William Leonard

Hey everyone! Welcome back to the Atlanta Startup Podcast. William Leonard, your co host here and today, I’m joined by Adwait Joshi, who is the CEO and founder of Atlanta based FinTech, DataSeers. DataSeers leverages AI-powered software to help banks and other fintech improve their onboarding, compliance, and fraud detection and a single unified platform. Adwait the CEO joins and shares his insights on his entrepreneurial inspirations as a child. He talks about how easy it is to commit Financial Crimes today, and why advanced software is pivotal to combating these crimes. He also shares scaling advice for early-stage founders, the pitfalls of growing too quickly, and how he’s seen Atlanta become one of the world’s most mature FinTech hubs. This is a great episode for founders focused on scaling teams and company building at the earliest stages. And without further ado, let’s get right into the episode. Adwait, so nice to see you.

Adwait Joshi

Thank you. It’s my pleasure, William.

William Leonard

Awesome. DataSeers is such a fascinating Atlanta story. I would love for you to kick it off here, and maybe give us a 30-second overview of what DataSeers is actually doing. I’d love for you to dive deeper into your journey and your segue to entrepreneurship.

Adwait Joshi

Absolutely. DataSeers, as the name suggests, is a company that focuses heavily on data. We are very specifically focused on financial services and banking. FinTech and banks, further than that, we are focused on issues that matter, the middle office, and the back office. What does that mean? This includes financial crimes compliance, reconciliation, fraud management, data processing, and everything that a financial services company has to do in order to keep its lights on. But we don’t do the actual processing of the payment. Typically, the processing of the payment is done by large processors such as Pfizer, FIS, Marqeta, Galileo, and all these folks, but everything else that happens after the payments is a very important piece of the puzzle because that’s where the majority of the employees of an organization are sitting and doing all this work. That’s what we have written software for. It’s a SaaS product that we have written that helps them to go the length and breadth and depth of ops. We’re basically making FinTech and banking ops easy.

William Leonard

I love it. It sounds like you’re sort of one of the last-mile solutions after the payment has been facilitated, helping the ops teams combat fraud and stay within compliance.

Adwait Joshi

Correct. I always say, that if you look at an iceberg, 10% of the iceberg is above the water and 90% is below the water. That’s literally our financial services. 10% is the front end and then 90% is the back end. As you can imagine, we have so many regulations when it comes to compliance. We have run out from A to Z and then they have gone further. There are so many regulations, we have Reg D, Reg DII, and so on and so forth. It just keeps on going, there are hundreds of regulations. How do you keep compliant with them? How do you monitor them? They’re changing and there is more stuff happening. You must be reading the whole cryptocurrency news. There’s more to come down the pike for that. That’s where our software comes in. Because it’s impossible for a human to keep track of all of these changing regulations, regulatory requirements, and changes in the landscape. Basically, we created software for it.

William Leonard

I love it. Technology will definitely augment the ability of a human being in a loop. Tell us a little bit more about your background, your story, and how you ultimately founded DataSeers a couple of years ago.

