Sunny Rao has been building businesses in the consumer Internet space for the past 20 years. Prior to ZoomIn Sunny was the cofounder of Half.com, an e-commerce company that offered people the best prices on books, music and videos by sourcing products through a marketplace approach. The company was snapped up by Ebay 11 months after they launched for a healthy $350MM making it one of the largest transactions of 1999. Sunny stayed on and guided Half.com through a successful integration into the Ebay fold and operated the business for the next 3 years.
And then Sunny wanted to start again and build a new tech company. He found the perfect project for his next act in the photo market. In 2006, he angel invested in a team that was running a photosharing and printing business. He liked the idea so much that he wanted to step in as an operating partner. Eventually the operating partnership turned into a deeper commitment and Sunny had found his next calling as the CEO of ZoomIn. Sunny is also a Partner a Lightbox and his story is a great example of our DNA – we are always on the look out for opportunities where we can bring more than just money to bear. We like opportunities where we can roll up our sleeves and get involved in the dark and dirty, but enormously satisfying, business of execution.
Through its proprietary print and personalization infrastructure and world-class online and mobile products, Parabo has delivered millions of customer stories in gorgeously crafted photo books and gifts. The company is headquartered in Singapore with operations in India and the US.
Arranged with witty office banter, and the weekly team lunches, Lightbox truly reflected what they were here for; to support innovation that enriches lives. With a culture that promotes thinking, questioning and collaborating, their space and their people weren’t here only to be the next biggest VC, there was heart behind it.
The advice to entrepreneurs is to experiment, fail, learn and repeat. Try things at a small scale and at a low cost, and quickly assess if they work or not and then take a call on what is worth scaling up. The experiments should either stop or continue based on consumer feedback.