Two college students have created an artificial intelligence-based business and selected Greenville as the place for its headquarters.
Spencer Tate, a senior at Furman University, and Nemath Ahmed, a masters’ student at Georgia Tech, are both co-founders of dotflo, which provides mass personalized research and outbound at scale on potential prospects for growing companies.
In February, Ahmed, who studies artificial intelligence and machine learning, and Tate, who is an economics major, met at a Hackathon at Georgia Tech, created smart AI trash cans together to educate people on how to recycle. One week later, Tate asked Ahmed if he would like to ideate with him. The next month, which was in March, Ahmed and Tate decided to build an analytics company that would serve small and medium-sized businesses. Soon after, they placed first at the Paladin pitch competition at Furman University, winning $10,000 for their data analytics platform in May, said Tate.
They saw early validation from nonprofits that could benefit from the idea that the pair’s company would help them identify the right donors. This past summer, Tate worked at Ernst and Young in the M&A space, while Ahmed worked at Cisco Systems as a software engineer. Tate traveled to San Jose and lived in an Airbnb, he said, with a family who just moved to America from China to work in person with Ahmed before his internship started in Chicago. He immediately flew to Chicago after working in person with Ahmed in San Jose, Calif.
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“For the next three months, we worked on the data analytics platform, talking with a lot of nonprofits that said our product was ‘nice,’” said Tate. “We learned a lot about the industry and came to the realization that we needed to pivot.”
Tate went to visit Ahmed in Atlanta in October, and during that trip, they spoke with a company called Onboard AI, which shared a big pain point — finding information about each prospect and sending personalized emails, Tate said.
“The founder told us if we give him back key points about each person in his prospect list and a tailored email that he could send, he will pay us $200,” said Tate. “At that point, we realized we may be onto something.”
Ahmed and Tate ended up doing the work for Onboard AI and found similar companies just like Onboard AI, growing companies looking to personalize research and emails for their large prospect lists, said Tate.
“We are passionate about leveraging new technology to help everyday growing companies operate efficiently,” he added. “The ability for our tool to find the right links about the prospect on the internet, streamlining the research process. We then leverage AI to help draft personalized messages at scale.”
Now, dotflo has three paying customers after launching just two weeks ago, and many are interested in starting their private beta, said Tate. They raised $50,000 from angel investors in the Greenville area and $50,000 from Jason Calcanis through his LAUNCH.
“We went through Founders University, which was fundamental in fundraising and learning about launching a company from 0 to 1,” said Tate.
They launch their next version on Monday.
“There are a ton of companies who manually spend hours researching potential prospects and sending cold emails,” said Tate. “We want to leverage our technology to help consultant agencies, tech startups, and sales teams.”e