Sramana Mitra: Is there a convenient way to get the database of all the private jets’ flights just like an online travel agency for commercial flights can access such a database? Is there an equivalent of that database available somewhere or did you have to create that?
Jonny Nicol: I had to build it from the ground up.
Sramana Mitra: That is one of the key differentiated value that you created.
Jonny Nicol: That’s correct. It was highly fragmented, and it was very difficult to get all the data needed. So we had to build it. It took me four and a half years. I never heard of R&D taking so long. It was brutal. There were two big challenges. >>>
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According to a report by IBISWorld, the US jewelry store industry is estimated to have grown 1.2% annually through the years 2011 to 2016 to be worth $35 billion in 2016. The industry is expected to grow at a modest 0.4% annually through till 2021, primarily due to the decline in precious metal cost over the years. But decelerating growth rates do not seem to bother the new member of the Billion Dollar Unicorn brigade Kendra Scott.
Daniel Scandian: We realized that that process was the same that should work in Brazil. Of course, the software was a little bit different, but the workflow was quite the same. We were lucky for them to open to us. We went to Brazil and started building a software. The Brazilian market is much more complicated than the US market. We started to build our software in the beginning of 2013.
We thought that we could finish the first phase of the software in a year and a half. It actually took more time. It took us three and a half years to finish building the software. That period of time was very difficult to explain to our investors as to what was going on. We were asking for more money to finish. That was real complicated.
Sramana Mitra: They weren’t sure you knew what you were doing.
Daniel Scandian: Yes. We convinced them to make another investment in the company.
Sramana Mitra: What happens next?
Jonny Nicol: I got a one-year work clause where I was still on-call and working, but, in reality, I was not going to work. Instead, I used my pilot license which I got from the military to do some freelance piloting. I had three jobs. I was an air display pilot, air ferry pilot, and I flew private jets. That was the birth of my current company. I realized that there was an opportunity, not just to make it easier for rich people to book a private jet, but also to change the way people travel.
Sramana Mitra: How did you get this company off the ground? >>>
According to IDC, the worldwide converged systems market grew 12.1% to $2.9 billion in Q2 2016. Hyperconverged sales grew 137.5% to $480.62 million or 16.2% of the converged systems market. Riding on this hypergrowth, SimpliVity entered the Billion Dollar Unicorn Club and was recently acquired by HPE. >>>
Sramana Mitra: You were almost like a solo entrepreneur with your brother helping you out.
Daniel Scandian: Yes. My brother took care of the company while I looked for investors. Then I had to talk to some investors in Brazil. In 10 months, I had a very nice investor from Brazil and from Argentina. I was also lucky to get help from Boston. Both the CEO and Founder of the two biggest companies that were in home improvement came in. In the middle of 2012, we got $4 million investment.