Adwait Joshi

Absolutely. I grew up in a family where my father had a job from eight to five, but because he was too scared to start a business by quitting his job, right? He always had a business on the side that he ran. And then eventually that business became big enough that he couldn’t do both. His professional career was going great. He kind of handed that business to my mom. My mom was a woman entrepreneur in my family growing up. When I was a kid, I would see her when I would get up every day and she would be organizing meetings or stand-ups in the morning with her entire sales team. They were scaling. I looked at that and that’s how I grew up. I was always wanting to do something on my own ever since that. I started my first business out of high school. In India, the education system is a little bit different. Our high school ends at 10th grade, and 11th and 12th are considered junior college. Basically, according to US standards, I started my first business in my senior year. I ran that business for five years and made quite a bit of money. My mom actually was one of my employees. I was paying her salary and she was doing some work for me. That’s how the journey began. Of course, we all go through a part of a time when education is important. It was very important in our family. I had never had the chance to drop out of school, drop out of college, and focus on business. My goal always was to focus on school, finish my education, and then do whatever you want. I came to the US, did my masters, and got out. Obviously, being an immigrant in this country, it’s not easy to start a business. The laws, even today’s current laws, make it very hard for an immigrant to start a business in this country. Although this is a land of opportunity, immigration makes it a little bit difficult. I had to take jobs with organizations that would sponsor my visa and my green card. I was just waiting for the opportunity when my green card was done. I would be able to officially start a business and just be on my own. I did that first in 2008 when the market was going down, kind of always swam against the current always have, and always will. I enjoy it. I’m that salmon when it comes to business. Ran that company, was super successful, and got a lot of good out of it. It was a boutique consulting firm. We had a group of consultants that were going in and solving some really hard data problems across various industries, animal health, footwear, medical, retail, and so on and so forth. Towards the end of that career stint, I ran into financial services. It was an accidental find. I loved what I was doing in financial services and ended up selling the company and then starting this new one. In 2017, I had an idea that it was too hard to pass on. I said I have to do something, if I don’t do this now, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life. So I started at DataSeers as a company focused on creating really powerful AI-based software for solving some of the most complex problems in the industry. We’ve, of course, started focusing on fraud and financial crimes, such as human trafficking and drug trafficking. We saw the whole slew of PPP loans and unemployment fraud. We were perfectly capable of catching a lot of that activity and helping our government to go and find those bad actors and hopefully recover some of the money back. And the rest is history. We grew organically. We never raised money. As I said, I always like to do something different than the rest of the world. While everybody is chasing capital, we were chasing products and clients, and it worked out for us. From that perspective, we have a very big example in Atlanta ahead of us. MailChimp did that. They grew organically and they had a phenomenal exit, right? I always look at that and say, hey, it’s possible. It’s hard, but it’s possible. If you have a good product, you have a good team, you have a good idea, and you have good leadership, it can be done. We’re just following our dream.

William Leonard

No, this is such a fascinating story. I want to unpack a couple of points here. Your entrepreneurial origins began when you saw your mom running a business and operating this company, right? You started your own business, ultimately hired your mom as one of your employees, came to the US, and waited for the right opportunity to start your company which happened to be the 2008 downturn. And then, you accidentally bumped into financial services. You mentioned earlier, you had this internal moment where you told yourself, now’s the time to start this company. I cannot pass up on this opportunity. What was that moment for you where you said there’s a need in the market, I need to go build DataSeers right now?

Adwait Joshi

I’ll tell you two answers. First thing, I want to quote somebody. If you watch Shark Tank, Mark Cuban always says something like, if you’re serious enough, if you want to do something, then you’re going to quit your daytime job and you’re going to focus on your passion. You’re going to focus on your idea and business, and you’re gonna be successful. That’s one thing to keep in mind. What made me just focus my energy 100% on this is one of my mentors. I’ve solved a lot of problems in the industry but there was one common factor that people always kept saying. They said I wish there were two of you. I wish there were two of you. I wish there were two of you or more of you, right? I wish I could clone you. I always heard that I could solve more problems. It’s funny. My name in Indian mythology and in Sanskrit Adwaita is a very strong philosophy by one of the great gurus, Adi Shankaracharya, which means that there is nobody like me in the whole world. That’s literally what my name means. It’s a big philosophy and the entire country follows it. Obviously, it was impossible based on my name and my ideologies to create another one of me. I said, how do I do that? The easiest way for me to do that was to take everything that was in my brain, put it in software, make a program out of it, and create that AI to solve or do some of the things that I was doing before. There was an aha moment when I saw an opportunity in the market where we had a potential client that end up using us and we knew exactly what the problem was. I came up with that solution. And as it is now or never, and the entire industry was going through a major shift, I found myself leading that industry, having the knowledge, expertise, the right technology, and the idea in place, and the rest is history.

William Leonard

That is so interesting. As you think about the business today, can you tell us one, how companies were solving the problem of combating financial fraud and staying within compliance prior to DataSeers coming into the market, and then how your technology today is augmenting their ability to do that at scale?

