In the vast landscape of entrepreneurship, stories of resilience, innovation, and the pursuit of dreams stand out as inspirations. Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan, founder and CEO of Samooha, is one such trailblazer whose journey from the bustling streets of Mumbai to the forefront of data-driven technology is nothing short of remarkable.
Samooha has attracted funding from top-tier investors like Snowflake Ventures, Cowboy Ventures, and Altimeter Capital.
In this episode, you will learn:
- The experience at AdMob marked the inception of an entrepreneurial spirit, emphasizing the value of a dynamic and unrestrained environment for fostering innovation.
- AdMob’s success and subsequent acquisition by Google in 2010 set the stage for an entrepreneurial journey, leading to the creation of Drawbridge, a pioneer in the mobile advertising space.
- The dual purpose of entrepreneurship: creating value through innovative products and fostering opportunities for individuals to grow and succeed beyond the founding venture.
- The divestiture of Drawbridge underscores the challenges faced by founders, emphasizing the importance of effective communication and decision-making in navigating complex situations.
- The latest venture, Samooha, addresses the need for intuitive collaboration tools in handling enterprise data securely, reflecting her continuous commitment to innovation.
- The advocacy for embracing diversity, particularly in the male-dominated tech landscape, encourages women to bring their true selves to the table and contribute to a changing paradigm.
For a winning deck, see the commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400M (see it here).
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About Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan:
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan is the Founder and CEO of Samooha. She is the former Founder and CEO of Drawbridge, the industry’s leading programmatic cross-device advertising platform.
Under Kamakshi’s leadership, the Drawbridge team has solved a problem central to all digital media: cross-device identity. Her vision of taking advertising on mobile devices from being untargeted and virtually random to being done with intent drove her to leave her role as Lead Scientist at AdMob (acquired by Google in 2009) in 2010.
The Drawbridge team has developed the first machine-learning ad technology that leverages insights from device IDs to enable advertisers and marketers to reach targeted audiences across screens.
Drawbridge receives over twelve billion ad requests each day, has made over one trillion observations, and as a result, has paired over one billion devices to date.
Kamakshi received her PhD in Information Theory and Algorithms from Stanford University, and in 2014 was named one of Ad Age’s “40 Under 40,” as well as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist.
She has the unique distinction of her work being on board New Horizons, NASA’s farthest space mission, to Pluto and the outer planetary system.
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Read the Full Transcription of the Interview:
Alejandro Cremades: All righty hello everyone and welcome to the deal maker show so to them I’m really thrilled you know with the gifts that we have joining us. Um, you know she is a remarkable entrepreneur someone that has say been. There has done. It. Obviously several acquisitions one more on the external side as an employee the next one as a founder and now she is on another rocket ship that she’s building from the grownup we’re gonna be learning a lot about making tough decisions as an entrepreneur. Also how you go about it. You know. Especially with fundraising dynamics when the macro environment is not so welcoming which is what we are seeing now and then also a female founder. You know how you deal with you know some of the challenges that you may encounter when it comes to realities that you may experience in that regard. So. Without further ado I like to welcome our guest today come ahi see but aak krishnan welcome to the show. So originally born and raised in Mumbai in India give us a walk through memory lane. How was life growing up there.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: Thank you all hundred. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: Ah, Idlick. Ah big city. You know we talk about in the in America here in the western world big cities are like 10000000 and it’s a big city Mumbai is a city of almost 20000000 people so you can get get. Get easily kind of drowned and lost but it was a great experience growing up there. It’s going to you know, develop street spotness social emotionalal learning happens on the streets if you’re growing up in Mumbai. Great experience there um, a family that has no exposure to entrepreneurship I didn’t know what that meant growing up. Ah, came to the us for my masters ah to Boston University Went to Stanford for my ph d ah came at the tender age of 21 with about $3000 which was I took from my father’s but iss called as providen fund back home. It’s basically your retirement fund and I was supposed to return that back to him because he was retired at the time.
Alejandro Cremades: Wow.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: So I returned that back in three months and look. It’s been an amazing story I think I’m an outcome off. You know the american dream. It’s still true. It is still true.
