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From Solo Techie Entrepreneur to High Growth, Profitable Enterprise AI Success Story: Findability Sciences CEO Anand Mahurkar (Part 2)

Posted on Tuesday, Jun 21st 2022

Sramana Mitra: In launching this company, did you bootstrap? How did you get the company off the ground?

Anand Mahurkar: It was bootstrapped. I had a $10,000 bank account. Probably we are the only enterprise AI company that is profitable and revenue-making with no debt. I bootstrapped all these years. I got my first customer six months after starting the business.

Sramana Mitra: You wrote the software and you sold the software?

Anand Mahurkar: I got a contractor to help me. I was trying to look for business. Today, I write the product specifications and guide the development team. I got a contractor here. I started building the core and started selling. I’d started alone.

Sramana Mitra: Did you sell to the unhappy customer?

Anand Mahurkar: I didn’t go there. One of my former customers from United Way said, “I haven’t heard from you. That means you must be working on something.” She called me for a cup of coffee and I explained to her I was working on something. She said, “This is exactly my problem.” I got dragged into non-profits for a few years. I was dreaming big that all 1,400 of United Way would all be my customers. I realized that their budgets are very small and I don’t possess the domain knowledge. I didn’t visit my former customers in the commercial area. Subsequently, I steered the ship into the commercial business.

Sramana Mitra: United Way is a big company. What revenue level did you reach with them?

Anand Mahurkar: United Way is a big company, but they have independent chapters. Therefore, they have less budget. On average, we made about $150,000 to $200,000 per chapter.

Sramana Mitra: How many of those did you do?

Anand Mahurkar: Twelve.

Sramana Mitra: That’s very good seed capital.

Anand Mahurkar: It was. I was introduced by IBM to Softbank. In 2015, IBM signed an exclusive deal with Softbank to market Watson in Japan. At the same time, my platform moved to IBM cloud. One of my challenges was that the corporates were not resting and hosting this platform in the cloud. IBM has better corporate comfort. We moved from Rackspace to IBM. That led us to the Softbank introduction.

Softbank was looking at our technology and they wanted to distribute our technology to Japanese companies headquartered in America. They became a distributor. They got a couple of customers for us. The Softbank management taught that this technology can be taken to Japan. They invited me to come to Tokyo. They said, “Can we form a joint venture?”

I thought this is a Japanese translation issue. How can such a large corporation offer a joint venture to a small company? I was excited. After due diligence, their team gave feedback to the management that this company is not only worthy of a joint venture, but they should also invest. I had not gone to anybody for funds. I said I don’t need money. I just needed help for marketing. They pushed back saying that it will help grow the company. I agreed. I got $7 million in Series A.

This segment is part 2 in the series : From Solo Techie Entrepreneur to High Growth, Profitable Enterprise AI Success Story: Findability Sciences CEO Anand Mahurkar
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