Adwait Joshi

Let’s look at some timelines. 2017 is when we started the company. Today, probably the most popular word in the financial services industry is FinTech. 2017, it was not that popular. It was becoming popular but take it back to 2012 or 2010 when I started working in the financial services space, if you said FinTech, people are like, what is FinTech? We have no idea what that means, right? Back in the day, things were pretty cut and dry. You had a checking account, you had a savings account, your investment account, and all of that. Think about life before digital payments. I didn’t grow up having digital currencies or cryptocurrencies. I didn’t grow up having all of these. 2008 is when digital currencies came around, but they didn’t become popular until much later, right? PayPal, Venmo, and all of these guys were in their infancy. PayPal has been around for a while, but still, moving money like I can Venmo you today, I can Cash App you today, I can Zelle you today, and there are so many ways to move money around, right? As these things become more convenient and easier to do, obviously, bad actors enter. What has happened is before there were technologies that existed back in the day, if we go back to the Stone Age timeframe, they had Stone Age tools. Tools that work perfectly fine, we didn’t have electric saws and all of these fancy power tools that we have, but they didn’t require them back in the day, because life was different. They made use of what they had. They kept on moving along. The same thing has happened in the financial services industry. The tools that existed back in the day, were good enough to catch small crimes, right? Some of the crimes still remain the same. If you have watched the movie, Catch Me If You Can, bad checks and all of that, even in today’s day and age, checks happen to be one of two very large criteria for fraud, right? It’s a big problem in the industry. Some modern problems require modern solutions. If you went 15 years ago and said, let’s solve today’s problems with technology that existed 15 years ago, you won’t be able to. It’s just impossible. As fraud has progressed, financial crimes have gotten more and more tricky and complex, to give you an example, I can go to the dark web, and buy somebody’s identity for 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, and not just one, but I can buy millions of assets, first name, last name, with all these hacks that have happened, right? The digitization of our records, accounts, industry, and the money movement, all of that has introduced a complexity that didn’t exist before. Things were a little bit easier, right? If you look at it, theft could be walking into a bank and robbing the bank. We take all the cash out and move away. Today’s modern bank robberies happen behind a computer. We just hack the infrastructure, move the money digitally, and be done with it. There are things that have changed over a period of time that require more modern tools and technology. That’s what we have done, we understood the market and where the problems are, stayed one step ahead of the hacker or the attacker or the fraudster, and tried to see these problems. When you actually look back and when you see the type of crimes these guys are creating and the fraud that they’re perpetuating, it’s not that they’re not that smart. Actually, doing things that are stupid, excuse my language, but they’re so simple and they’re doing it because they know that some of these organizations, either don’t have the technology, or they’re just not watching. They just know how to stay below the threshold to avoid any detection. That’s where AI comes in, you can stay below the threshold but AI is going to detect patterns that don’t make sense and going to help you catch them. That’s what I’m saying. People have gotten smarter, technology has gotten smarter, and computers have gotten smarter, but so have fraudsters. They have gotten a lot smarter like some of these guys. If they were doing good things with their intelligence and technology, it would be a completely different world, but they choose to use it in a bad way.

William Leonard

This is fascinating because you mentioned the technological advances and complexities that have now enabled digital bank robberies today, as you mentioned. Now, you’ve built this AI that works in tandem with the humans in the loop to detect what criminals thought is undetected. Can you shed a little insight on how the product works in action within a customer’s environment?