Alejandro Cremades: Well in that regard. You know coming to America how how was how was landing here. You know you came here to do your masters in electrical engineering in Boston but how was it I mean was it like a massive culture shock like oh my god it just like the way that I foresaw this in the movies. Ah.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: That’s a great question aanra I came I landed on the shores of America back in 9098 and I’m dating myself at this time and you know that was my first international flight I hadn’t taken a flight outside of India at the time so it was a huge culture shock today’s India and today’s world is so much more like we live relatively speaking in a one world economy when you think back to 9098 that wasn’t the case there was there were huge cultural differences between the world that I grew up in and the world that I came into but I came in with kind of you know dreams in my eyes and kind of ready to take this on and the experience. Has been nothing short of a dream come true, especially when you think about kind of an individual’s journey. Maybe you can relate to this as well when you kind of come far away from home you emigrate into a newer land. You’re doing it for a purpose. So. At this point can I say to myself that I have achieved the purpose. No, it’s still in the making. But it feels very purposeful because I’m in the process of creating value in so many different ways that this journey has been enjoyable I still look back to that Dave and I landed in the on the shores of us in Boston with very fond memories. Yes.
Alejandro Cremades: So obviously going to Stanford to do your ph d that was a pivotal moment because that gave you the exposure to the innovation that was happening you know in in and out right? But in your case being there definitely also allow you to. Get the exposure into the venture world and that’s the moment where you decided to go head in you know into business with a company called atmob so how did that happen.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: For sure I mean you bring up such a great point see today. Venture is relatively more democratized like reach for venture capital to universities across the country here in the us let alone us internationally speaking you’re looking at a more democratized world. I’m talking about Circa 2001 when I started my ph d ah we were still talking about a world where kind of Silicon Valley had more access to capital. That’s why like it’s still the case right? Valley is still while there is so many more centers of innovation around the world valley is still kind of somewhere dominant in terms of the number of kind of. The the capital dollars at deployment etc. This was very much true certainly at the times when I joined Stanford so and especially when you come from other academic institutions into Stanford. It’s a big difference I’m sure you must have had some of your other guests talk about this as well. Entrepreneurship runs in the blood at Stanford. Ah, every student gets a very very early exposure to it and that’s why it’s such an amazing journey to be within campus and just experience it all and you cannot escape it I got my Phd in a field call information theory this field is very theoretical. It’s applied mathematics. And statistics for electrical engineers so people in information theory this information theory this field was born during world war ii by a by a pre-eminent mathematician called cloud Shannon and was primarily for communication. So wireless communication wired communication.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: Ah, storage of data compression of data when you think about jpeg mpeg these are also it’s all about how do you process information and you deliver value around entropy around that information. So this is a highly theoretical field people in this discipline over the years since this field was born. Have generally veered primarily into academia because there’s a lot of areas of research and problems to solve for in terms of how do you store process and transmit information but people have kind of branched out and applied this into financial engineering quantitative finance and things like that. And with the emergent of internet technologies. They’ve also started out and branching into applying it into internet technologies with the prevalence of so much data. That’s kind of the journey I went through at Stanford during my ph d and the final graduating years I stumbled upon the founder of a company called Admob this guy called Omar Hamoy he’s a fairly kind of gentle character fairly kind of you know, low profile keeps a low profile ran into him and then had a conversation with ah the team at Admob I had offers from at the time Goldman Sachs and sit and Citadel and Lehman Brothers and all the quantity to finance shops in Google and academia as well. Admo was this kind of nondescript unknown startup its offices were on in in a city called San Mateo here where Youtube was also born in San Mateo the offices were about.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: Ah, a bunch of sushi restaurants. So it can get to be pretty kind of interesting during the daytime I imagine like you know the next morning with like a lot of like stale food fish smell if you may it wasn’t. The most welcoming place especially when you like Lehman Brothers and Mckinsey and all like they roll out the red carpet and you go to the startup it has this rinkety dinkety office and you’re like ah is this what I’m supposed to be doing like but I met the team there and I was like this is really interesting I don’t know much about advertising and marketing as it is done and. In in the in the digital world especially in mobile at the time mobile devices were just flip phone devices. You just use them to make calls. That’s it and store some phone number contact information. You didn’t use them actively to browse the internet so it was an amazing opportunity on like creation. It was right at the inception of creation of a mobile economy. And a bunch of really smart people came together at Admob because we all could figure out where this would be the current ct of Microsoft Kevin Scott he’s an ad mobster I’m an ad mobster. Ah, there are so many other ah sort of you know, successful founders and entrepreneurs who are all from this kind of kind of community of ad mob ad mobsters who came together to build that company. We had an amazing success. Got acquired by Google in 2010.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: Spent a year there myself and then since then I’ve had my own entrepreneurial journey and each one of my fellow ad mobsters have done that as well and it was a great start for what and my introduction to entrepreneurship.
