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Bootstrapping with Services from Michigan: Amjad Hussain, CEO of (Part 4)

Posted on Friday, Dec 7th 2018

Sramana Mitra: How big is the team in Detroit?

Amjad Hussain: Our total team size, including engineering, data science, and implementations, is a little over 50 people. We do not have any subcontracting or offshoring going on. Since we live in a very competitive and global landscape, we have to work in a very efficient manner. We have found several recipes of how to work together effectively so that we can compete globally.

Sramana Mitra: I have a couple of questions on that. How many customers do you have today?

Amjad Hussain: Because we go deep and wide and have these very long-term customer relationships, total number of customers is not a big list. We have around 20.

Sramana Mitra: What is the average size of each of these?

Amjad Hussain: Our solutions are enterprise class. All these customers are either Global 500 or Fortune 500. We are lucky to have big customers. In terms of the annual revenue potential of these customers, it could be anywhere from half a million to over a million. There are outliers as well both on the lower end and the upper end.

If you are looking for a median point, I would say about half a million. Interestingly enough, since many of our customers are global companies, we work with several divisions and we work with them in several countries.

Sramana Mitra: Are they all retailers?

Amjad Hussain: Our customers are wholesalers or distributors, CPG manufacturers, and retailers. Even though our platform is connected with a lot of retailers in North America, UK, and Europe, most retailers are not our direct customers. They are beneficiary customers of our platform.

Sramana Mitra: Your functional area of expertise is in the inventory warehouse systems?

Amjad Hussain: Yes. Now, we also have expertise in product introduction, assortment planning, and lifecycle management.

Sramana Mitra: How much of all this is productized versus still in the service mode?

Amjad Hussain: Over 90% of our recurring revenues come from a product strategy versus a services strategy. We truly have become a product firm.

Sramana Mitra: I love it. That’s a great business. You are doing it all in Detroit. I love it.

Amjad Hussain: Yes. Because we have to be closer to where the customers are, we have an office in Los Angeles. People in Los Angeles are account managers, product trainers, customer success people, and customer implementation specialists. We also have presence in London for account management, business development, and customer success. All engineering is here in Detroit.

Sramana Mitra: I’m thrilled to hear your story. Do you have anything to add?

Amjad Hussain: In the past three years, we created this platform called Algo. It’s truly an artificial intelligence product where we have created an integrated workflow where humans and software bots can work together. It is based upon this principle that conversation is the new interface as opposed to a traditional software interface. Its interface is more messaging-like. You are telling bots to do certain tasks. That has taken off.

We have combined different natural language generation technologies with big data analytics and some deep learning technologies with a lot of domain expertise into this platform. The platform has the power to generate new platforms as well. It’s like software writing other software. It has contributed a lot to our growth over the past two to three years. It is still in its very early lifecycle. I’m excited beyond belief. That is a subject that I have studied all my life.

Sramana Mitra: You have a very promising company on that. I see it already. Where are you in terms of ARR?

Amjad Hussain: We are north of $10 million. Within 24 months, we are well on our way to double it in ARR. This is all bootstrapped without a single dollar of outside help. I’m not suggesting that we will not take outside private equity or growth capital.

Sramana Mitra: Our philosophy is bootstrap first and raise money later. The options for raising money increases as you deliver real metrics.

Amjad Hussain: At this point, we can choose.

Sramana Mitra: Fabulous. Congratulations. Thank you for your time.

This segment is part 4 in the series : Bootstrapping with Services from Michigan: Amjad Hussain, CEO of
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