Adwait Joshi

Everything is correlated. Okay, so a person generally doesn’t commit fraud by themselves. There is a group of people involved, right? If you are a pickpocket and you just go and get away with the 100 bucks, great, yay. But you know what? That’s it. That’s all you’re gonna get. That money then has to move somewhere and that money has to be moved undetected. The biggest strength in all of this is data. That data has been collected through all of these digital payments. We love digital payments, right? If payments were not digital, if everything was cash, and everywhere it was cash, there was no record kept was pen and paper. When you went in and deposited money in the bank and it was written down on a piece of paper, I remember growing up in a bank like that in India, where I had a little book and they used to call it a passbook and in the passbook, they will make an entry saying you deposited $5,000 in the bank, that was my record. I would have to keep it, if I lose it, I lose it, right? That’s a problem, right? You would never be able to catch fraud. Digitization has helped us with the data, the IP addresses, the device IDs, the email addresses, the phone numbers, and all of this is being logged. What we do is it’s all about correlation. It’s all about connecting the data and seeing how money is being moved. A simple example is if I am a human being, and I move money, typically, I will move money to the same 10 people over and over and over again. When it goes outside of that, becomes an issue. The phone companies actually, believe it or not, the voice-over IP phone companies, basically what is happening is those guys have figured out this problem way before financial services. I’ll give an example. I used to have Vonage back in the day. I used to call people in India because it was the cheapest way to call in India, it was like 40 bucks a month and all-you-can-call. They caught up and they said hey, you’re calling 50 different numbers. According to your plan, you’re only allowed to call 20 different numbers. It was the first time I said, what? What are you talking about? I have a limit on how many people I can call out. That was true. The same thing applies to financial services. If you think about it, if you’re moving money to the same 10 people, and those 10 people are kosher, and you know who they are, that becomes the norm. Now, when you do 20 to 50 people that becomes a problem. The issue is going back to how this activity gets detected. Understanding the data and the patterns, which humans are actually good at looking at it if it’s all on a chart on a map on a screen, right? But computers are really good at looking at this when it’s over and over and over again. That’s what we do. We use machine learning abilities. We use the AI abilities to correlate that information and then it gets exasperated and says okay, here’s what really is going on.

William Leonard

Incredible. I want to shift the conversation here but add weight and take it back to the 2017/2018 timeframe. The early stages of company building are, I’m sure, exhilarating, exciting, turbulent, all the above, but also incredibly challenging. When you first decided to embark on this journey of building DataSeers, what were some of the initial challenges or roadblocks that you all faced early on in this journey of company building?

Adwait Joshi

I will tell you we face the same problems that every startup faced. The first thing is capital, right? How are we going to pay to develop the product, right? The second question comes in, how are we going to stay on track because every startup wants to chase the next shiny object and the pivot and they fail? How are we going to find a product-market fit? We are building something that we think the market wants. How do we know that that’s what the market wants? So some of the same challenges that all the companies faced, we faced as well. But one of the advantages that we had was because we were building something very specific with domain expertise, we had the knowledge of what the market wanted, I’m not a guy that just graduated out of college and said, hey, Fintech is hard, let’s just go raise some money. Let’s just make some things up, raise money, and then launch it. That’s pretty much 90% of today’s businesses. They will go in and they will create a new brand. I’ll give an example. If you go to Target or Walmart, they have their own brand of products, right? They will say, oh, this is my brand. This is like Market Pantry which is Target’s brand. What is happening at the end of the day, is somebody else is manufacturing that product back somewhere and they’re selling it to all these 50-200 different retailers. They’re putting their brand on it and saying, this is me. You don’t know it, right? The same thing happens in the financial services industry as well. Most of these people who are able to raise this, they’re just raising the money for marketing, but they’re actually doing something else on the back. The people who are the cores of the industry who have created this IP with domain expertise and knowledge, just keep getting bigger and bigger and there is too much failure in the industry because these people don’t know what they’re doing. We have the advantage of being very early but even being very early, having the knowledge and the understanding of how payments really work. I mean, I’ll tell you this, one of the biggest struggles that we have is we try to recruit people, they interview with us, and they have no idea about the industry. Even people who have been in the industry and held big jobs, you start asking them some basic questions, they’re like, I don’t know how that works. I never really looked into it. That’s the challenge. There are a lot more people in the industry today, but it’s not enough knowledge. It’s not enough depth, it’s not enough expertise.  We had to invest early on in making sure that whoever we hired became that expert quickly because the market is hot. People are getting pulled away. Soon, there will be this big gap of people who don’t know the industry. How do we do that? We had to overcome that very quickly and we were able to do it in a very successful way, which is why we are where we are today.

William Leonard

You mentioned, the first hurdle of the business was capital. At what point did you realize that you wanted to bootstrap the business? Was there an inflection point when it came to sales or how quickly you were growing? What was that moment for you?

