Gaurav Dhillon on Entrepreneurship, Informatica and Modern Integration

sramana mitra's blogThis week on Sramana Mitra’s One Million by One Million Blog, she is featuring a series of posts from her interview with SnapLogic’s co-founder and CEO Gaurav Dhillon about his entrepreneurial journey.

In the first post, Gaurav discusses his roots growing up in an industrial town in India. He talks about education, family, coming to the United States with $20 in his pocket and his internship at Unisys.

“I wanted to be in technology. I had an uncle who is an engineer but is now retired. Very early on, I wanted to be in electronics. It was very clear to me that I wanted to build something. All the entrepreneurs around me were my inspiration.”

Gaurav DhillonIn the second post, he talks about founding Informatica in November 1992.

“Perhaps the most important point to share with anybody is what is that product market fit. We now actually have language to describe these things. At that time, there was really no world wide web. You had to figure that out on your own. Now I see some of the articles in Quora and I slam my forehead and go, “Why wasn’t that around 20 years ago?” We now have a vernacular set of terms to describe this very critical stage of any startup’s success. That is the jugular question for anything that becomes scalable. Not just in valuation but in terms of creating a durable business.”

In the third post, he covers Informatica’s first attempt at a product and in the fourth post, he digs into the importance of establishing product market fit. He also touches about what’s different this time around.

“For you to build a world-class company, the table stakes are higher. If someone was upgrading from PeopleSoft to Workday, they want much of the functionality they already possess. It’s a not a green field market. It’s a new product for an existing market. Your engineering bench press is heavier. Secondly, your economics are not perpetual economics. They are subscription economics. That said, these companies are worth doing.” 

In the fifth post, Gaurav talks about leaving Informatica and what led him to start SnapLogic. He also highlights the need to maintain product excellence and customer success.

“The caution I would have is we learn some things in hindsight. What happens is there is too much an emphasis on earnings per share and not enough on maintaining product excellence. If I reflect back, I feel that there was potential opportunity for myself and the founding team to do what other entrepreneurs now more commonly do—to do the right thing for the company rather than short-term thinking.”

Thanks to Sramana Mitra for leading a great discussion, with a few more posts still to come.

Be sure to check out Gaurav’s recent podcast where he shares some 2015 technology predictions and register for a webinar discussion with David Linthicum and Gaurav on January 28th.


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