muSigma startup story

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Information is power. Analytics is the evidence

Whoever thought a novel idea could be transformed into a multi-million dollar business venture in less than half a decade? Well, to one Dhiraj C Rajam, that’s a possibility, because it’s exactly how he started his now world-famous Mu Sigma business analytics company.

To Mr. Dhiraj, becoming a businessman, let alone a successful one, was one of the last things he ever thought he would be. Before starting Mu Sigma in 2004, all he was interested in was to learn and innovate new things in the field of business information technology, without the knowledge that what he was cooking was the perfect recipe for a global entrepreneurial phenomenon.

It is befitting of a billion-dollar company in the business analytics space to be named after the symbols of the mean (Mu) and standard deviation (Sigma). Mu Sigma is one of the fastest-growing companies in the world and has raised a gargantuan total of 163 million dollars in funding over its 9 years of existence. Mu Sigma also holds the unique distinction of securing the largest funding round ever by a business analytics company.

The accolades that Mu Sigma has accumulated over the years is a rapidly rising toll. But, like all great companies, the core of the company is built around the beliefs and ideas of an intrinsically curious person. Founder, Dhiraj C Rajaram, had a novel idea that bore no intentions towards entrepreneurship.

But as fate would have it, Dhiraj’s novel idea manifested itself in a hugely successful entrepreneurial venture and the rest, as they say, is history.

Dhitaj founded the company in 2004, in the United States, when he was just 30 years old. Previously he worked as a consultant in PricewaterhouseCoopers and Booz Allen Hamilton. In 2008, the company received its first round of funding of $30 million, from FTV Capital. The company mainly provides marketing analytics services that help businesses make decisions based on well researched statistical data.

Even with bigger companies such as Accenture and IBMalready in the industry and established before Mu Sigma’s startup, nothing seemed to stop Dhiraj from chasing his new dream. The beginning of the venture was humble but as the adage would have it, the machine comes second to the brain behind it, because Dhiraj seemed to have projected the outcome of his plans before making the first step. While other companies would have business analysis and programming done by different people, Mu Sigma applied a different approach of recruiting all-rounded individuals called decision scientists (skilled in programming, professional analysis, and applied mathematics).

According to Mr. Dhiraj, finding these people was not that easy, especially for his then grassroots venture. But once the company started attracting customers and the right personnel, his journey to the entrepreneurial summit hasn’t taken a break, and he is yet to find his comfort zone.

Today Mu Sigma has around 3 500 employees and around $250 million of revenue. Some investors value the private company as much as $7 billion. Today, the founder of the business Dhiraj C Rajam is 39 and owns a 49% stake in the company.

He signed off by drawing a relationship between the types of entrepreneurs and the two main kinds of marriages in India. He says, “ There are two kinds of entrepreneurs. One is arranged marriage entrepreneurs and the other is love marriage entrepreneurs.”

“The arranged marriage entrepreneurs are the ones who want to be entrepreneurs and they look for the right business. They shop around. They try out different ideas. They sit in Starbucks and meet with people. They talk to VCs, raise money and sometimes even exit. And like many arranged marriages they have beautiful endings.”

“The second kind of entrepreneur is the Love marriage entrepreneur. He is somebody who has found a girl and wants to live with that girl. And as part of that, he is ready to get married to that girl. The girl is the idea. I became an entrepreneur because I wanted to work on that idea.”'