Adwait Joshi

What I did was bootstrap the company initially for the first few months by just doing some consulting gigs. I had expertise in the industry. I knew I could do some consulting. I could bring some capital in, and that capital can then go to build, it’s rather than going and saying, hey, I want $200,000 or $500,000 to kind of seed capital to seed it. I said I’m gonna actually go work. I may have to do two jobs. I may have to do consulting during the day and then write the software during the night, but that’s how I’m going to do it. Literally March, April, May, and June timeframe of that time, I was working two jobs. Of course, in the same company, consulting is how I was bringing the money in and using that money to write software and develop it. Also, I’m a typical CEO. But I tell people, I’m an accidental CEO. I founded this company, I had to be the CEO because I was the only guy but I’m more of a technologist. I was a very technical CEO who understands technology to the depth of AI, machine learning, data, and anything infrastructure. I love that. That’s something that I enjoy doing. I’m also a business-focused, business-minded person. I have both my left brain and right brain working simultaneously. I didn’t have to hire as many people right in the first three to four months. I didn’t have to hire a developer. I was writing the code myself and I was selling it myself. I was talking to our clients telling them what was going to come in. That helped which it’s very rare, because people don’t have that. You may have a great business idea, but you don’t have a developer. You’re going to have to hire a smart developer and pay them the market rate if you want them to be focused on what you’re doing. But then, you may not know how to sell then you’re gonna have to hire a sales guy. So that helped and since then, the people that we have hired in our company have been a jack of all trades. We always say this. I want you to be a jack of all trades. I don’t care if you’re a Master of None, right? You will become a master over a period of time and you will understand and learn it. But if there are many things that you can do, and you have a very varied skill set, you are perfect for this company, because we can wear multiple hats. We can do multiple things, which is what makes me take a step away or take a step back from some of the things that I do and say, hey, you go do it now because I know you can do this.

William Leonard

You found a strategy of hiring team members who are a jack of all trades to be a key reason why you’ve been able to scale so quickly. How do you suss that out in early conversations when you’re looking at a prospective hire?

Adwait Joshi

The interview. I usually don’t interview anybody for more than 15 minutes. That’s the joke in our company, that if you went past the 15 minutes, which means you were hired, right? Because I found something and I wanted to know more. But if I’ve dropped the call in less than 15 minutes, that just means that you’re not my guy, or girl, right? What I look for, is I always ask people questions, like most people go in and say, okay, well tell me how you do this. Tell me how you do that. It’s a very technical interview, a very product-oriented interview, or an engineering interview. I tell them, what do you do when you go home? What happens when you wake up in the middle of the night because you had an idea and jump on a computer and start coding because something happened, if it’s a developer, of course. Do you see something and say, oh, this is cool. I wonder how they did this, right? I start asking them questions that sometimes I’m pretty sure they wonder if this was the most random interview ever. Like if I had no idea or a CEO probably had no clue what he was doing. What I’m looking for is, who are you? In an interview process, everybody’s nervous. You never give out yourself. There’s less than 10% of the people who come to an interview and they are actually who they are. 90% of the people are not who they are. How do you break that shell? How do you break that tension and make them free? What makes you get up in the morning? Why don’t you get up in the morning at 8 am? Most people be like, well, I don’t know, I have to go to work at nine. Well, that’s not the right answer. If you’re getting up at 8 am, because you have to go to work at nine, which means that you’re demotivated. You should wake up because wow, it’s a beautiful day today. I got to do something. Yes, work is a part of it but that’s not why we woke up. I woke up because I had an idea. I had something. I jumped out of bed. That’s the energy that we look for in an individual. We also do a personality test. They go through four or five rounds of interviews and then we eventually hire them. I must have interviewed thousands of people in my career, I can quickly tell you, if somebody is good, or not. I don’t mean like as a person. I don’t mean like from a talent perspective. I mean for the company, because you may be a brilliant individual, but if you’re cocky and if you don’t fit the culture, I don’t want you here. You have to be good at your skills, but you also have to be a good fit within the company because we focus heavily on diversity. We focus heavily on inclusion and opportunity. We have so many people from so many different parts of the world and culture is so important to us. We have some European people that may come in and be direct with somebody and somebody may start crying. They don’t realize that wait, Europeans are more direct than Americans are. We speak more softly, Europeans don’t. That is very important for us. We want to understand your culture. We have people from Turkey, Africa, Europe, Asia, and South America. We have people from everywhere and everybody brings their own version to the table. What more can you do beyond just doing your job? Who are you? What do you bring to the table? And that goes a long way in bringing and hiring all these folks.

