From Three Failed Ventures To A Multimillion-Dollar Startup You Interact With Daily: The Venky B Story

We’ve all been there – signing up online and waiting for that OTP to verify our phone number. It’s a routine, almost mundane task. But have you ever paused to ponder the tech magic behind it? Enter Venky Balasubramanian, the genius behind Plivo, the company that powers these notifications for giants like Zomato and Byjus.

What to know? Back in 2011, what started as an open-source GitHub project for Venky transformed into a multimillion-dollar SaaS startup. Today, Plivo rakes in an impressive $50 to $100 million annually. But Venky’s entrepreneurial spirit was ignited long before Plivo.

As a 10th grader in 1999, he launched ‘ES4i' in Noida, which pulled in a whopping six lakh rupees. Fast forward to his college years, Venky was already innovating with a humanoid robot named Amibo. Though ahead of its time, he pivoted to hardware kits for students, generating 25 lakh rupees in profit.

His third venture, ‘Hunger Break', a pioneering cloud kitchen for momos, was another testament to his forward-thinking mindset. However, operational challenges led him to close the shop.

See also: How This Duo From IIT Kharagpur Went From Being Broke After A Failed Venture To Millionaires

The itch to innovate persisted. In 2011, Venky embarked on a new journey with Plivo, a communications framework. Teaming up with co-founder Michael Ricordeau, whom he met on GitHub, they transformed Plivo into a renowned open-source telephony app development framework. Their collaboration, in an era before Zoom and Slack, was a testament to their dedication.

Despite initial setbacks, like a rejection from Y Combinator, Venky’s determination saw Plivo secure its first customer and raise a pre-seed round. Their perseverance paid off when they joined Y Combinator's Summer 2012 batch alongside big names like Coinbase and Zapier.

Onward and upward: Plivo’s growth trajectory has been nothing short of remarkable. Opting for venture debt in 2017 over a Series A, they’ve maintained their equity and avoided the pitfalls many SaaS companies face. With a team of 300 working remotely across the USA and India, Plivo continues to innovate, launching new offerings like ‘Contacto’ and ‘Sellular’.

Venky’s journey is a testament to the power of perseverance, innovation, and belief in one’s vision.

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