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Smarty Software was founded by Dr. Farhad Reyazat and Agnes Gradzewicz in 2013. The company has gone from strength to strength since it launched its suite of services in late 2016. With awards recognition and a growing list of clients, it is the latest start-up to disrupt the London tech scene. The intelligent software designed with entrepreneurs in mind, Smarty combines interface invoicing, email marketing automation and web design with data reporting, CRM, appointment setting and much more. By combining everything into one piece of online software, businesses are able to save money on using multi-software, as well as training new employees on different systems. The software helps business owners with leads generation, sending email campaigns, sales opportunities, chasing payments and tasks management.
In Conversion with the Founder, Dr. Farhad Reyazat
Why was the company set up and how have you expanded Smarty’s services since launch?
In 2017 Small and Medium Enterprises accounted for 99% of all businesses in the UK, out of which 94% were classified as micro-business, employing 10 people or less. According to the Federation of Small Business, more than a quarter of business owners lack confidence in their basic digital skills with over 2 million not even having a website for their business.
With the rise of the digital age, as well as new Data Regulations and HMRC's taxes going digital, it has never been more important for all businesses to go digital. As intelligent software, designed with entrepreneurs in mind, the interface combines invoicing, email marketing automation and web design with data reporting, CRM, appointment setting and much more.
Entrepreneurs and small business owners that work an average of 60 hours a week could save about 10 hours of work each week by incorporating automation software into their business.
We noticed a lack of an appropriate solution to achieve this and capitalized on it by designing an easy to use platform and app that covers many different operations of running a business. Furthermore, we aimed to offer such features at a low cost, averaging between £10-100 a month, so that all small business owners and entrepreneurs can afford to take advantage.
What are the factors that have been most influential in the success of your organization so far?
I think it was our ability to identify a gap in the market and address it effectively that gave us the edge in the early days. Be surrounded by people who know the business’s purpose, the customers, and how to make your vision a reality. Believing that failure is an opportunity to learn and improve, I’d also credit our willingness to listen to the needs of small businesses, rather than making assumptions without solid evidence, with the growth of Smarty Software since launch.
What is the company culture of Smarty Software?
We want our business to reflect the same ambitions and aims that are shared by many of our clients. Our company culture is one which embraces innovation, encourages independent thinking and emphasizes inclusiveness. We hope that this is mirrored by the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of our software solutions. Fuelled by an entrepreneurial spirit and eager to prove ourselves, the people who work at Smarty are all individuals working towards a common goal.
Are there other areas in which Smarty has earned recognition so far?
Smarty platform was chosen by a panel of expert judges as the Top 50 Disruptive Companies by Real Business Magazine. We were also singled out by Capterra as amongst the Top 10 Cheapest Accounting Software, as well as being given the nod for Best CRM of the Year by Computer Network.
Where do you see you and your company in a couple of years?
Currently, there are no software solutions which offer both full accounting and CRM with integrated email marketing capabilities. Our system was designed after interviewing over a hundred micro-businesses that struggled to find a package that offered them these options while also being affordable. Our main aim is to help small businesses achieve GDPR compliance and also prepare for the Making Tax Digital scheme coming into force in 2019.
Our target for the next 5 years is to develop a modern AI based business software solution and get over 32000 clients in the UK. That’s less than 1% of the SME market. In the UK, there are 5.9 million businesses. In London alone, there are 806,000 private sector businesses. We hope to gain traction in this potentially vast marketplace and prove the power and uniqueness of the Smarty Software platform in a competitive arena.
In the future, we are also aiming to take this product globally and offer other solutions for start-ups small business, and micro-enterprises.
Dr. Farhad Reyazat, CEO, and Founder: Dr. Farhad Reyazat is an entrepreneur, investor and academic lecturer with a strong background in banking. Before founding Smarty Software, he has launched and chaired a number of other businesses, including B&F Services a management consultancy which helps few hundreds of entrepreneurs to establish or grow their business in the UK or to take their start-up to the next stage since 2005. Further, he was also part of Zebra Capital which finances SME and micro enterprises since 2007. Providence Asset Management which is given permission to provide regulated products and services by FCA since 2008. Not to mention many other companies like Blue Chip Investment to provide financing solution for SME, Global Risk Management Group, International Investment Company, and few more were part of his past experience.
He is also an active investor in the UK based start-ups including The Market Mogul, Graphene Composites, Money Dashboard, York Cocoa House, Academy of Robotics, Plum Fintech and many more.
Farhad was awarded both a B.A. and M.S. in Finance Studies, then went on to achieve a Ph.D. in Risk Management from Southampton University after completing training courses at London Business School. His areas of interest include small business, technology, risk management, Artificial Intelligence, network theory in finance, the theory of the ultra-small world of banking, operational risk, systemic risk, and risk modelling.
As the CEO of an innovative new venture like Smarty Software, a lot of the skills, knowledge, and training which he has accrued over the years are being deployed on a daily basis.
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