is an entrepreneur, professor, writer, and small business adviser who lives in Texas with her husband, Erin Defosse, and their two young children. After the high-tech business they founded together was sold in 2002, Gunasegaram, who is also a CPA, taught at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin and eventually made her way back into the world of entrepreneurship as the founder and president of Babble Soft,
a company that provides software solutions to new moms and dads, easing their transition into parenthood.
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I’m not exactly sure. I knew I wanted to have my own business someday, but I didn’t know what I would be doing. I wasn’t born wanting to be an entrepreneur, but I think after a few years in corporate America I learned that I don’t always make a good employee. I tend to ask a lot of questions and try things differently! While getting my MBA at The University of Texas at Austin I began exploring a new venture idea and one thing after another happened and all of a sudden people were calling me an entrepreneur!
You’ve written that you and the other founders of your first company, Isochron Data Corporation, were “washed out.” How did you recover from that? Was it hard to jump back into the entrepreneurial game after that experience?
I wasn’t rich before Isochron and I wasn’t rich afterwards, so, from a financial perspective ,I lost mostly time and effort but I gained in experience. After Isochron, I took time off, taught, consulted, had kids but couldn’t help myself but try to start something up again. But with Babble Soft I was doing it part time…something to keep my business mind exercised while at the same time having some flexibility for my kids. After a while you learn to put things in perspective and appreciate the lessons learned. So it wasn’t hard to start Babble Soft because when I started I wasn’t thinking I would need/want to raise outside capital. However, what will be hard is trying to raise funds for the big vision of where I want to take Babble Soft given that I haven’t had the time or resources to really show the traction that many investors might want to see. I will have to work harder to sell the vision/dream of the company.
Many women entrepreneurs have mentioned that they felt they were not taken as seriously as businesswomen once people knew their companies were geared toward mothers. Has this been your experience?
You know, I am sometimes concerned about that, but when I talk to people (men or women) about what I’m trying to do they are very supportive. But I haven’t yet begun talking to people who could give me money, so who knows. Also, Babble Soft is not just geared towards mothers. We have many dads who purchase and use our applications, too!