We’re seeing the trend everywhere – companies building significant revenue and market reach with very few employees. Car Part Kings is approaching $10 million in revenue with 14 employees. Of course, WhatsApp’s $19 billion valuation with 32 employees is an extreme example of this trend.
Sramana: Michael, let’s start at the beginning of your story. Where are you from? What kind of circumstances were you raised in?
Michael Dash: I was born in New York. I was raised in New York for half of my life before moving to the suburbs in Long Island. I went to high school in Long Island and then went to College at Tulane in New Orleans. I finished college in 2004 and then I got into real estate. I did real estate for 5 years and worked in financing, construction, project management, and all the phases of real estate you can imagine.
It really did not catch my interest and it was not something that I fell in love with. Soon after that, I joined a friend of mine who was starting a technology-based company. It was new and was not funded yet. We built it from the ground up.
Sramana: What was the company about? What was it trying to do?
Michael Dash: It was providing health care technology to hospitals. We were bringing video on demand services into hospitals. It was similar to how Virgin brought the infotainment system onto airplanes, we brought that type of system into hospitals. We enabled patients to Skype with family members, watch movies, watch TV, and have VoIP sessions with other doctors. We enabled all of this with a flat panel TV screen that was germ resistant and came on an articulating arm on the hospital bed.
I worked with a couple of friends on that business for three years until we sold out of that company.
Sramana: How big did that company get?
Michael Dash: We bootstrapped the whole thing and we raised very little money. We worked for three years without pay and got into four different hospitals. We went to raise financing during the financial collapse. Nobody wanted to give us money and the few that were willing to give us money wanted 80% to 90% of the company.
It did not make much sense for us to raise money so we figured that it would make more sense to sell the company to another company in the same space that had similar technology and was based in Ireland. We sold the company to them and made out well enough for us to go out and start a new company. Myself and one other person from that company then started an e-commerce company.