EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2014 Northern California Awards


nca_eoy_VladimirShmunisAWARD RECIPIENT
Vladimir Shmunis
CEO and founder

RingCentral founder and CEO Vladimir Shmunis draws upon his experience as an engineer and CEO to lead the company, connecting with engineers while keeping an eye on the balance sheet.
Shmunis co-founded the company with his own funds in 2003 and guided it to an initial public offering in September 2013. RingCentral offers a cloud-based enterprise phone system.
RingCentral solves a fundamental challenge for businesses — legacy phone systems do not support the needs of modern mobile and distributed workforces. RingCentral offers a cost-effective, integrated solution that works across office locations and has mobile app support for smartphones and tablets.
To differentiate itself from competitors, RingCentral has not only been innovating with technology, but also in its go-to-market strategy. The company tracks what customers are asking for and has attracted them with a reasonable cost.
RingCentral also does not see itself as a VoIP company, but as a communications company. It took a “mobile first” approach before other service as a software or technology companies. The company reimagines services not in terms of devices but in how to connect the business community, a change in mindset from other software as a service providers.
When hiring, Shmunis strives to find people who can be part of the team, are upwardly mobile and motivated to be successful. For his executive team and board of directors, he sought people smarter than him that are able to function in the fast-paced Silicon Valley environment.
Shmunis believes that giving back is an important part of being a responsible corporate citizen. RingCentral is involved with local charitable organizations, including the NFTE Bay Area 2013 Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge and the annual San Francisco AIDS Walk. The company has a large presence in Manila and had a program to match employee donations when Typhoon Haiyan hit last year.


Tien Tzuo
founder and CEO

Tien Tzuo founded Zuora with a desire to use technology to fundamentally change the world and a goal to enable customers to succeed in a subscription-based software industry.
Tzuo trademarked the term “subscription economy,” and started Zuora to address what he predicted would be a dramatic shift in consumer goods and services from ownership to a membership mentality. He saw an evolving need for services that help companies manage different aspects of business processes more efficiently and effectively.
Zuora set out to provide a simple, modular and scalable offering to enable on-demand subscription billing that would overcome limitations of enterprise resource planning solutions. It created a comprehensive platform for subscription businesses, effectively creating the subscription commerce market.
The company’s mission statement outlines nine keys to success — price, acquire, bill, collect, nurture, account, measure, iterate and scale.
In building the team at Zuora, Tzuo wanted to expand his mission-based culture strategy and created the concept of ZEO — the idea that every team member is his or her own CEO and empowered to go outside of day-to-day responsibilities to produce outstanding results.
An example of this is the Seed Edition. After a small team built a solution designed specifically for energetic startups, Tzuo encouraged them to operate independently and build off the startup mentality to which they were appealing. The strategy was intended to infuse the Zuora culture with the entrepreneurial ethos at a time when the organization was becoming a larger and more mature software company.
Corporate philanthropy has been a key tenant of Tzuo’s career. He sought to infuse that into Zuora’s culture and launched what is believed to be the first corporate giving campaign run completely on Twitter.
In partnership with Network for Good, customers, employees, friends and family gave financially to the charity of their choice by promoting it with the #ZuoraForGood hashtag.


Chet Kapoor

Chet Kapoor left a senior leadership position at IBM in 2007 to become CEO at service-oriented architecture company Sonoa Systems, but by 2010, he shifted the business into application program interface technology and the name was changed to Apigee.
Management saw that APIs and data were key in the new digital world and Apigee became a leading provider of API technology and services for enterprises and developers. Walgreens, Bechtel, eBay, Pearson and Gilt Groupe are among companies that use Apigee to simplify delivery, management and analysis of APIs and apps.
Along the way, Kapoor transitioned the company from a hardware-driven infrastructure to software and then to a cloud-based software as a service entity.
Kapoor adopted the Apigee Way of management, comprised of the mission, values and type of people at the company. The mission is to help customers expand into the digital world, and allow Apigee to make the world’s apps, data and APIs better.
The company sets itself apart from the competition by the breadth of its offerings. Apigee Edge is a complete platform for enterprise digital transformation; API Exchange powers app ecosystems across multiple industries; and Apigee Insights integrates big data analytics with app and API digital infrastructure.
Most Apigee employees do not have impressive titles because Kapoor wants them to feel free to collaborate. New hires undergo the “Apigee experience” through an on-boarding system called Apigee University that instills the core values of action, passion and respect.
Those values are reinforced at each all-hands meeting when Kapoor chooses three employees who are doing an exceptional job of embodying them. Employees also attend Apigee University boot camp every six months, with an emphasis on collaboration and feedback.