Serial entrepreneur Vivek Joshi (MBA ’92) has made waves in the manufacturing industry. He is best known for founding and building LumaSense Technologies, a global company that produces temperature- and gas-sensing products and has about 300 employees. His latest venture is Entytle, an analytics-driven company that helps manufacturers grow and improve their customer service offerings.
Tell us about the origins of your first venture, LumaSense.
In 2005, I wanted to start my own company. And I sat down, much like I did recently with my wife, to go through different ideas. Except at that time, it was me alone. I had a series of ideas about what kind of businesses I wanted to build and I started talking to different people about different ideas. It happened that one of the people who I talked to at the time was an investor who had similar thought processes. I had the idea; he had the interest. The next thing I knew, he told me he was willing to commit $50 million to make this real. Sometimes, all it takes is being in the right place at the right time.
You identified another great idea for your latest startup, Entytle.
My partner and I got together and recognized a big problem: Large equipment manufacturers needed help growing their service businesses. Most of these companies have a hard time identifying all the different things they can do for a customer, service-wise, because the information they need to have at their hands to make decisions often exists, but it exists in an incredibly disperse and fragmented fashion. We’re building a new system to help companies [use that data] to grow their service businesses.
There are a lot of problems that need to be solved. Why go after this one?
The world’s equipment manufacturing industry is about $3 trillion in size. The services around that are between half a trillion and a trillion dollars. There are millions of people involved in servicing equipment. It’s a huge market opportunity. I had to give it a shot.
Entytle isn’t your only business these days.
I also run a capital consulting firm called Persilient — a name that combines the words “persistence” and “resilient.” I am doing some work with a couple of funds and companies — advising funds on buyout, which is what I did in my past life. Some people have approached me to help them build other companies in a similar fashion. So I’m helping them do that.
What separates a successful entrepreneur from the pack?
You have to have the persistence to stick with an idea and see it out. And the resilience to bounce back from the “noes” that you hear all day long. And the last thing is courage. I’ve seen enough entrepreneurs in the Valley to realize that, at the end of the day, you have to have the courage of your convictions. To say, you know what, I believe strongly enough to go give it a shot.
And you need to have a great idea, I’d imagine.
The idea doesn’t have to be unique. But you have to get up and do something with it. That’s the difference.