Philippe has turned ~$300k of friends and family investment into a $6.5 million ARR business. Read on to learn how.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?
Philippe d’Offay: I’m from the Seychelles Island. I was born in South Africa when my dad was going to veterinary school. My grandfather was the only private physician in Seychelles. My story goes way back to the conversations he had with my father about how medicine is changing and that it might not be a good thing for him to get into. He suggested that my dad become a veterinarian.
I had a similar conversation with my dad where he recommended that I become neither a veterinarian nor a doctor. The industry kept changing and has continued to keep changing. I had no interest in healthcare. I did feel, from a very early age, that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. It’s one of my first memories as a kid. I grew up until I was eight years old in the Seychelles and then moved to the United States. I’ve lived all over the states.
My family settled in Oklahoma and that’s where I went to school. When I graduated from Oklahoma State University, I flew to Paris the next day. That led to my career as a consultant. I had an educational background of a Mechanical Engineer. I got into consulting helping companies through business process reengineering, which I’m sure you’re extremely familiar with. I noticed that you did some consulting with SAP.
Sramana Mitra: I actually have my own consulting practice. I consulted with more than 80 companies for about 10 years after my third company.
Philippe d’Offay: As a consultant at Deloitte, I was an Oracle enterprise software expert. I started business process reengineering, which essentially meant that I would go into these companies and look at their processes and try to figure out how I could improve them. The main vehicle for the improving was through Oracle financials and Oracle manufacturing.
As I was working at Deloitte, I started thinking about what I was going to do. I was obsessed on it for a long period of time. When I was first taught the 80/20 rule, it was one of those things that I looked back on and I remember that was impactful. It rewired my brain for some reason. As a consulting firm, we would do just that. We would help companies meet 80% of their operational efficiency improvement needs. I did that over and over again for different companies.
Eventually, I just started asking myself, “What about the 20%?” There’s no off-the-shelf solution for 20% of the problems. At Deloitte, we would address those through labor. We’d say, “Let’s figure out how to create an efficient manual process here.” That was the seed of a consulting company that I started looking for gaps in business and then developing premium software and services to fill those gaps. I felt like that would be a pretty good business to get into. That gets me from birth to before I started PMD.
Sramana Mitra: What year does that bring us up to?
Philippe d’Offay: 1998.
Sramana Mitra: Where were you based during this period?
Philippe d’Offay: I moved around quite a bit. I ended up in Atlanta. That’s where I started PMD.