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Poshmark CEO Manish Chandra on moving from enterprise businesses to social shopping

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Manish Chandra began his professional career as an enterprise software executive, but found his greatest successes as a consumer-focused entrepreneur.

After going through two IPOs in enterprise software and some small acquisitions, he was intimidated by the prospect of launching a consumer startup. He used a kitchen sink cabinet approach to developing his first success as his own boss with Kaboodle.

To develop the company, he brought together a number of different collaborators to brainstorm and develop a prototype. That brainstorming process enabled Chandra to get a sense of what consumers wanted and what the technology could be.

Kaboodle was eventually acquired by Hearst and Chandra developed the business internally. In 2011 he launched Poshmark.

Throughout the process Chandra emphasizes persistence. He relates how when Kaboodle was raising its Series A the company’s CTO had an accident and was hospitalized. The investors stuck with Chandra, and Chandra stuck with the CTO, who eventually recovered and brought his skills back to the table and eventually to the acquisition by Hearst.

Beyond persistence, Chandra emphasizes the need for entrepreneurs to have a bigger vision for their company.

“Sometimes when you look at a cup of coffee, somebody sees a coffee shop and the other person sees a Starbucks. The opportunity is not the coffee cup. It’s really how you think about that coffee cup,” Chandra said.