Posted on Friday, Apr 1st 2022
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Evenica CEO Sadek Ali has built an e-commerce platform company for the mid-market within the Microsoft ecosystem. Read on to learn more.
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? Sadek Ali: I was born in Canada. I grew up there. Most of my adult life has been spent here. Sramana Mitra: Where in Canada? Sadek Ali: Just outside of Toronto in a town called London, Ontario. Sramana Mitra: What about education? Sadek Ali: I finished my doctoral work a few years ago. I’m from an academic family. I first started programming when I was eight years old. I was using a Ti-55 calculator. I had transcribed a football game onto this little scientific calculator. Sramana Mitra: You majored in computer science? Sadek Ali: I started out in electrical engineering. I then did systems design engineering for my masters. In my doctoral, I was in industrial engineering at the University of Toronto. I had deviated a lot from the electrical roots. Sramana Mitra: That was in Canada as well? Sadek Ali: Yes. I went to the University of Waterloo for my undergrad and masters. Then I did my doctorate at the University of Toronto. Sramana Mitra: What happens after that? Sadek Ali: It was a long journey. I started my undergrad in 19990. During my undergrad, I was in co-op. I worked with some large companies. I didn’t get great grades. I wasn’t a fantastic student. I didn’t really value programming because it was a part of my day-to-day existence.
When I got into the workforce as a co-op, I was given this latitude to explore programming and automation. In my first four months at IBM, I was able to save them about $350,000. I had a testing gig on a C compiler. I automated all of the tests. In that group, I had the highest number of bugs found for that quarter. I did it because it made my job easier.
I went to Ericsson. I was programming during the evenings just to play around with their new libraries. I developed this thing that allowed you to port between two databases. At that time, the internet lines were all phone lines. You dial up on a modem and you hear that buzzy noise. The technology that I had produced was a way of taking these huge databases and getting them to be transportable and converted over phone lines. They adopted it and used it to port 120,000 developers across 10 countries from Oracle to Informix because it was the only tool they could find.
Little did I know that it was worth a ton of money. When I got out of my undergrad, I had to make a choice. As I mentioned, I wasn’t good at interviews. I just thought, “I’m going to do something on my own.”
Sramana Mitra: What year was that? Sadek Ali: That was in 1995. The choice was made for me in another sense. Another important part of my life is my family. My parents had gotten into a major car crash. Both of them were laid up in 1996. My dad didn’t tell me that they were as injured. I came home one day and I just realized that there were some serious problems and that my parents needed me.
I needed the flexibility of a business. I literally went door-to-door from startup to startup saying, “I’m really good at automation and big data.” I got my first break. I learned a really important lesson. You need one break. You’re going to go through tons of rejections.
Sramana Mitra: You need one yes. Sadek Ali: That yes doesn’t have to be that big. It doesn’t have to be life-changing.
Our conversation continues
here. This segment is a part in the series : Best of Bootstrapping . Bootstrapping to an Exit . Why is Bootstrapping Important? . How Can You Play this Low-Probability Game Intelligently? . Do NOT Go to VCs as Beggars - Go as Kings . Excess is NOT Required for Success . Bootstrap First and Raise Money Later . Some Bootstrapping to Exit Case Studies . The Buy Side of Bootstrapping to an Exit . Blitzscaling vs. Bootstrapping . Bootstrapping to Unicorns More »» . Cinedigm Acquires Bootstrapped 1Mby1M Company Future Today for $60 Million . Mailchimp Bootstraps to $600M Revenue . Bootstrapping from Arizona to $10 Million . Bootstrapped Basecamp Executes a No Nonsense Strategy . How Under30Experiences Bootstrapped to $5 Million . Bootstrapping with a Paycheck . How Algo.ai CEO Amjad