EIR Success Story: Milind Gadekar

Brad Elmore

Milind Gadekar

Co-founder and CEO, CloudOn

As many CEOs will vouch, it tends to be a roller-coaster journey with lots of highs and some lows. The ability to work with a smart and committed team makes it all worth it, as eventually it is all about the journey together of fulfilling a vision…and something I would do again in a heartbeat!

CloudOn, the company that has brought Microsoft Office and Adobe Reader to the iPad, is in the business of revolutionizing the world of mobile productivity. And so far, they’re doing a pretty good job.

After the soft launch of the CloudOn app in the U.S. market in January 2012, it quickly skyrocketed to become the No. 1 Free App and No. 1 Productivity App in Apple’s App Store, and has remained in the top 10 ever since. In the meantime, CloudOn launched on both iPad and Android tablets in Western Europe and has reached one million registered users faster than any other productivity service, including Dropbox, Evernote and Yammer. To expand its services, CloudOn has already partnered with Adobe, Dropbox, Box and Google.

But the company isn’t stopping at tablets. CloudOn is already working to expand its services to help its customers be productive across all of their mobile devices, incorporating invaluable feedback from its loyal customer base along the way.

Milind Gadekar, co-founder and CEO of CloudOn, explains that the company’s rise to No. 1 has been two years in the making. He pitched his company and vision for addressing mobile productivity to Charles Moldow and the rest of the Foundation Capital partnership in the summer of 2010. Foundation Capital liked the CloudOn team and technology, but felt it was early in the evolution of the company and thus chose to seed fund it to help Gadekar and his colleagues evolve their thinking and sharpen their go-to market strategy. Foundation also opted to incubate Gadekar himself.

“The journey for a founding CEO is not for the faint of heart,” Gadekar says. “If it was easy to start and build a successful company, we would find more folks giving this a try. But it takes a combination of vision, passion, risk taking, delusional belief, luck and more to be a CEO of an early stage company.”

Gadekar’s connections to Foundation Capital go back many years, when he and Moldow worked together at @Home Network. Since then, the two have kept in touch and Moldow has followed Gadekar’s career, watching him play a key role at P-Cube and the subsequent successful sale to Cisco. His incubation at the Foundation Capital offices was a perfect fit, giving him access to the partnership, other startups and the other EIRs, all of which helped CloudOn evolve its thinking and strengthen its relationships.

“The reaction from our user base has been humbling as they love what we have built and are so appreciative of how it has changed their lives,” Gadekar says. “It shows that users want to do more on their tablets and do not want to be limited to just reading content, they want to be more productive and be able to do more while they are mobile. This success has justified all the hard work and sacrifices the team has had to make to get here. As many CEOs will vouch, it tends to be a roller-coaster journey with lots of highs and some lows. The ability to work with a smart and committed team makes it all worth it, as eventually it is all about the journey together of fulfilling a vision…and something I would do again in a heartbeat!”