Keen On… Success: Why 99.9% Of Tech Companies Aren’t WhatsApp or Instagram

Reggie Aggarwal, the founder and CEO of Cvent, describes himself as a “15 year overnight success”. Having founded Cvent in 1999 and raised $17 million for this cloud based B2B event management platform, Aggarwal’s startup experienced near-death after the dotcom crash of May 2000. But in spite of laying off 80% of his staff, Aggarwal persevered, kept 90% of the original executives on his team and eventually succeeded in building a very successful company. Cvent went public last August and the company now has a $1.5 billion market cap.

“99% of businesses aren’t WhatsApp or Instagram”, Aggarwal reminded me. Most tech businesses, he says, are built over many years. It’s a really important message which, coincidentally, is also being made by Ben Horowitz in his new book The Hard Thing About Hard Things. And Aggarwal is himself a sterling example of a determined entrepreneur who kept his head down – not giving a single media interview for 10 years – and focused exclusively on building a viable company.

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