Daniel Faggella on Entrepreneurship and the Future of AI

04/11/2017 09:00 am ET

It's not often that you hear about an entrepreneur who launches, builds and maintains a business purely to fund another business. That's exactly that Daniel Faggella, founder of TechEmergence, decided to do four years ago when he launched Science of Skill.

I recently had the chance to sit down with him and find out a little more about his success story and future innovations.

Why did you decide to self-fund TechEmergence and not seek investment the traditional way?

Most 29-year-olds would rather just go out and raise the money to start a business. The reason I toiled for 4 years to fund this myself is that, ultimately, my aim will not always be profit. I believe that within my lifetime, the ethical and social concerns of regulating artificial intelligence will be massive. I see our network and platform as being able to aide in questions around AI's implications, applications, and regulation.

We certainly plan to grow a large, profitable, global enterprise here. The moral contribution of transparency, regulation, and implications-assessing would never excite investors, but it's what's most important to me. So I've had to self-fund in order to stay to true to the ultimate goals, which may be looming some 10 or 20 years off... if we're lucky!

How did you manage to create and sell Science of Skill?

Science of Skill was able to sell despite having only one full-time employee and no hard assets because of it's track-record of more than doubling revenues each year successively, and because of the consistency of our money-to-month cash flows. There was also the streamlined nature of our business systems, which have for nearly a year made me (as owner) pretty irrelevant to the continued profitability and operations of the business.

When did you sell Science of Skill?

The deal was closed on February 18th, 2017. Since then I have not really been involved with the business. We met formally to introduce my operating team to the new owners, but that was it.

And how much did you make from the sale?

I Sold Science of Skill for over $1MM to an independent group of buyers from the Cleveland, Ohio area (this group was explicitly looking for a recurring revenue business and they believed that our growth rate showed a lot of promise). Science of Skill has been around for 4 years, and in the last three years we had a 1100% cumulative growth rate. We did over $2MM in 2016 revenues.

What can we expect from TechEmergence?

TechEmergence now has the resources it needs to pursue it's highest goal: to be a marketplace for insight and service in the artificial intelligence field. Companies offering AI applications and products will be able to list their products on our site and be discovered beside related content by our deeply engaged business readers. For example, a reader exploring an article about machine vision for medical diagnostics will be able to easily find the companies that offer such services, as well as related case studies about how technology solutions have performed in real business environments.

We will be hiring an experienced editor within the month to expand our content and executive interviews (we've already interviewed execs at Facebook, eBay, OpenAI, and many other big names). We aim to have over a million monthly visitors per month by the end of 2017, thanks to a massive increase in our content production, and by sourcing excellent articles and case studies from our huge network of executives and researchers in the field.

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