Emerging Prairie enjoys interviewing and boasting about the Fargo area’s new businesses, especially ones in their infancies. This time, the partners of ZulaFly were in the hot seat to show our readers what they do and where the startup is heading.
Founded only a couple months ago and backed by a private investor, ZulaFly is planning to break into the broad field of data analysis and visualization to help organizations in many different industries make better management decisions. It is an exciting time for this entity as the partners build their infrastructure and begin taking on clients. Located in Fargo, ZulaFly is yet another example of the overall community’s entrepreneurial spirit.
Read the interview below to learn more from this budding organization.
EP: If you had to give a quick pitch on ZulaFly, how would you describe the organization?
Like many companies in the market today, we collect and aggregate data, and then provide the end user numerous options on what they want to do with the data and how they want to see it. ZulaFly is non-industry specific, making our software solution a fit for anyone. We can send out information based on data collected, and we can provide customized dashboard views.
EP: How are you funding your business (bootstrapping, friends and family, investors, etc.)?
We are funded through a private investor that is very excited to work with us and understands the opportunities and growth potential of ZulaFly. When creating your own platform and software solution from the ground floor, having support and backing provides unlimited opportunities of where we can go from here.
EP: Does your business have employees outside of the four partners?
Currently we do not. The four of us each bring a different skill set and expertise that we understood we needed to not only get the business off the ground, but also hit the ground running. Being a startup, we don’t have bandwidth to essentially double up on responsibilities or have any unnecessary overhead. We have had interest from others wanting to join ZulaFly when we are ready to hire, though!
EP: Do you have customers currently? Or what projects are you working on?
Since we are creating our own platform and software solution from scratch, and realizing the time it takes to do that, we do not have any customers as of yet. We have had tremendous interest and groups are reaching out to us all the time to learn more about what we are doing. Our focus is building a solid product with great mobility enhancements and great dashboards.
EP: How does ZulaFly compete with other data visualization organizations that are more industry-specific? (E.g., SwipeSense)
I really like this question because this is one that we seem to get often in one form or another. We have a vision of what our ideal solution will look like so that it can be easily used by anyone, in any industry. Based on the needs of the customer, we may or may not be a fit, and part of our job is to make sure the customer picks the right solution for them. There are many companies offering some of the features that we have, but we are also confident that our value add is very different compared to other offerings. At the end of the day, we are not about making a sale to make a sale. Customers also become your friends, and in order for that relationship to work, everyone needs to be comfortable that they have the solution in place that is right for their business to grow and be successful. We are also in a very exciting position to quickly add new features to our solution based on request.
Also, SwipeSense is a good example of a ‘go-to solution’ for a specific niche in the market. Our software will have the ability to take data from SwipeSense, and other niche or solution specific software, and provide a global view of all of their data, view trends, and run rules on conditions across multiple vendors’ data.
EP: Where would you like to see your business in 5 years?
Having fun! We hope to have employees still excited and passionate about working at ZulaFly, challenging everyone to think outside of the box, along with partners and customers that we have great, successful relationships with. Our goal is to create a solution that makes someone’s job better and easier.
EP: Why did you choose to start your business in the FM area?
We chose FM because not only is there where we all live, but this is where we all have roots and connections. Learning to navigate the business aspect of a startup is different than being just an employee, and having access to those resources is vital to our success.
EP: What would you like to see happen in the Red River Valley startup community in the future?
Continue to embrace and welcome new start-up companies in the community. Each company has something different and unique to offer to the market. It is critical that the Red River Valley provides support to these companies to keep them in our area. It is often too easy for a company to want to relocate due to hiring difficulties or lack of support.
EP: What can the startup community of Fargo do to help ZulaFly?
We want to see speakers and panels in the community that bring individuals with many years of successful entrepreneurship under their belt. Based on their in-depth experience, they can provide helpful do’s, don’ts, and how-to’s, along with transparent Q&A sessions. We would like to hear what’s happening outside of FM to gain a different perspective, although we realize this may be more challenging.