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Bootstrapping from Ukraine: bpm’online (Terrasoft) CEO Katherine Kostereva


This is a fascinating story of a Ukrainian entrepreneur bootstrapping her CRM Software company to global scale. We’re thrilled to bring you Katherine Kostereva’s inspiring and super intelligent entrepreneurial journey.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s get going. Where are you from? Where were you born and raised? Let’s go to the very beginning of your personal journey.
Katherine Kostereva: I was born in Ukraine. Since childhood, I’ve been traveling a lot and visited many countries worldwide. I graduated in 1999 with a Bachelors in Computer Science. Shortly after that, I got my MBA. Even from high school, I was obsessed with technology. I was thinking of the ways to transform business through technology. Technology has always attracted me.
Sramana Mitra: Where did you do your Bachelors and MBA.
Katherine Kostereva: I did it in international schools that have offices throughout Europe. I got my MBA through the International School of Management located in Kiev.
Sramana Mitra: After you finished your MBA, what was the next thing that you did?
Katherine Kostereva: I spent about two years working for IBM. I was working in Marketing and PR. That was an amazing experience. I traveled all over the world to the different offices of IBM. I started to work right after I graduated from high school. I was doing door-to-door selling of advertising for newspapers.
I did it when I was 16 to 20 years old. I met 10 new people everyday while trying to sell advertising. After I graduated from the university, I got much better experience in IBM. Frankly the first day of my career, I knew that I would go down the entrepreneurial path. That’s what I did in 2003.
Sramana Mitra: How long did you work at IBM?
Katherine Kostereva: About three years.
Sramana Mitra: What years were those?
Katherine Kostereva: From 2000 to 2003.
Sramana Mitra: Where were you located?
Katherine Kostereva: In Kiev, the Ukraine head office of IBM. I was part of the European marketing team of IBM.

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