Alejandro Cremades: And what do you think made the culture so Powerful. You know that it really Attracted. You know such level of talent. You know people that you know they ended up going to other companies I ended up doing other things with extreme success. What What do you think cultivated that culture for. All of these people to come together.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: I think it’s like you know, ah a bunch of folks who kind of had the ability to identify kind of the right opportunity at the right time and here was basically. Bunch of smart people who are not being restrained by the bureaucracy of how to do things just let’s just go ahead and like excuse my friend here get shit done like that was the mentality that we had at at at Admob. Um, it was unrestrained in the sense of when I talk about bureaucracy it was unrestrained. Bring your best. We’ll get it done and that was something and even like Kevin Scott who is now kind of a story of the legends when we think about everything openai and Microsoft has kind of been catapulted into a whole level. He spearheaded a lot of that inside of Microsoft and you can see that like you know. The sparks of that has existed way back in 22008 2009 ten and eleven when Admob was was around and it was Kevin it was the founder Omar Hammoi a bunch of other folks at at the company who created that spirit right? and we were all kind of came together and we. And that romance of entrepreneurship was for many of us kind of was born there and then we all took it in our own ways and continued our own journey. Some of us are founders and in an operating capacity. Others are in a venture capacity with their own funds and others are in you know, senior executive level leadership in big tech companies.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: Really creating difference in value. So that’s an amazing journey. This is a point I would I often talk about while a startup and a founder and an entrepreneur. Our primary job is to create value and that’s what we are here for to identify an opportunity create value and build awesome products. But an equally important value that we create the true legacy of a company of a bunch of people coming together is the kind of opportunities you create for people who come and be a part of their journey when they all go on in life and create their own successful stories. There’s nothing more rewarding for a founder than the fact that a bunch of people who came around to build a company with you could go on and become more successful themselves in their own capacity I think that’s certainly something that Admob did in our own way at drawbridge my company that I founded we have done that and i. I aspire to do that. That’s what kind of keeps me kind of going. That’s what helps me attract kind of people who come want to be a part of the journey. It’s a journey.
Alejandro Cremades: I love it now as part of this journey too when the company got acquired by Google for 750000000 reported you and a bunch of others. You know, didn’t want to stay long so you know you ended up going at it and this was the basically the time that you became a founder. For the first time launching your own business and that was bringing drawbridge to life. So how was that process you know, walk us through the incubation at what point does the idea of the company come knocking and how were those sequences of events until you actually brought it to the. to to to to life
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: Ajandro I mean you talked about this question about kind of ad mob right? The culture of Admob I think it’s just you bring a bunch of smart people together. You can never stop kind of ideation. And kind of creativity and the whole process of like the creative process doesn’t stop. That’s the thing that happens when a bunch of people come together. So we would all talk at Admob about hey look we were at the cusp of you know mobile economy was simply breaking out 2007 the first set of smartphones basically broke into the scene. Mobile economy had not been created at the time we were talking about but the promise of mobile economy. We were just simply at the start of mobile commerce all of this required understanding how to market to consumers how to reach to consumers how to personalize to consumers when they are engaging on mobile then you’re confronted with this fact that it’s not. Simply a mobile economy this is going to be a multi-device multi-platform economy there are going to be mobile devices I e your phones there are going to be tablets your traditional laptops are not going away. Desktops are not going away connected Tvs you’re talking about a very kind of vilet that is fragmentation. There is engagement happening on multiple devices and platforms and then you look and you see that you know the big tech guys are certainly very strong insofar as being able to personalize and Delaware consumer experiences in this new world. But how do you empower and democratize every brand.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: To be as powerful if not close to being as powerful as kind of you know the big tech guys themselves a lot of that is around understanding consumer identity across kind of you know, different touchpoints and engagements. That’s where kind of the genesis of drawbridge as the company was born and to your point of like we. A lot of us left Google very quickly within the first year or 2 of ah the acquisition. Why Google’s an amazing place. We love their experience. There is so much to learn right? Obviously there’s the the learning curve is very strong at at at big companies. But at the same time. All of us have a very strong itch and bug of entrepreneurship so we like a pace of development and really kind of have a disruptive process of being able to bring kind of new products and kind of you know, opportunities to market. So. That’s why you saw a bunch of fast leave and certainly I was one of those who wanted to go ahead and create this left and started drawbridge around the opportunity to kind of understand how are consumer experiences going to look like in this multi-platform multi-device world. That’s the opportunity drawbridge built toward 7 eight years since founding of the company. We exited the company to Linkedin and Microsoft it was an amazing opportunity b two b who would think that like you know multi-device engagement is not simply a consumer experience it’s also a b two b experience so that’s where some mother intersect happened with with Linkedin and Microsoft it certainly we I’m happy to talk about but that’s kind of.