William Leonard

That insight is so profound for some of our founders who are listening to us that may want to build their company in a similar fashion to how you approach interviews in hiring. I can definitely appreciate that insight. DataSeers is a quickly growing company. You mentioned you have people from almost every continent as a part of your team. You all have so many accolades that are under your belt already. One of the fastest growing private companies in America, according to Inc 5000. What advice can you share with an early-stage founder who’s listening right now and who’s focused on scaling their team in 2023, what considerations should be made when thinking about this?

Adwait Joshi

It’s funny you asked that question. People are writing their predictions for 2023. I did mine, and everybody does that but instead of putting it on my personal site or a blog these are my predictions for 2023, I was going to give 10 commandments to startup founders. These are the 10 rules that I came up with and that I think are important. I won’t give you all 10 because I want them to read the blog, but I will tell you very first thing, right? The most important thing is I like fast-growing, but don’t grow too fast. What happens if you put too much air in that balloon? What happens if you take a plane and you climb too fast? The same thing is happening in business today, when you are growing at a rate that is uncontrollable, here come the layoffs. Go pick your favorite FinTech today on LinkedIn and look at their growth trajectory, people have gone up, and then they have come down. They have come down because they could not sustain that growth. Growing is important. Growing quickly may not be as important. You shouldn’t grow quickly, because you want to show the world that you are a fast-growing FinTech. We are not adding jobs because we want to show the world we are a fast-growing FinTech. We actually have a real need. We have clients that we know we have to keep happy. We have to make sure that we get things are done on time, which is why we have to add. Our growth, you may not see that hockey stick for us. You may never see it, I don’t want it that way. I want very consistent growth in the company. As long as that graph is trending up and not trending down, that’s what matters. That was my first commandment. You don’t have to keep up with the Joneses. You don’t have to do things because others are doing it and the metric of measurement shouldn’t be how fast you’re growing. The metric of measurement should be how sustainable your company is. There are going to be nine more things that I’m going to walk through with founders, my advice of what I think life should be, and take it for whatever it’s worth. It’s my perspective. It’s one perspective only. I would welcome comments from folks.

William Leonard

What perfect timing to bring that question up. Where can we find that blog? When it will be published?

Adwait Joshi

It will be on my LinkedIn. It’ll be on my Twitter. It will be on our website, https://www.dataseers.ai/. It will be published in the next week. Keep an eye out for it.

William Leonard

Awesome. Adwait, you’ve been building in Atlanta for some time now. You’ve been able to see the city’s growth firsthand. Atlanta is becoming known as a maturing FinTech hub, not only in this southern region but really throughout the world. My question to you is, what resources and tailwinds locally, would you say are driving this maturing of Atlanta’s FinTech ecosystem?

