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Sam Hutchinson is co-founder and Chief Technical Officer of Everlytic, the unified messaging platform for sharing content via email, mobile, and social media.
South Africans Hutchinson and Josh Adler started Prefix Technologies in 2004. When the duo began tailoring email newsletters for the publishing industry, Everlytic was born — a general email and mobile marketing platform. Today, Everlytic ties together email marketing, social sharing and analytics with support for popular CMSes like WordPress and Drupal. Clients can measure and track campaigns across multiple messaging channels and integrate with accounting, CRM and CMS systems.
Everlytic became profitable without external funding and today is used by some of South Africa’s top brands in industries that include banking, insurance, retail, ecommerce and hundreds of traditional and online publications, to send messages numbering in the millions per day. Highlights from Everlytic’s client portfolio include FNB, Oprah Magazine, Momentum and Popular Mechanics.
Hutchinson has experience in content management and digital communications systems, and plays a crucial role in Everlytic’s technical strategy. As Everlytic’s emerging market vision is realised, it’s Hutchinson’s job to ensure quality service delivery in regions such as Kenya, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Nigeria, India and the Philippines.
In an interview with Hutchinson, we unfold how he got to where he is today, what goals he has for the future and what advice he can share with other entrepreneurs.
When did you have the idea to start your own business and and when did you actually start it?
I have always worked for myself but I officially started the company during my second year at University. By that time, I was doing so much work and had two partners so it made sense to formalise things.
Did you have any experience before venturing out on your own?
I had been working since I was 12 and did just about anything legal for money; delivery jobs, promotions, shop assistant, bouncer, concert rigger, waiter, photographer, and the list goes on and on. Regarding tech I first made money fixing other peoples computers and eventually developed into writing software for companies.
Did you always have a technology company in mind when thinking about starting your own business? If yes, why was that? If no, what was your original idea and how did you end up getting involved in technology instead?
I always wanted to be involved in technology. From a young age I was obsessed with computers and starting a business in any other area would seem against my calling.
At the very beginning of your entrepreneurship venture, did you have any support? If yes, what was it? If no, how did you manage?
Apart from the usual support from my parents I have never had financial support. My business is totally bootstrapped and was profitable from day one.
I also have a good network of peers and mentors and their advice and support has been a key part of our success.
There are also lots of great NGOs that support entrepreneurs. Endeavor South Africa have been phenomenal for us.
Did you ever envision your company to be what it is now?
Of course I expected us to be where we are now – haha. I never take anything for granted and am very thankful for where we are today. That being said, we still have a long long way to go. We are just getting warmed up.
Everlytic has expanded in Argentina, Brazil and Kenya. Do you envision Everlytic expanding further across the globe? And if so, where?
Definitely, we are generally interested in non-English speaking emerging markets. Turkey is next on my list and then Asia.
What are your other future goals for Everlytic?
I would like Everlytic to become a dominant global communication platform. It not going to be easy but we are on the right path and racing down it.
What advice do you have for aspiring and starting out entrepreneurs?
The first and most important thing is that “Execution is everything”. Ideas are only as good as their implementation.
Secondly sales, sales and more sales. Start selling even before your product is even complete. It is very important to see if anybody will actually pay for you service otherwise you may just be wasting your time.
Third, be obsessed! If you are going take the risk and start your own business then put everything into it, no half measures and be relentless until you either fail or succeed.
My final word of advice is “Hire good people and look after them.” They are the most important part of your business and without good team you will achieve nothing great.
What other fun do you have besides work?
On the softer side, I love spending time with the family and most of my spare time is spent on that. But when it comes to doing something just for myself, you can put me a dirt bike on some random mountain range and then I’m happiest.