The inspiring story of how one man built a nearly $2 billion business with his last $1000 in savings.
Sanjay Govil is a tech guy. That’s no surprise. Tech startups seem to be the fastest route to the 1% in 2019. But Govil wasn’t gifted millions in venture capital. He figured out how to build a business with almost nothing and now he’s revealing his secrets in a new podcast.
How to build a business the hard way
Govil took a very circuitous route to build his billion-dollar business.
He was born in Montreal. His family then moved to India where he grew up on a tech campus in Delhi. But when his father got a teaching job at Auburn University, Govil ended up back in American high school.
He then attended Auburn, just like Apple CEO Tim Cook – another guy who knows something about how to build a business.
Govil was always a quant and he completed his engineering degree at Auburn in only 3 years.
Next were jobs at IBM and Verizon, all while getting his Masters at Syracuse. Then came Warton. You might’ve heard of it. President Donald Trump is an alum.
By 2001 though, Govil was tired of ivory towers and missing big city life. He moved his young family to Washington DC where he took the biggest gamble of his life and founded Infinite Computer Solutions.
A $1,0000 startup
Govil had a wife and two small children when he decided to build his own business.
Ignoring high paying job opportunities at big tech companies was a massive gamble. But as Govil told Forbes he felt America is the best place on earth to build a business.
The political climate is friendly and the market is always resilient. So he quit his job and took his last $1,000 in savings to fund his new startup.
9/11 and the financial crisis of the oughts made life even harder but Govil never gave up. He focused on building a customer base and proving he could deliver on big transactions in the healthcare-data field.
Govil eventually took his business public in India. He got a $1.8B valuation but later bought back his own company solve to double taxation issues.
All this success. In such a short time. Fortunately, Govil has now laid out 7 keys for Forbes
1. Take one building block at a time
Govil says multitasking is overrated. Build out one part of your business at a time and then bring in the right management to grow it while you move on to the next thing. Repeat.
2. Be flexible
Don’t be married to one particular outcome. Every business has lots of routes to profitability. Being open to new avenues when one thing fails is crucial.
3. Don’t forget your roots
Govil believes the top startups like Google and Uber always keep an eye on what made them great in the first place. They add new services on top of that without ever sacrificing their core mission.
4. Trust your instincts
Analytics are everything in 2019. But despite being a data guy, Govil says trusting your gut in the first few minutes when facing a big decision is still often the best move.
5. Build a business that’s sustainable
Govil was a one-man army before he hit the $15 million revenue mark. He was doing accounting. HR. Legal. IT. Everything.
He thinks too many entrepreneurs try to live the tech startup lifestyle before cash is actually coming in. Companies with luxurious employee lounges and futuristic nap pods might attract talent, briefly, but they usually go bust.
6. Teamwork makes the dream work
Govil says, “You need a team to win the championship. I was able to hire great people. What made them even more special was their passion and they are what makes champions. I was able to align them to my entrepreneurship journey for Infinite.”
7. Pick the right customers
A customer base isn’t always about quantity. Govil explains if you have a niche business, wasting time on bad clients is a massive opportunity cost. Unless you’re Amazon and your market is every human on earth, your customers help create your culture and should be considered partners in a symbiotic relationship.
Life lessons when you build a business
Despite his massive wealth, Govil claims his lifestyle hasn’t changed much at all. The money he says is a side effect of success. It was never the goal.
Sanjay Govil’s story is inspiring because he built something out of nothing. And you could too.
As always at Velocity Capital, we offer alternative financing to businesses who want to seize the moment and maybe one day get their own billion-dollar IPO.