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: My my hope here is everyone who’s listening to this story surround yourself with right people because that’s the the genesis of ideas happens when you have creative exchange and to your point of like you know, funding financing at the time I was a first -time founder when I went back to drawbridge to go and raise money myself. And you know having been a part of the admob process you see entrepreneurship close enough so you have learned you’ve had the benefit to learn it without having to be in the hot seat yourself. So that certainly helped me a lot when I was out there to go raise money myself and success has a stardust effect to it.
Alejandro Cremades: and and and and I’m wondering too like for the people that are listening there because you alluded to it how much capital how did you capitalize the business or drawbridge how much capital that you guys raised prior to the transaction with Linkedin.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: Hike just was coming out of a great success.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: Um, we raised close to $50000000 of capital ah at ah at drawbridge started with six and a half million of Cd a and this was back in 2011 and it would the tenure of the company about $50000000 in in equity capital and then certainly we had. Ah, bunch of debt etc that debt capital that we debt equity that we raised in the company as well. So an 8 ight-year journey there was a lot that we went through as a business and grew into a certain scale that required both capital from an equity perspective. It was around led by S Sea and kle perkins at the time. We had additional investors both on the corporate and on the venture side that we added through the tenure of the company and an amazing learning experience on how foundership entrepreneurship and you know bunch of top decisions that we had to take as well along the way and.
Alejandro Cremades: So let’s talk about that. Let’s let’s say double click on that or making tough decisions as a founder because there was a point in time where you guys had to divest you know, certain things to be able to increase the focus So tell us what happened there and and and and and what did you learn from that.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: Look We were running two Businesses. We were running a service-oriented business that was primarily um, our strategy to acquire data because we were building this. Um. Kind of ah long before Ai is so much kind of in front and center of our consciousness but we were effectively using ai and self self-supervised machine learning Algorithms to build an identity graph to understand kind of consumer footprint on the kind of broader internet If you may.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: It’s very data hungry and so we effectively ran a service business to acquire data and running that service business over time became. It was a means to an end. We knew that very well going in and over time it became less and less strategic for us and it was from a margin profile perspective. It was lower margin business. So. It was a part of our imperative to shift focus from that lower margin business after it had done its job of delivering us kind of the critical mass of data into kind of the more saas oriented model. So that is what spurred the divestiture it was not something that was unexpected. It was something that. Had to happen and we knew it had to happen and at a certain time we had to divestt it but nevertheless the mechanics of executing a divestiture which comes with people comes with you know, product comes with business. That’s not easy to do that. Especially as first -time founders and first -time leaders or ceos when you have to. Deal with people. It’s not easy to do that and the learning experience is that look while the decision is very tough to take as founders go in with the fact that you know become and become comfortable. But being uncomfortable. You ah have to live live with discomfort all the time whether it’s on a day-to-day basis on small decisions or whether it is on kind of tectonic shifts like a divestiture etc that even if you know was planned when it is actually going to be delawood.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: It’s a learning experience. How do you deal with people. How do you deal with customers. How do you deal with market. How do you deal with perception. How do you deal with your investors. These are all your constituents your investors your mark your employees your market your customers your prospects. These are all like constituents of yours. How do you deal with them. Lots of learning experience. Communication is key. How do you communicate each one of them have different imperatives right? Your employee has a different imperative than your customer has a different imperative than your investor. So how do you communicate across all of them. These are all things that were an amazing learning experience for me I’m a better founder a better leader for having gone through it I don’t wish this on every. Any founder. But it’s likely to happen on many founders we have seen that happen more so in the last few years and especially now than the 4.