Hussain Bootstrapped using Services from Michigan . Seed Investors Who Like Bootstrapped Businesses . How iHeartRaves CEO Bootstrapped a Niche e-Commerce Company to $20 Million . Bootstrapping with Services . How The Intern Group CEO David Lloyd Bootstrapped to $13 Million . How Passageways CEO Paroon Chadha Bootstrapped from Indiana . How SmartBuyGlasses CEO David Menning Bootstrapped to $50 Million . Death by Overfunding . How RainmakerForce CEO Mack Sundaram Bootstrapped Decisively to $5 Million+ . How FormAssembly CEO Bootstrapped a Virtual Company with a Paycheck . TimeSlips CEO Mitch Russo Bootstrapped to Exit with Sage . The VC-Entrepreneur Compensation Disbalance . BioConnect CEO Bootstraps with Sophisticated Strategic Maneuvering . Tremend CEO Marius Hanganu Bootstraps from Romania . Gesture CEO Jim Alvarez Bootstraps to $10 Million . SproutLoud CEO Bootstraps to $30 Million from Florida . Tuft & Needle CEO Bootstraps to Over $100 Million . Co-founders Bootstrap Linguamatics to Over $10M from the UK . Ownership Matters . Vainu Co-founder Mikko Honkanen Bootstraps from Finland . Entrepreneur Couple Bootstraps to $10M from Colorado . Power2Motivate CEO Bootstraps to $80M from Canada . Financial DNA CEO Bootstraps to $10M+ from Australia . Big Barker CEO Bootstraps a Niche E-commerce Brand . PrecisionLender CEO Bootstraps to Over $10M from North Carolina . Master Bootstrappers with Over $1B in Exits . Ultra Mobile Founder Bootstraps to Over $100 Million . Bootstrapping a Two-Sided Marketplace to $10M . Can You Bootstrap a Virtual Company to Over $5 Million? . Capital Efficient Entrepreneurs Turn $1M into $80M . Discussing the Journey Through Failure to Success . From a Small Town to $12 Million . Bootstrapping to Y Combinator and $10 Million Series A . Bootstrapping a Marketplace to Over $10 Million . Freightwise Bootstraps to $33 Million . Bootstraps First to $5M ARR, Raises $10M Later . Bootstraps in Europe, Raises Money and Goes Global in the US . English Major Bootstraps a Tech Company . Bootstraps with a Paycheck to $15M from Tennessee . Queue-It Bootstraps from Denmark to the US . 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Bay Dynamics Co-founders Bootstrapped Using Services . Building an AI Software Company from Dallas . RJMetrics Co-founders Bootstrapped First, Raised $22M Later . Bootstrapping Niche E-Commerce Business BuyAutoParts to Exit . TemplateMonster was Bootstrapped to $15 Million . Bootstrapping Edge Hosting to $18 Million . Bootstrapping, Fund Raising and Exiting with Sefaira . Bootstrapping IdeaScale to $5M from Scratch . Bootstrapping to $10M from Finland . Happy Grasshopper CEO Dan Stewart Bootstrapped to Inflection . Bootstrapping Gravity Pro Using Services . Founder Builds Multiple Bootstrapped Education Software Companies . Bootstrapping to $10M from Australia, Raising $25M from the US . Bootstrapped Y Soft to $30M from the Czech Republic . Bootstrapped from Belarus, Raised Money from Silicon Valley . Bootstrapped SproutLoud to $30M from Florida . Bootstrapped 2600Hz Using Services . A Serial Bootstrapping Entrepreneur’s Journey . 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Bootstrapping The Intern Group to $13M . Bootstrapping OnBoard from the US Midwest . Bootstrapping SmartBuyGlasses to $50M . Startup Deaths by Overfunding . Bootstrapping RainmakerForce Decisively to $5M+ . Bootstrapping a Virtual Company with a Paycheck . The Entrepreneur - VC Compensation Disbalance . Mitch Russo Bootstrapped Timeslips to Exit with Sage . Bootstrapping with Sophisticated Strategic Maneuvering . How Ownership Matters . Bootstrapping with Services from Romania to over $5M . Bootstrapping to $30M from Florida . Bootstrapping Tuft & Needle to Over $100M . Bootstrapping Linguamatics to Over $10M from the UK . Co-founders Bootstrap a SaaS Company from Finland . Entrepreneur Couple Bootstrapped to $10M from Colorado . Bootstrapping Power2Motivate to $80M from Canada . Founder Bootstrapped to Over $10M from Australia . Bootstrapping Niche E-commerce Brand Big Barker . PrecisionLender Bootstrapped to Over $10M from North Carolina . Master Bootstrappers with $1+ Billion in Exits . Bootstrapped Ultra Mobile to Over $100 Million . Bootstrapping a 2-Sided Marketplace to $10M