David Hailey, the founder and CEO of Countalytics, doesn’t come from the traditional background of the founder of a tech company. David’s background is in auditing and consulting, as reinforced by his nearly two decades spent working as a risk manager at EY and a General Manager at Delta Airlines in their Corporate Audit department. David exemplifies the most essential trait of successful entrepreneurs, no matter the field – David took his airline experience, identified a problem that had plagued him in his career, and turned around to create a solution.
- Bachelor & Master of Accounting, North Carolina State University
- Master of Business Administration, Duke University – The Fuqua School of Business, 2013
David’s entrepreneurial journey started before attending the Fuqua School of Business when he set up a t-shirt company with his friends as an undergraduate. For David, one of main draws of Fuqua was the combination of flexibility and professional experience that Fuqua’s Weekend Executive MBA program provided. As a Weekend MBA, David was able to pursue a degree and apply the principles from the classroom directly to his job as a manager at Delta Airlines.
In 2018, David decided to take the jump and start Countalytics. Countalytics is an inventory-management platform which uses computer vision and machine learning to help companies keep track of their inventories and reduce costs. Countalytics began with airlines and airports as its target industry but has now expanded to include clients across a variety of sectors. “When we started it was to address a specific airline problem; we quickly realized our platform had a variety of uses because our first official client was a lumberyard in Miami. We were tasked with helping them increase efficiency by eliminating manual inventory counts,” according to David.
While starting out, David and the Countalytics team elected to join an accelerator and remain bootstrapped, rather than seeking outside funding. David believes that this decision to join an accelerator program and stay bootstrapped, rather than seeking outside investors, is one of the keys to Countalytics’ long-term success. With no outside investors, David and the Countalytics team are able to grow at their own rate, source their clients effectively, and make sure they are at the forefront of their field without compromising on their values. From the accelerator, Countalytics was able to create a brand vision, comfortably talk to senior clients, and secure funding from some of the largest names in the aviation industry.
Some of Countalytics’ biggest problems led to their current successes. The airline industry is a traditionally slow-moving beast and Countalytics fought diligently to win a seat at the table in their inventory management conversations. This hard-won experience has helped Countalytics to expand its customer base from airlines to retailers and healthcare spaces.
Initially, Countalytics partnered with IBM’s Watson to help build their deep-learning and artificial intelligence models. Rather than be limited by a background they didn’t have, David took that weaknesses and made them strengths. They now have a Computer Science PhD. and a full stack development team at Countalytics.
David’s advice for aspiring entrepreneurs or people who have identified a problem is two-fold. First and foremost, “if you’re looking for a sign to become an entrepreneur, you’ll know it is the path for you when you see a problem and know that you need to tackle it.” And secondly, David suggests that it is beneficial to spend time in the corporate world first. “When you first start your company, you should surround yourself with a community of entrepreneurs and then sit back and analyze yourself through a corporate lens. When you can identify how your clients will think about you and your solutions, your success will increase tenfold, especially if you are targeting enterprise level clients.”
David also runs a podcast called Count It Up, a show dedicated to talking to top experts and influencers on how Fortune 100 companies manage their inventory costs to break down those secrets and share them with his audience. You can find it here!