FusionOps was ahead of its time. Founded in 2005, the company has only recently found its groove with the AI wave. Focused on the supply chain area, they are doing some very cool stuff with Cloud, Big Data, and AI.
Sramana Mitra: Tell us about the company and yourself.
Shariq Mansoor: FusionOps is focused on the supply chain. We started in 2005. At that time, we had a vision and we still have the same vision. We believe that data is going to change things. At that time, cloud was just emerging. We were a little early in the space.
Sramana Mitra: You had to sell cloud.
Shariq Mansoor: Yes. It is as if you’re going surfing. Whatever you do, you are not able to clear the wave. The wave has to be cleared from the outside, but that’s beyond FusionOps’ control. Think of it as a crystal ball. You’re looking at it and saying, “This is how we believe that the market is going to be.”
Sramana Mitra: But the market is not ready.
Shariq Mansoor: The market was not ready but it was gearing towards that. That was a good sign. That’s why our angel investors and everybody who was with us believed in FusionOps. One of our biggest differentiation has been in saying, “The whole BI market was done through tools. It should not be the case. Why don’t we give you application and intelligence?”
For that, you have to focus on specific areas. You cannot be general-purpose. We focused on the supply chain. Why supply chain? Supply chain is one of the most complex areas. Because of Amazon’s dominance, some of the market players are getting squeezed, and it’s going to change the way companies operate.
Sramana Mitra: How they deliver 50-cent things in one day for free.
Shariq Mansoor: You can buy this recorder from Amazon, and 50 other companies will be selling the same thing. Amazon is going to run all the other 50 companies out of business. How are they going to do it? It’s through the supply chain. Supply chain has started becoming the center of the company. How are we going to help those companies? How can we use the data to do it? That’s where we focus.
Then cloud computing started picking up. When you talk to people about cloud computing, the first thing that comes to their minds is that they can move the server. The biggest advantage is the elastic nature of computing and the ability to eliminate the compute limits on the data. AI has been around for the past 15 to 20 years, but people have just started talking about it.
Sramana Mitra: I did two AI startups in the 90’s. It was too early.
Shariq Mansoor: It was not mainstream then. Today, we are at the intersection of cloud, Big Data, and AI. That’s where we’re focusing.