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Collibra: AWS Startup Stories Notes from Founders Vol1

Amazon Web Services Resources EMEA

Issue link: https://emea-resources.awscloud.com/i/1146556

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20 STARTUP STORIES Notes from Founders: Collibra 'When we first started as a group of twenty-somethings, it was hard to be taken seriously' At first, there were so many people who told us that our business would never work. We had a lot of cards stacked against us; we were right out of school and had zero experience. We needed to have a little arrogance, ignorance and choose to just not believe the naysayers. We really were doing it for the right reasons; we felt it was important to give companies a way to manage their data. In a way, it was a good thing we were three or four years early to the market, because it gave us the opportunity to learn and we didn't give up. We raised a little money and focused on our customers, which helped us grow our business slowly, but surely. 'We almost went under' Our story isn't one of easy success though. At one point, we only had enough money to keep us going for another two to three months. We were in dire need. All of us founders had already cut our salaries by half because we didn't want to fire anybody; we needed our engineers. We were bidding on a project against IBM and knew that if we didn't win the contract, we could go under. It was a very stressful time. We ended up winning that contract because our proposal was cheaper than IBM's by €1000 ($1200). It was an amazing feeling to triumph over such a large, established company and I know we wouldn't be in business today if we hadn't won. That was a pivotal moment, but there are so many of those decisions, so many pivotal moments when you run a business. You don't necessarily realize it at the time, but looking back, you wonder what might have happened if things had gone differently. 'We didn't start making real money until six years after Collibra's inception' Entrepreneurship often gets romanticized, but in reality, it's really, really hard and requires a lot of sacrifices. You have to do it for the right reasons, or else you're going to give up. When you start a company, the odds are against you. It requires time away from friends and family and a lot of hard work. Having a successful business sometimes just takes luck. You have to time it right and if you don't time it right, you have to decide how long you'll keep going. We had to wait six years before the timing was right. 'Startups need to focus on their customers' Ultimately, success means sticking with it, being customer-focused and thinking big from the beginning. We moved to New York because most of our clients are in the United States. It was important for us to keep on going, to be open-minded and focused on fixing the things that weren't working. For us, our customer base was always very important and something we attribute to our success.

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