parts of the world where they are interested in working with us. Favorite task: Driving innovation. Least favorite task: I find it challenging to drive everybody to focus on all the initiatives and track them on a regular basis. Source of support in a business crisis: My wife (and) my co-founder. Dreams Key goal yet to achieve: We have a target of being a $100-million business two years from now. We want to be in a lot more countries across the globe. Five-year plan: We should be a business that can potentially go public. First choice for new career or venture: Private equity. Personals Most-admired entrepreneur: Jeff Bezos. Favorite pastimes: I read approximately 40 to 50 books in a year. Favorite book: “Made to Stick,” by Chip and Dan Heath. Favorite film: “Pulp Fiction.” Favorite restaurant: Greens. What’s on iPod: 400 audio books.   Download full article

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