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Micha Benoliel's Open Garden

Buddy, Can You Spare Some Bandwidth?
Micha Benoliel's Open Garden
Photograph by Mathew Scott for Bloomberg Businessweek

When Micha Benoliel was an MBA student in France in his 20s, he studied abroad in San Francisco for six months. One day he walked into the headquarters of Gap to offer his services. He schmoozed a staffer and talked his way into the appointment book of then-Chief Executive Officer Mickey Drexler. “This could only happen in America,” says Benoliel, now 40. “This is the place you can change the world from.”

The meeting never happened—Drexler couldn’t sit down before Benoliel had to return to France—but Benoliel’s appreciation for the can-do attitude stuck. After spending much of his post-MBA career traveling the world, first as a salesman for a sporting goods company and then running his own programmer-for-hire business, he has landed back in the Bay Area as co-founder and CEO of Open Garden.