Today we’d like to introduce you to Scott Harper.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
It started on October 2010 with a phone call. “We just quit our jobs,”. I was on the phone with my wife, seven months pregnant with our first child. “We’re going to have a beer and figure out what’s next.”
The “we” was myself and Mark Haidar, my co-worker and friend. Both Mark and I shared big aspirations and an even bigger work ethic. And we were both bursting with ideas for excellent, world-changing technology products. One afternoon we decided we had had enough and decided to quit. That’s when I called my wife.
From that point, we scraped together all we could afford to take that first step – $25 apiece, to incorporate our new company. We set up shop in Mark’s mother-in-law’s garage, and Dialexa was born.
Our vision was, and still is, to make Dialexa a company that could bring engineering, design, and purpose together into the delicate balance that created world-class tech products. We strongly believed that these days, every company is a technology company whether they know it or not.
We asked ourselves – what if we started a new kind of company, a services company that put the product development horsepower of Google and Apple into our clients’ hands? That’s where Dialexa would start, develop a repeatable model of innovation for our clients, and eventually spin off Dialexa’s own companies and products along that same model.
Dialexa was on a mission to make every company a great technology company.
Fast-forward to 2017 and the risks, the struggle, getting knocked down and back up, again and again: it has all been worth it. Mark is running one of Dialexa’s sister companies – Vinli; and the entire team here have built Dialexa to be a world-class technology research, design, and creation firm. We partner with funded startups and larger organizations who are looking to digitally transformation their industries and create new categories to grow into.
In the past year, I was truly honored to be recognized along with Mark by Ernst & Young with the EY Emerging Technology Entrepreneurs Of The Year® 2016 Southwest Award.
This awards program identifies those who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance, and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. In that same year Dialexa was also recognized by Entrepreneur.com as one of the top entrepreneurial companies in America.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has definitely been a journey, and as with any start-up and growing business it has its ups and downs. You just need to believe what you are creating is the right thing, and that there is a place for your business in the marketplace. A couple of scenarios where we experienced unplanned challenges include:
In mid-2012 came a breakthrough we’d been waiting for. Dialexa won a $3 million services contract. We got to build the team we’d always dreamed of, hand-picking A-players across disciplines. This included the acquisition of the award-winning mobile design boutique 39 Argyle in 2012.
Then disaster struck. Months into the project, one week before the first major payment of $750,000 was due, the client’s funding fell through. Dialexa would never see that payment, or any further payments, for the contract.
Again, the conventional wisdom was clear. Lay off the additional staff. Scale back expenses. Pare operations down to a minimum. And again, we ignored the safe route and took a leap into the unknown.
Instead of layoffs, Mark and I took ourselves off the payroll – without telling the staff. They all had jobs to focus on. They didn’t need to be worrying about the health of the company.
Where a conventional CEO would have said “Give up,” we told ourselves “Dig deeper.” We shrugged it off, rallied the staff’s morale, and hit the streets. We kept selling.
Before long, all this work bore fruit. Dialexa won a major contract over deep-pocketed Fortune 500 industry giants like Accenture. This made some waves in industry circles, bringing more contracts to follow.
Another challenge we faced was in 2014 when we brought in an “industry veteran” to help with sales at Dialexa. He seemed like the perfect fit. He had been an executive, he spun yarns about how he’d sold $100 million deals to the biggest companies in the industry. He came highly recommended by people Mark and Scott trusted. Finally, we could leave selling Dialexa’s services to an expert. After all the years of struggle, it seemed too good to be true…
And it was. In six months, the guy didn’t sell a single meaningful deal. One more punch in the gut that we had to deal with.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Dialexa story. Tell us more about the business.
Simply put, Dialexa is in the business of research, design, and creation – the types of services we provide include technology strategy, user research, iterative design and custom software and hardware engineering.
We have extensive experience working with brands looking to digitally transform their business operations and customer experiences through custom product and platform engineering.
Ultimately, we are brought in when the client sees they are not building differentiation or gaining a competitive advantage, from third party solutions (we are not your traditional IT firms who implement ERP, CRM, COTS). We believe in bending technology to differentiate your business, not bending (i.e. changing) what is special about your business because of the technology you use.
Our clients include both enterprise organizations like Sabre, Cox Automotive (Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book, etc), JLL, as well as venture backed early stage companies like Flexdrive, Silvercar and Parkhub.
We believe there are a few of key things that sets us apart within the industry:
1) End-to-end product development: It all starts with the idea. We take that idea and explore it, germinate it, grow it, design it, and build everything that idea needs to become a reality.
2) Interdisciplinary teams: We do not offshore or nearshore like a lot of technology firms, instead we build centralized multi-disciplinary teams based in our Dallas offices around the client’s project to deliver an integrated approach across research & design, engineering, project management and quality assurance.
3) Blue collar consultancy: We don’t just define a technology or product roadmap for our client’s organization and then leave them to figure out how to execute against it, we roll-up our sleeves and work with them to deliver against the plan.
What are your plans for the future? What are you looking forward to or planning for – any big changes?
We’re laser focused on delivering custom technologies solutions and strategies that give our clients the edge in defining their verticals. Our goal is to empower many more companies to become world class technology companies. We don’t have any major changes on the horizon but I am very much looking forward to rapidly growing our team and client base. Ideally we’ll begin working on another labs company in 2017 as well. Stay tuned.
- Address: Dialexa
315 S. Cesar Chavez Blvd., Suite A-S
Dallas, TX 75201 United States
- Website: https://www.dialexa.com/
- Phone: Contact Us Press Kit PHONE 1-800-614-6956
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org