Adwait Joshi

Well, great question. First of all, I’m a huge fan of Atlanta. I traveled the world with the state of Georgia and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. I have to give them a plug. They do a phenomenal job, right? So first of all, we are the number one state for doing business for, I don’t even know maybe seven or eight years in a row now. The other thing is looking at our ecosystem, just the whole ecosystem, we have the best airport in the world. We have the best airlines here in the world. We are the headquarters of UPS. Transportation, we are connected, we have roads and rails. Georgia is connected via sea as well. There is a port, not in Atlanta, but there is a port. We have fiber coming into our city directly. There is infrastructure. We are not Silicon Valley. If you want to buy a house, you’re not shelling out $5 million. I have friends who tell me that they spent $2 million on a two-bedroom house. If you spent $2 million here, you’ll get a big farm with horses on it depending upon what part of Atlanta suburbs you are in. The point is that this is still a growing city. This is still a growing hub. We have the right elements when it comes to financial services and fintech but we also have the education system to support it. Tommy Marshall and Dean Phillips have done a great job with the University System of Georgia, the Georgia FinTech Academy, which is putting new talent out in the market because what do we want? We want to hire people. Typically, what I would do is I would hire them and move to Georgia. We have taken punches in the face as a company and me as a CEO for saying, no, we’re gonna build in Georgia. Everybody’s gonna be in Alpharetta. Well, the world is going remote. Everybody’s working from home, do you want people to come to Alpharetta? I said, yes, that was my commitment to the city. That was my commitment to this state that everybody will be here. We will build a humongous facility here and we would actually get this going. Most people are going back to work. They want to go back to work because infrastructure is different at home versus at work. We are seeing now more people wanting to come back to work. They’re like, no, I’m not gonna work from home. I’m gonna be there. When we hire people from outside of the state, they’re like, can we come in Monday through Friday, and then go back home Saturday and Sunday? Sure if that’s what you want, we will gladly support that. It’s hard. It’s not easy, because people want the most convenient. At the end of the day, as I read, somebody posted on LinkedIn, what should employers be doing for employees and somehow translated as follows, right? Give them way too many days off, pay them an exorbitant amount of money, let them be remote, don’t hold them accountable, and focus on their health and wellbeing. It’s a business at the end of the day, the business owner looks at it and says, what did I get out of it? It is a balance. We love Georgia. We love Atlanta. It is growing and it has different hubs. We are focusing on Atlanta, but don’t forget that Augusta has a humongous cybersecurity focus. There’s a lot that happens here. It’s a great state, with a great talent pool, a great resource pool, and great companies. I’m pretty sure you have been reading all the news about who is moving to Atlanta, how many jobs are adding, right? Google’s here, Microsoft’s here, Meta’s here, Visa’s here, and MasterCard is here. Now, we are going to start getting reverse pressure, meaning there’s more opportunity now for people. One person is receiving 10-30 job offers, right? You’re going to have to compete as employers with benefits and other things that you’re going to have to do because the big guys are coming here. What they’re realizing is the same resource they hire in Georgia versus California, they don’t have to pay them as much because the salaries are different in both those states plus Georgia is an at-will state. It helps a lot. That’s happening and that’s why you see a lot of VC activity. A lot of venture capitalists are saying, we are done with California, we want to focus on companies that are more conservative. That’s why Georgia has been a big market for New York, Boston, and California VCs. There are some people who have opened up local offices here.

William Leonard

We’re starting to see that. You’re seeing a rise in funds that are focusing on startups between the coasts. I think that’s going to be a strategy that yields outsized returns over the next 1030 years or so. I’m excited to see the momentum that the city of Atlanta, the surrounding metro area, and then also the state at large is seeing. You mentioned Augusta, Savannah, and all the innovation that’s happening there. There’s a lot of opportunity here. I think people that sleep on and overlook Georgia are gonna miss out on outsized returns and some of the best investment opportunities in the world.

Adwait Joshi

Absolutely. And again, financial services, we are ruling. The Federal Reserve is here right now. There’s so much that we have here which is going to be crucial. We are the backbone of financial services and if you ask the world, they would think it is New York or San Francisco, but it’s not. It’s actually Atlanta and it’s Georgia, which is driving all this payment innovation out there.

William Leonard

I love it. You’re a great spokesperson for the city. This is really fascinating, Adwait. I appreciate your time and the insight that you shared today for our audience, who are oftentimes investors, early-stage founders, and ecosystem players here just wanting to learn more about startups and venture capital. This was an incredible, fascinating conversation. If there’s a prospective customer listening today, how can they best get in touch with you or somebody on the DataSeers team?

Adwait Joshi

Absolutely. So first of all, https://www.dataseers.ai/ is a great resource. I am on LinkedIn. I’m very open. I communicate with people all the time. I’m on Twitter, so just find me and I will be happy to help anybody. I’m involved in Tech Alpharetta, ATDC, and FinTech Atlanta. I’m pretty sure you will see me around somewhere. Stop by say hey and look forward.

William Leonard

Awesome. Adwait, I appreciate your time and look forward to seeing you around soon, man.

Adwait Joshi

Thank you. Appreciate it.

Lisa Calhoun

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