Varyence specializes in helping non-technical founders of SaaS startups launch their software products. In this interview with TechBullion, Partner and CTO Jason Hishmeh shares their expertise and contribution on topics around development, Cybersecurity, and AI.
Please tell us more about yourself?
My name is Jason Hishmeh. I’m a Founder, CTO, and Tech Investor. I have over 20 years of experience leading tech organizations, application development, cybersecurity, and cloud infrastructure. I have built and sold companies and have worked at Fortune 500 companies.
I’m originally from New York City. I still consider New York City my home and I still love the city, however, I spend much of my time these days on the ground in our Lviv, Ukraine office.
What is Varyence and what problems are you solving?
At Varyence we have a passion to help non-technical SaaS startup founders build their dreams.
We partner with founders who have the ability to sell and market an idea but need trusted technical leadership to turn that idea into a profitable business and help it scale.
With the high rate of startup failures, having technical leadership with a track record of business success is critical to success.
Over the past 10 years, Varyence has helped startups go from an idea to scaling to millions of annual recurring revenue or get acquired by public companies.
Could you give us an overview of the software development market and why your services at Varyence are in demand?
I’ve seen software development go through a lot of changes over the past couple decades. The biggest changes I’ve seen have been around…
Agility: Both customers and vendors have had to embrace Agile development and approaches to projects. This requires relationships built on trust, plus great communication.
Security: Security must be considered at every step in the development lifecycle. Cybersecurity and compliance must be top of mind.
User-Centric Focus: We must place the end user experience at the center of the development process.
Data-Driven Insights: We must help clients make informed decisions based upon data. And it must be timely and relevant to the decisions they must make.
I believe customers and partners like working with us because we have an amazing staff passionate about delivering real results for customers. Helping them get their business profitable, successful and sustainable. We are successful because of our amazing employees.
How does Varyence work? Could you give us a walkthrough of your Varyance ecosystem and the tools available for business owners?
We provide funding, development and technical leadership to non-technical SaaS startup founders located primarily in the US and the UK.
We have been in business for over 10 years and have over 100 employees. Most of our employees are located in our Lviv, Ukraine office.
We partner with startups to help them launch and scale their businesses, providing guidance at each step of their startup journey.
Less than 7% of startups ever reach $1,000,000 in annual revenue. We have helped SaaS startups achieve and surpass this.
We assist our partners with go to market strategies, prototyping their vision, technical leadership, developing their platforms, and helping to successfully launch & scale.
We are also an investor partner in a $2B Investment Accelerator fund that has helped over 1,300 startups. We are specifically involved in a new program launching in Luxembourg in Q1 2024.
How are you helping startup founders with software development, prototyping, MVP and launching? Any success stories you would like to share with us?
We help startup founders throughout the entire lifecycle of their startup journey. As experienced founders we have experienced those startup journeys multiple times.
We have a successful track record over the past 10 years helping companies launch, get profitable, find product market fit, and get acquired or sold.
This enables us to guide startup founders from our real-life experiences.
Often a founder will come to us with only an idea. We help prototype that idea so they can get market feedback from potential customers, showcase their idea to investors for fundraising, and fine-tune their concept.
We then work with them on the right strategy to get their product developed, launched and scaled.
Prior to any development, we prototype and do proof of concepts so we can help them get the right market feedback before investing a lot of money into developing their MVP.
Once they have done sufficient market validation, we help them develop their MVP, get it launched and partner with them through the later stages of their startup journey.
For one healthcare startup we worked with, they scaled quite fast and were acquired by a public company for over $150,000,000.
From your wealth of experience, what tips do you have for SaaS startups when raising capital?
We generally discourage founders from raising capital too early. We encourage them to first perform market research, get market feedback, put together the right strategy, and validate they are on the right track.
Once they have determined these things, raising capital will be easier and they will have a better idea of how to leverage the capital they do raise.
Tell us more about the Integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning in your services, how does this work and what are the benefits?
We have been working with AI for many years. It’s obviously become more popular nowadays and has increased capabilities. Overall, we’re excited about AI and how it can help society. Almost every project we touch these days incorporates AI in some form.
For us, considering how to incorporate AI is a given for every product we’re involved in. Similar to how we consider it important to ensure every product provides a great user experience.
For some products, there may not be any benefit to incorporating AI. It must make sense and add value to the end user of the product.
We generally get involved with AI and Machine Learning on projects in a few ways…
- Developing and integrating custom machine learning algorithms
- Training AI models on custom data sets
- Integrating third-party machine learning algorithms
- Integrating third-party AI tools such as OpenAI
- Security hardening of AI implementations
Could you give us more insights into the PowerBI and AI for Healthcare Applications?
Many healthcare companies rely on business dashboards, such as PowerBI, to provide KPIs, reports, and insights to help them make business decisions.
There is a need for more customized and insightful reports, however, the cost of developing every possible report is not feasible.
Examples of benefits of integrating AI into business dashboards include:
- enable users to query the reports and underlying data using natural language processing (NLP). Such as “I need a line chart showing what days of the week within the last 12 months are the busiest, across all emergency rooms in the Northeast United States.”.
- forecast future trends, based upon historical data, using machine learning (ML). For example, “What should be our staffing plan for the emergency room on Jan 1st?”
- integrate cognitive services to extract data and insights from medical text and images.
Who is a technical cofounder, what are his roles and what are the best ways to find a good technical Cofounder?
A technical cofounder / CTO is someone who can lead and execute on the vision of the founder.
This role requires the ability to:
- Inspire and lead team members.
- Guide technical execution.
- Identify and solve problems.
- Bridge the gap between technical and non-technical areas of the business.
- Operate well within a team environment.
Technical cofounders are in high demand and finding a good one is very difficult.
I recommend trying to find a technical cofounder via referrals from your network of contacts.
If you are not successful with this approach, I would recommend you attend some tech events to network with individuals who may be able to introduce you to a potential technical cofounder.
What are you currently working on at Varyence, are there any available opportunities for investors and partnerships? Do you have more tips for our readers today?
We are currently working on many exciting SaaS startup projects.
In prior years, we were often trying to convince founders to consider how AI could benefit users of their platform.
In 2023, we no longer need to convince founders. Instead, they are excited for us to consider how AI could add value to end users of the platform.
After having launched an MVP, we are helping one of our latest portfolio companies raise money from Family Offices. There are definitely some great opportunities for early-stage investors in this current market.