Q&A With Thinkspace Startup: Donuts Inc.

Thinkspace is home to several startups, all with incredibly unique stories to tell. This week, I had a chance to talk with Paul Stahura, CEO and Co-Founder of Donuts Inc.– just one of many of the startups that call thinkspace home. Here’s a little bit more about this up-and-coming company and Paul’s advice for other entrepreneurs.

What is Donuts, and what do you do?
Paul: Donuts is in the Internet domain name business. This time next year, the web addresses you type into your browser won’t be just “cnn.com” or “battle.net”. The string of characters after the dot, which is known of as a top-level domain (or TLD), will include hundreds of new options, like .APP, .PIZZA, .NEWS, .INSURANCE, .DENTIST, .MUSIC, etc. Donuts has applied for hundreds of these new TLDs.

How did Donuts start?
Paul: It was founded by four industry colleagues who decided to team up, organize a new company, and make an assertive effort to really expand Internet naming. We incorporated formally in 2010, raised a lot of funding, and are in the process of securing our applied-for TLDs.

Who is on the Donuts team?
Paul Stahura, CEO and Co-Founder
Richard Tindal, COO and Co-Founder
Jon Nevett, EVP Business Affairs and Co-Founder
Dan Schindler, EVP Sales & Marketing and Co-Founder
Mason Cole, VP Communications & Industry Relations
Kevin Wilson, CFO
Alvaro Alvarez, VP and General Counsel
Stella Luu, Research Associate

How much funding have you raised, and from whom?
Paul: Well over $100 million from multi-billion dollar investment funds. Donuts is backed by Austin Ventures, Adams Street Partners, Emergence Capital Partners, TL Ventures, Generation Partners, and Comerica Bank.

What is the most challenging thing about being an entrepreneur?
Paul: The most challenging is also the best part about it…no two days are the same. You have to be very well prepared, learn all you can, and run hard at the opportunity. You never know sometimes what’s around the bend.

If there was one thing you could have done differently, what would it have been?
Paul: Career-wise? I’ve been pretty blessed. When I left school, I was interested in robotics, engineering, new ideas and invention. I still am. But I’m happy to be doing what I am with Donuts.

What advice do you have for others thinking about building a startup of their own?
Paul: Learn everything about your market you can first, and then create the solution to the market’s pain. Too many entrepreneurs get that backwards.

What’s your favorite thing about being part of the thinkspace community?
Paul: Well, we’re new here so we’re still getting to know everyone. It’s a great space that encourages creativity.

Anything else you’d like to share?
Paul: Follow us on Twitter (@donutsinc) and watch for updates. There are lots of new and interesting domain names soon to come.

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