Agile Entrepreneurs was born out of the challenges of bootstrapping that Krishna faced, first when he founded eCarpool - perhaps the first carpooling startup in Silicon Valley (1999-2001), and then again RideStation (2004-2008) with a global Agile development team in Silicon Valley & India (Hyderabad & New Delhi).
To lower burn rate and attract top startup talent, AE started in 2005 as the Services arm of RideStation, helping other early-stage startups build their products with high quality & speed and the lowest cost, with pay-by-productivity Agile contracts.
The RideStation team overcame the daunting challenges of getting past the “infinite” Product Vision & endless Features, by building customized high-fidelity prototypes for enterprise customers in days, rapidly testing Go-to-Market Strategies in weeks, and developing the ability to refactor technology and pivot strategy, at will.
This product & engineering startup expertise morphed into a strategy model that produced a rapid delivery roadmap in a seamless, predictable manner, maximizing business value, productivity, & efficiency, while minimizing waste & stress.
In 2006, AE launched a weekly strategy session to help bootstrapping entrepreneurs stay focused on user engagement & customer monetization.
In 2013, 4WeekStartup (4WS) launched officially as an end-to-end coaching program for early-stage startups.
4WeekStartup (4WS) is the collective wisdom of over 12 years from thousands of bootstrapping entrepreneurs who answered three basic - and persistent - questions every Friday:
What business milestone have you been working towards?
What strategy/plan are you focused on for the next month or so?
What can go wrong?
Only founders of Product startups were allowed - no service providers, consultants, or even hired CEOs or investors.
The underlying principle of AE is that your fellow entrepreneurs are your best, “useful” role models, with no agenda behind their advice except their passion for their own product startups & desire to learn with their empathy for you.
4WS is a simple, powerful, model for creating new products and finding markets for them, getting validation in days, traction in weeks, and product/market fit in as little as 3-months.
The foundation of 4WS is the 4-quadrants of Bootstrapping - unifying operational, product, go-to-market, and engineering strategies.
4WS coaches entrepreneurs to nurture & channel their strength, passion, wisdom and stamina into a path to success.
For 18 years Krishna has been mastering bootstrapping hi-tech product startups & pivoting through multiple business models in a unique way - by founding ridesharing / carpooling startups: eCarpool (web & software:1999-2001), Commuter Station (software & social: 2004-08), & Ride Station (social:2012-13 & mobile: 2015-).
Investor reactions and bootstrapping strategy: eCarpool was able to get a customer (Sun Microsystems) & angel funding commitment, Commuter Station got validation from multiple customers (Oracle, eBay, IBM, Kaiser, Boeing, Bay Area MTC, and Santa Barbara county) & angel investors, and RideStation was able to attract angels & VCs in 2006, 2008, and 2015, but turned them down as investors consistently demonstrated an inability to appreciate the challenges of getting critical mass and the changes in strategy & pivoting.
Many future VC-funded startups died trying: ZimRide (2007-13, $15M) & Goose (2006-08) - enterprise software, YC-funded RideJoy (consumer, long-distance: 2011-13, $1.3M), Carma (2007-16, $14M).
In 2005, Krishna founded Agile Entrepreneurs (AE) to get founders to share lessons & resources to reduce risk & cost, pioneering pay-by-productivity Agile contracts to minimize burn-rate & maximizing quality while rewarding productivity.
From 2006, Krishna has coached many founders in effective bootstrapping, getting them to traction in weeks & Product / Market Fit in months, with hyper-efficient product development, and an ability to pivot Strategy on a dime and no time at all.
Working 25+ years at LinkedIn, IBM, BBC, Frog Design, Blue Shield of CA, & many startups as an engineer, leader, and coach shaped Krishna’s passion & expertise.