Data Integration Might Be Your Moonshot
What would you do if you had a map to a gold mine, plus all the equipment you needed to dig it up?
That’s the position that Wilfred Gomez finds himself in. Wil is the co-founder and president of Seequelle, a consultancy that specializes in helping companies implement enterprise human capital management (HCM) systems. These expensive and highly complex software packages cover a wide range of functions across the entire employee lifecycle and are designed to support the global compliance and international payroll needs of large enterprises. To work well, they typically need to link up with other systems such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), financial reporting, accounting, time and attendance, recruiting systems, and others so information doesn’t have to be entered separately into each system. Since 2016, Seequelle has been very successful at doing this. With just 11 employees, it was grossing $3 million, or about $373,000 per employee.
The company’s secret, however, wasn’t just hooking systems together like so many pipes in a plumbing project. It was integrating this data to achieve a clear, consolidated point of view to better inform business decisions.
“One thing that we found as we built out these connections for each of our engagements was that we were providing context to the data,” he explained to me in a conversation we had for my monthly entrepreneurship video series, How I Did It. Thanks to Seequelle’s deep knowledge of both the technology and the business side of human capital management, he continued, “we understood what the business used the data for, and we understood what the HCM vendors could provide. So it became a much more meaningful conversation with our clients when building these systems out.”
What Wil is talking about is data integration, which has become the holy grail for organizations. Companies including Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are trying hard to sell systems that can aggregate huge volumes of data and make sense of it. As you might imagine, actually extracting valuable insights from these pools of data is challenging. Seequelle’s leg up is its domain expertise in HRM, which gives it a greater understanding of how different data sources can come together to create value.
I first met Wil back in September 2021, when he attended the Birthing of Giants Fellowship Program. There, he learned from our board of experts about the moneymaker-to-moonshot model I’ve discussed here before. In a nutshell, it goes like this:
- Build a company that solves a problem for larger companies using technology to drive efficiency.
- Grow that company into a profitable moneymaker that carves out a niche in the market with its domain expertise.
- With each client engagement, refine that proprietary technology that differentiates your company from the competition and makes it efficient and easy to work with.
- Take a look at the technology you’ve developed. Is it something that other companies would find valuable? If so, start reinvesting your operating profits into transforming this technology into a scalable cloud-native application.
- Now you’ve got a moonshot: a product that can scale at minimal cost to a total addressable market (TAM) that is bigger than the one you currently serve by several orders of magnitude. Remember that you and your partners and shareholders own this moonshot outright. No angel investors or VC funding in exchange for a big chunk of equity. It’s all yours, and it’s valued like a tech company in multiples of profit, not revenue.
Seequelle was already a textbook moneymaker: It was an efficient, technology-driven organization with deep subject matter expertise that provided a crucial service to larger companies that minimized their technology risk. During Fellowship Week, Wil realized that Seequelle already had the seeds of a moonshot: a technology platform for building the connections between systems that were essential for Seequelle’s biggest value proposition. Any time a client required a connection to a new HCM or another system, Seequelle would add to a growing portfolio of connections that could be combined in any configuration to suit a company’s needs.
Earlier this year, Wil launched his platform with eight customers. By the end of this year, he expects it to bring in $200,000 in recurring revenue with about 25 customers. His TAM for this product, by the way, is 20 million customers. That means billions of dollars in recurring revenue.
Do you have a map to a gold mine in your back pocket? Is your company using proprietary technology to get stuff done faster or easier? It might seem mundane at first. But chances are, if it’s valuable to you, it could be valuable to customers around the world as well.
Lewis Schiff runs the Birthing of Giants Fellowship Program, a one-week guided strategic planning process that’s attended by the owners of the fastest-growing companies in the world. He also runs Moonshots & Moneymakers: The Oxford Innovation Conference for American Entrepreneurs.
Want the inside scoop on how Wil Gomez and other entrepreneurs built their companies from moneymakers to moonshots? Sign up for Birthing of Giants’ free monthly video series, How I Did It.