Alejandro Cremades: So then? so then when we’re talking about mechanics here. Why don’t we talk about the mechanics of the actual transaction with Linkedin because obviously that’s how people tell moment for you. You know, reaching the finish line. So how did the whole you know conversation with Linkedin come about and. And make us insiders how will that how how was going through that like.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: That’s a great question. You know, see again speaking of learning experiences a founder s job as much, especially technical founders. You’re the heart of the technology or the heart of the product but you’re a heart of the sales as well. It’s your sales. But your salesperson number one for the company. You’re also corporate development person number one for the company. So it is the founder s responsibility to have all the strategic partnerships to be out there in market to forge those kind of to identify those opportunities forge those opportunities nurture them. For example, Linkedin was once such. It’s my job as a founder to be sales gal number one. It’s also my opportunity to be product manager number 1 it’s also my responsibility to be the carte person number 1 usually startups and founders and small companies when we’re talking about 15200 people. We don’t have a cognitive functionality. We have a business development functionality. We don’t have a cognitive functionality. So a lot of these things are very organic. You know it’s. There’s this phrase of Bd to cd business development to corporate development these are organic then naturally you already work with these like big companies because they don’t have a capability or said capability in our case with Linkedin they were working with us commercially before they thought that this is a great product.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: They had a chance to integrate it test it out really see the benefits of it hey we would like to own this. So. That’s the best kind of opportunity we were talking about this at one point earlier aljandro out of the majority of companies that get founded most of them don’t even see live long enough to see the light of the day out of the ones that are successful. Majority of them are going through a merger or an acquisition and a minority of them are going through an Ipo. So the opportunity to to learn how to forge all these strategic relationships to understand the value that they present for yourself to understand customer relationships is an integral part of every founder. Especially when you think about technology and product founders. We don’t tend to focus on these things we are good at what we do, but these are skills that we have to develop and for me that was a great learning experience and that can then done organically results in beautiful relationships like what we had with Linkedin. It was a great success if I were to quote some of the you know executives inside of linkedin they said that drawbridge was one of the most successful acquisitions google has made sorry linkedin has made in its history and I wear that with the bra with as a badge of honor.
Alejandro Cremades: And always a you know, amazing outcome that it was reported in the several hundreds of millions. So so good stuff now in your case you know as they say once you do a deal like that you gotta. Engage into what they call the vesting and resting you know, obviously you know you got to stick for a while you know, really realize the value there, especially the one that you’re getting on the backend as part of the deal. But then you know, essentially you know like you were there as part of Linkedin Microsoft’s environment where you were part of the office of the cto. But as they say once an entrepreneur always an entrepreneur and on around 2022. That’s where the idea of Samoa is where it comes knocking so what happened walk us through it.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: I mean it’s an interesting kind of point in my journey as you can see over the course of the last like at this point I would say give or take 15 years or so ah that the common theme is data. So I’ve dealt with companies that have been at the forefront of. Algorithmic learning algorithmic intelligence whether it’s for the purpose of advertising marketing or Enterprise Technologies They ‘re all fed by data data is kind of you know there is a greater and greater realization on how is data acquired who’s sharing that data. What is the consent behind that data is that. Is that treated the way it should be is there a compliance requirement so sort of the the value of data is getting more and more calibrated as you know we need to do write back that data if you think about that there is really no technology today out there that is super easy. For businesses to integrate enterprises to integrate into their stack and say that this technology allows me to work with my data in a private in a secure in a compliant fashion. There’s this there are fragments of this There are fragments of product and technology capabilities of course. But if you think of it as. Hey I as an enterprise company I join Microsoft I join a big enterprise I get my laptop I get my devices I get a few set of enterprise tools. These are productivity tools I also get a data collaboration tool I get ah basically ah ah, a data sharing tool that allows me to understand the value of my enterprise data.