Sunday, June 15, 2014

The MobileIron Journey

We achieved a major milestone in the startup journey last week with the IPO (NASDAQ:  MOBL).

Achieving this milestone required sacrifices and faith from many people – starting with Ajay leaving a secure position at Cisco to merely explore enterprise mobility as the first employee, then Suresh joining a "company" on faith as the second employee to design a yet undefined product, then Frank adding his considerable personal endorsement to the company as a board member (when the company had more board members than employees), then Bob leaving a large bonus at Cisco to join MobileIron as the third employee and cofounder (even with no commitment for a Series A financing), and then Gaurav and Matt financing a startup based solely on an idea and three employees.  The company recently added its 700th employee.

Even after the Series A financing, many people joined the MobileIron journey on faith -- whether as executives (such as Ojas, Jeff, John, Mike, Vittorio, Laurel, Todd and Sean) or investors (such as Paul, Norm, Brent, Frank, Jeff and Steve).  At the NASDAQ ceremony, I met our very first customer (now that definitively required faith in the MobileIron journey).

Getting to the IPO required many sacrifices and overcoming many obstacles.  After all, startups by definition are always out-manned, out-spent and out-gunned by the then larger competition. It resembles Henry V and the English army at the battle of Agincourt.  Despite being outnumbered 5:1 against the fresh French army, the English won and Shakespeare memorialized it in a play called Henry V.

For the IPO, many people (especially in finance, legal and marketing) sacrificed many late nights and weekends.  Even while celebrating the NASDAQ opening in NYC with their families, John and Jeff were constantly on the phone closing deals.  

In that spirit, I remember the countless sacrifices made by employees, investors and partners (and their families) for the sole purpose to help the company.  That spirit resulted in the IPO. That spirit leads to a great company.

Although a successful IPO is a huge milestone, it is just one milestone in the MobileIron startup journey.  Prior milestones include Incubation, Initial Customer Traction and Category leadership.

But, the MobileIron journey does not culminate with the IPO.  Rather, we just moved to the next level -- like going from the minor leagues to the major leagues.  I look forward to the next milestones in the MobileIron startup journey to becoming a great company.

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