On November 16, San Francisco based entrepreneur Thomson Nguyen joined the CEED network virtually to share his experience launching his first startup, Framed Data, a predictive analytics company. As a data scientist, Thomson went to other data scientists with his product and got a lot of traction and positive feedback but wasn’t closing the deal. He quickly realized that the technical people were not always the decision makers so he had to adjust his strategy and identify those in the organizations who had the purchasing power and pitch them on variables, which resonated with them. Rather than focus on the analytics, he focused on the productivity and cost savings his product would provide the company and was able to close deals this way. Being headquartered in San Francisco he knew there were many startups that would benefit from his product he so reach out to this demographic first and as a startup himself he know their pain points and areas where he could help them achieve efficiencies.
He advised the CEED entrepreneurs to talk to as many customers as possible. Often times entrepreneurs become obsessed with their product and have trouble zooming out and thinking about the perspective of the customer but the more you speak to customers the better you can understand their needs and how your product can be a possible solution. Additionally, sales is a numbers game and having a large sales funnel helps you increase your odds of reaching costumers who would benefit from the product. It is not sexy but cold calling and knocking on doors was how he got his company off the ground and it is how he was able to get a clear understanding of his customers’ needs.
After gaining some initial traction Thomson decided to join Y Combinator and got funding from YC, Google Ventures and Idea Bulb Ventures which helped him scale his company. According to Nguyen, outside capital can help you scale your company quickly but isn’t for everyone so think about what your needs are as an entrepreneurs before you default to fund raising. In early 2016, Framed Data was acquired by Square and today Thomson is the Data Science Lead for Square Capital, working on risk and fraud models to deliver capital to sellers and merchants in a fast, fair, and transparent manner. He is also a visiting scholar at the Courant Institute for Mathematical Sciences at New York University, where his research interests lie in risk inference models and malicious behavior. In his free time he advises entrepreneurs and is an angel investor in several data science and IoT startups.
Thomson Nyugen joined CEED via the Ask the Expert webinar series which is a quarterly series hosted by CEED Global which brings industry experts and investors to the global CEED network to share insights and trends for the benefit of the CEED entrepreneurs.