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: Makes me that much better and stronger as an employee of the company. Such a technology doesn’t exist and this becomes intimately you become intimately aware of this, especially when you think about marketing and advertising technologies because they have to deal with data a lot. It’s it’s a date It’s a data centric problem. So i. Idea for samuha while certainly happened within the last year it was something that I was exposed to throughout kind of my professional career whether it is from the times of my ph d into ad mob into drawbridge and today where we are at samuha. It was simply a matter of understanding hey let’s try to kind of build a very intuitive experience that is as intuitive as ah as a consumer experience you see pandemic made every my my mom and your mom probably got to know about Zoom before that there was no no real awareness. People started talking about hey I’m sharing pictures on on on Google on Dropbox I’m like we’ve we’ve started connecting across productivity vectors I’m saying 5 years down the line ajandro 10 years down the line. The ability to collaborate with data not simply share documents not simply generate streams of consciousness in the form of chats but actually work with and like data by running insights queries workloads building models this is going to become a reality where every employee in a company would do that maybe consumers will do that.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: That’s because there will be a collaboration technology that does best to date insofar as what can be done with data I We at some ofhow want to build toward that vision and a lot of that resides very close to where data sits on the Cloud. That’s why we build it as a. Cloud Agnostic technology and hence our partnership with snowflake etc. That’s at the heart of Samuha. That’s the vision that we are building for how do we make data super accessible while doing right with data.
Alejandro Cremades: And obviously you were talking about snowflake there you know which was part of the series a that you guys did in February um, a very recently thirty million bucks that you guys raised for a series a so. Obviously different environment now you know raising money versus you know, perhaps a year or two years ago walk us through what you have seen when it comes to fundraising dynamics nowadays.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: Interesting question. Ah you know if there is something that I’ve gone through I’ve gone through kind of 2 cycles if not more between kind of drawbridge and nasimuha look I would say largely over the course of the last this this. Economy in the us and certainly the world over over the last ten plus years has seen an amazing run right? We are not probably going to see this in again in our lifetimes and so as a result of that capital was relatively cheap and um as a result of which. You know the ability to get funded for good ideas or even ideas generally speaking. We went through some crazy times a couple years back. So certainly a drawbridge I lived through times where it’s not easy for any founder or product to be funded by like. You know, big guys likeica client perkins etc. Ah, we obviously had something great that we were building towards and we we were able to kind of ah secure financing from some of the pest in the world but over the course of the last two years especially with samuha. I would say that you can feel the difference capital is more restricted. Ah it is more expensive. You do get ah good ideas will always get funded if if there is 1 takeaway that anyone in the audience can.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: Kind of take away with them. Good ideas will get funded period hands down. Um the economics of it varies today then it was there before but it will get funded so samuha’s financing was not a difficult exercise because it’s rooted in a solid foundational value. That is created for the world around us certainly across b two b and a prices if you may so the opportunity to finance samuha. We had multiple term sheets ah at our bay and we chose what were best partners for us. But that was not the case for every founder for every idea for every product out there and certainly today if it is Ai that’s a different kind of you know reality than before but data infrastructures in service of Ai Technologies is a big part of investor kind of you know. Thinking and perspectives as well. So we are part of that story. Solid data infrastructures that treat data well in a compliant race privacy safe secure manner governance fashion. So that’s why financing samuha was was not hard at all. The economics were certainly something that we processed. Well. We spent some time building product and understanding. You know what we had to prototype a bunch of things we had to understand what partnerships and opportunity and channel go-to-market models, etc would look like hence our set opportunity with snowflake and that’s when we went ahead and raise money we didn’t go ahead on like ah on ah on a.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: On a slide deck. We did go ahead and raise money after we had established some kind of runway and proven to ourselves and and certainly to our investors that there is merit in this idea and we are able to go ahead and achieve this.
Alejandro Cremades: So As a girl’s Dad. You know myself you know I’m the father of 3 little girls and you’re certainly one of the examples that I would love for them to you know, look you know and and be inspired by because you know you’ve what you’ve done is absolutely Incredible. I Guess you know for you I I guess you know obviously the times are changing The dynamics are also changing towards female founders towards diversity towards different accents different colors when when it comes to venture capital which is Amazing. So I Guess as a female founder yourself. What have been and especially you know there’s a lot of female founders that are listening to us Now? What are some of the realities that you’ve experienced you know and and and perhaps you know something that you could inspire some of those female founders and even you know my own daughters. You know with with what you have experienced yourself.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: I mean a hundred the highlight of my conversation today with you is that we live in America both of us both of us have non-native american accents and look at the podcast that we are having I love that I love that about kind of the world that we live in.
