Kirk Krappe is an enterprise software veteran who was involved with the first instances of the internet and enterprise applications. He has extensive experience building, marketing, selling and delivering enterprise solutions to worldwide organizations. Krappe founded Apttus on three values: 100 percent customer satisfaction, tier-one everything, and respect for people. He recently spent time to talk about his successful software company, in addition to sharing expert career advice to San Francisco tech students.

(Photo Courtesy of Kirk Krappe)

(Photo Courtesy of Kirk Krappe)

What is your background and education?

“Prior to founding Apttus, I was EVP of Worldwide Markets for I-many, leading sales, marketing and business/international development. Before that, I was CEO of Nextance, a contract management solutions provider, and an SVP with Corio, guiding the application service provider through IPO.

“I launched my career with Bain & Company as a strategy consultant, and with Ford Motor Company as an engineer. I hold a degree in electrical/mechanical engineering from the University of London and an M.B.A. from INSEAD – Europe’s top business school.”

What type of services does Apttus provide?

“Apttus delivers an alternative, significantly better approach for organizations to automate business functions, in a way that maps more closely to their needs of today and tomorrow. Our SaaS solutions enable them to quickly and easily deploy enterprise-class applications, which shepherd the entire sales process – from quoting to billing – through Salesforce. The result: Apttus customers are empowered with complete visibility into their business functions and gain end-to-end management of the process.”

What career advice can you share to tech students?

My advice to students is to defy the institution and find others who have joined the same revolution. If smart, trusted individuals advise you not to try something, that’s when you know you should do it. If it’s simple or easy, someone else has done it already! This is the type of mentality that drives industries and creates entrepreneurial heroes.”

“I was recently asked, ‘Should startups build their businesses based on the success of other startups?’ I think the real question is, ‘What is success based on?’ The reality is that most successful software companies bet their businesses on the success of other software companies, whether by design or default. While there’s always fear of missing the boat, if your business is driven by a vision that’s creating change and expanding value for customers, the potential for mutual success is tremendous.”

Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on