by Jesse Pujji — September 12, 2018
The Sikh spirit of ‘Chardi kala’ (a mental state of maintaining eternal optimism and joy) always inspired me as I faced challenges setting up my business.
Tell us about yourself, your childhood- I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri with my two brothers attending Sikh camps and learning entrepreneurship skills from my father. I spent my childhood with a very diverse group of friends educating them about Sikh values and my turban.
Were your friends curious to know about your turban, how did you explain your Sikh identity to your friends? – I explained it to my friends in school through very creative and fun activities like tying turbans. Especially after 9/11, I was featured in publications talking about how Sikh values of equality and freedom are similar to American values.
What does your turban mean to you? – My turban is a very positive and powerful part of my identity. It always makes me stand out from the crowd and people never forgot me because of my turban. I like the discipline associated with turban tying.
Which Sikh values have inspired you the most? – I co-founded Ampush (a digital and growth marketing firm) in the middle of the financial crisis in 2010. The Sikh spirit of ‘Chardi kala’ (a mental state of maintaining eternal optimism and joy) always inspired me as I faced challenges setting up my business. The Sikh core values of working hard, being fair, ethical and humble have always guided me personally and professionally.
Tell us more about Ampush? – At Ampush we partner with high-growth companies and F500 brands to build and execute marketing strategies that grow revenue and acquire customers at scale. Ampush leverages proprietary, purpose-built technology to optimize the entire marketing funnel, from impression to paying customer. We are preferred partners of Facebook, Google and virtually all major digital ad platforms. Some of Ampush's partners include Supercell, Uber and Esurance.
What do you like to do in your free time? – I like spending time with my family, my 3 year old son and 17 months old daughter. I also like traveling and watching St. Louis Cardinals baseball.
A little bit more about Jesse - Prior to founding Ampush, Jesse was an investment professional at Goldman Sachs. In that role, he made $10m to $50m investments in public and private companies in the auto, education, and new media industries. Before Goldman, Jesse worked as a consultant at McKinsey & Company in New York and Dubai focusing on the internet media, eCommerce and telecom industries He is commonly quoted in major business and start-up publications like Inc., Venture Beat, Tech Crunch, etc.