I had a chance to speak to Bob Moul, CEO of Boomi, and Sinclair Schuller, co-founder and CEO of Apprenda, about entrepreneurship after an event we did last night with the MIT Enterprise Forum on Cloud Computing and Software-as-a-Service (Saas). The event was hosted by Greenhill SAVP in their NYC office.

An easy way to think about Boomi and Apprenda is as infrastructure companies on top of which we can all build our SaaS solutions for our respective markets.

Bob and Sinclair come at entrepreneurship from two different vantage points. Bob was brought in by the Boomi investors to work with the founders. He has a big company / business background. Sinclair started Apprenda, with a background rooted in programming and technology, but not much business management experience.

We covered a variety of topics:

  • What was your aha moment that inspired you to start the company or jump ship from a big corporate gig to join a start-up?
  • What are the various skill-sets of the core founder / management team? Did you all work together in the past? How did you know whether you would get along successfully?
  • With each new hire critical for a small company, whether it be a software developer or a sales position, what is your process to ensure that each new employee works out?
  • How did you make the jump from the technologist role to the CEO / leader role?
  • What are the different skill-sets required to grow a business from $0 – $1 million in revenue and then the next step of $1 – $10 million?
  • Once you had a product that was ready for market, how did you go about pricing it for customers?
  • What was the biggest lesson you learned from a down economy in 2009?
  • Did you have to prove to the investors that a former technologist with no real management or business experience was the right person to fill the CEO role?
  • What accounting / finance, CRM, sales force automation, project management, email, and other operations / productivity tools do you use internally?

Tools mentioned include: Microsoft Office, Sugar CRM, DemandBase, ParDot, Basecamp, Assembla, Google Analytics, Gmail, NetSuite, SalesForce, Marketo.