The Startup Story Of Mu Sigma And Dhiraj Rajaram

Whoever thought a novel idea could be transformed into a multi-million dollar business venture in less than half a decade? Well, to one Dhiraj C Rajam, that’s a possibility because it’s exactly how he started his now world-famous Mu Sigma business analytics company.

To Mr. Dhiraj, becoming a businessman, let alone a successful one, was one of the last things he ever thought he would be. Prior to starting Mu Sigma in 2004, all he was interested in was to learn and innovate new things in the field of business information technology, without the knowledge that what he was cooking was the perfect recipe for a global entrepreneurial phenomenon.

The name of the company derives from the Greek letters ‘μ’ and ‘σ’ which are used for the abbreviation of the mean and standard deviation in statistics. Dhitaj founded the company in 2004, in the United States, when he was just 30 years old. Previously he worked as a consultant in PricewaterhouseCoopers and Booz Allen Hamilton. In 2008, the company received its first round of funding of $30 million, from FTV Capital. The company mainly provides marketing analytics services that help businesses make decisions based on well researched statistical data.

Dhiraj Rajaram

Dhiraj Rajaram – a picture from the site of the company –

Even with bigger companies such as Accenture and IBM already in the industry and established prior to Mu Sigma’s startup, nothing seemed to stop Dhiraj from chasing his new dream. The beginning of the venture was humble but as the old adage would have it, the machine comes second to the brain behind it, because Dhiraj seemed to have projected the outcome of his plans before making the first step. While other companies would have business analysis and programming done by different people, Mu Sigma applied a totally different approach of recruiting all-rounded individuals called decision scientists (skilled in programming, professional analysis, and applied mathematics). This innovation was the critical ingredient that gave to Mu-Sigma and its founder the competitive advantage that made him successful. What’s the lesson here? There is always a way to improve an existing process or technology. And big companies are usually not so good at finding it…

This is how Dhiraj advertises their company on their website:

Business Analytics Consultants? Mathematicians? Software Company?
Truth is, we're all of the above. We are Art, plus Science, done at Scale, Implemented as One.

According to Mr. Dhiraj, finding people with all of these skills was not that easy, especially for his then grassroots venture. But once the company started attracting customers and the right personnel, his journey to the entrepreneurial summit hasn’t taken a break, and he is yet to find his comfort zone.

Today Mu Sigma has around 3 500 employees and around $250 million in revenue. Some investors value the private company as much as $7 billion. Today, the founder of the business Dhiraj C Rajam is 39 and owns a 49% stake in the company.

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