Alejandro Cremades: Yep.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: To your point of kind of you know, being a father to a daughter yourself I’m a mother to a daughter myself and my daughter asked me two days back it is serendipity ah she said she’s forty years old she asked me mom um, are you building a company. So I said yes, she’s like can you tell me what What do you do? What does a company do so it was it’s it’s amazing that you know as a parent I’m able to share with her and she has enough curiosity to understand and learn more about kind of the experience. But with that said to your point of. There’s enough Inc That has been written about this over the several years but are we at a place where the female participation at an executive leadership level at an entrepreneurship level at a founder level is where it is or where it should be It’s not. So I’m saying while there has been enough inc spent on it. We should still continue to talk about it because there’s more work to do. We are not done yet. Ah the world that you want your daughter to experience and the world that I want my daughter to experience from an entrepreneurship perspective or an opportunity perspective. We. We want it to be a better place than where it is today. So. That’s why we have to continue the dialogue to the extent of kind of my experiences it typically comes in with the fact that especially when you think about technology foundership and technology products especially b 2 b course Saas Enterprise Hardcore tech products.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: It is even more the case that number of female founders in the room or female executives in the room or female leaders in the room is dominated that the demographic is dominated by Males. That’s kind of the the demographic reality that we go through my approach to that has been that. Um. Over the years I’ve gotten comfortable with that and again it kind of goes back to kind of get comfortable with being uncomfortable. There are not going to be that many people who look like you. They’re not going to be that many people who sound like you they’re going not going to be that many people who probably even kind of culturally and or even gender Wise. Can experience situation and process kind of circumstances same like you but you kind of have you have to get comfortable with that and my ah my approach to that has been to kind of embrace it as much as I can and ah.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: I’m very aware that because I am among the fewer women in the room if I do it? Well it is memorable if I don’t do it? Well, it is also remembered so I take it as a kind of responsibility to put my best foot forward whether it’s a customer meeting whether I’m on a panel whether I’m on a stage. Or whether I’m kind of you know, dealing with an employee situation I try to take it and do the best that I can and surround yourself that we are the good news is today we are. In a situation where there are more women mentors there are more women in the workforce. There are more women in senior leadership and influential positions surround yourself with them with the find male allies that are male allies who are intimately aware of this and are willing to support you and be there for for you and ah. It’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to express kind of a sense of weakness a sense of fear a sense of you know I need help raise your hand ask for help I I would say that each person each individual will have their own journey. But. With a broad trend of embracing it and with your own personal way of dealing with it which is unique. You will you will contribute to a new ism that will become a new ism after after you do it because you will be successful. It will become an ism. So ah.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: I’m not coming in with saying that here are the kind of 3 things you do as much as I’m saying try to bring your true self. You know a lot of big companies from a culture value perspective. They say that we want you to bring your true self. It sounds very platitudinal right now. But we as women have to do that we have to bring our true selves. We have to give ourselves the chance we have to not opt out of the workforce because when other priorities happen. We tend to choose other priorities over ourselves give ourselves the best shot if I can tell 1 thing to your child and my child.
Alejandro Cremades: I Love it.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: Give yourself the best shot and as parents we give them the best shot to achieve that.
Alejandro Cremades: I Love it. Thank you so much for sharing that for the people that are listening to us now come actually and they’re you know, wondering hey you know I will love to reach out and say hi. What is the best way for them to do so.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: I’m on Linkedin I’m very active on Linkedin like I’ve been at Linkedin. Best kind of tool out there safest cleanest network out there ah reach us out there find us on um on our website some muha tech as well. I’m very involved in all kinds of customer interactions. Prospect interactions. Um so easiest ways to reach be are at those 2 places.
Alejandro Cremades: Amazing, well come actually thank you so much for being on the deal maker show today. It has been an honor to have you with us.
Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: Thank you very much. It’s an honor to speak to you as well Alejandra and hopefully there is 1 takeaway that I I can leave everyone with is give yourself the best shot.
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