The BizSpark startup of the day is Feeva Technology, based in the US. You will find below an interview with Nitin J. Shah, CEO, Chairman and Co-Founder of Feeva. All the best to them and congrats for being the startup of the day!
Interview with Nitin J. Shah, CEO, Chairman and Co-Founder of Feeva
Tell us who you are and your role in the company:
I am the old grey guy at Feeva, otherwise known as the CEO, Chairman and Co-Founder. I view my responsibility as building and integrating the individuals at Feeva into a coherent fighting machine. What I bring to the position is experience, willingness to make decisions and to move rapidly to outpace our competition, and to satisfy our growing base of customers and partners.
What did you do before creating your company?
I started my career in quantum physics and semiconductors, transitioned to mobile communications, developed products and architectures for Broadband wireless services and networks at Bell Laboratories. I also have experience in spectrum valuation and policy, strategic planning, technology roadmaps and economics/business models for the mobile and broadband industry.
How do you feel being the most promising ‘Startup of the Day’ per Microsoft BizSpark?
We are a small company with a large vision, with potentially profound impact on the media and telecom industries. Being featured in the Microsoft BizSpark program is a privilege, and is a reflection of how our business has matured from concept to reality.
What is your company’s mission?
Feeva aims to be the most reliable trusted distributor of audience intelligence and real-time decisioning data on the web from any broadband or mobile IP network.
How did you get the idea for your company?
There are some obvious problems in telecoms and media that many have tried to solve using existing tools and technology. My cofounder, Jaz Banga, and I focused on the problem of customization of the Internet experience based on the needs of consumers, and this led to our first patent filings in 2005 (now issued US Patent 7,657,594). Professor John Freeman (the late professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of California, Berkeley) was a critical part of the foundation of our company, as he pragmatically guided our initial concepts into a sustainable business model, and helped us define the organizational structure to match the sequence of challenges we would face from inception to first commercial revenues.
Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding? If so, how much?
We are currently seeking financial and strategic investors to fund scaling our business. Our current investors have funded us to get the product and business defined, so our new investors will now be focused on scale and growth.
How many employees do you have? How many developers?
We have 25 employees, and a distinguished cadre of advisors who span telecoms, media and consumer privacy. Roughly 50% of the team is developers and technology experts in scaling, metrics and analytics.
Are you hiring? If yes, what are you hiring and where?
Yes, we are always looking for talented and enthusiastic people in all parts of our organization. One thing you will see from the team is passion and dedication, and camaraderie characterized by rapid communication and cross-functional problem-solving.
Which platform are you building on? Why?
We rely on a mix of technologies such as Microsoft Server and Active Directory and tools from other companies based on what provides the best value and scalability for our needs. We are also evaluating Azure cloud services as we look to scale our infrastructure quickly around the globe.
Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/internet area?
There are numerous opportunities, with a unifying theme of turning complexity into simplicity. The most successful scalable systems transform complex processes and tasks into simple solutions, by encapsulating intellectual property into packages of technology that hide the underlying complexity.
What do you think about the BizSpark Program?
Small companies often expend a lot of energy in building tools and core infrastructure that is neither scalable nor productive. The BizSpark program has helped us to focus on what makes us unique and differentiated, rather than on re-inventing infrastructure. Also, the broad visibility in the industry and the access to expertise that we could not achieve our own is a great asset.
Do you have any advice for young Software entrepreneurs?
I cannot offer advice, but maybe the observation that you often get the best results by mixing innovation with experience, so the most creative teams tend to have a blend of people with a variety of backgrounds and styles.
Who’s your role model?
There are two people who opened my eyes to the art of problem-solving, whose works have influenced my approach to risk-management and complex challenges throughout my career: Jacob Bronowski, author of The Ascent of Man, and Edward de Bono, author of The Use of Lateral Thinking.
What’s the ONE THING you would like readers to take away from this interview?
I hope that the readers see that although solving a complex industry-wide problem may be challenging, it has its rewards, especially when companies like Microsoft are willing to reach out and help as you grow.