The goal of Hardly Hustle is to provide inspiration, drive and motivation in a 10 minute read or less. What you see is what you get. This is hot off the press without an editing team.
Ahmed Farag is up.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Ahmed Farag – I’m a founder and CEO at FaceGraph. I love software engineering and been in the software business professionally for the last 17 years. I had many jobs at small and large software companies throughout my career. Worked in few countries in the middle east (originally from Egypt), Europe and now in the US. I almost always been involved in a side hustle or two. Started blink a video training company in the UK, worked in a health care startup to help manage allergies, founded a consulting company called Software Ranger before starting FaceGraph, my most recent hustle. I have a passion to solve problems with software.
What did it take / how did you get started?
Building a lot of software and working in many software companies across different countries is what polished my software development skills. I think practice coupled with self-learning is what it takes to become a software developer. As for FaceGraph, the story starts when my older son used to go to daycare and the attendance system was so bad that parents including myself had to wait in a line for few minutes every morning because you have to punch your numbers in, in a digital tablet, to get my son signed-in. If the internet was down for a second the system goes down and stops working. Which meant more waiting … That’s when I thought we should do something about that poor attendance tracking experience. Soon after, me and my best friend decided to make an app that automatically recognize parents coming in to school using facial recognition and have them checked-in. I managed to sell the solution to my son’s school as the first customer, then expanded to other schools, offices and gyms later. That’s how FaceGraph started.
What does the future look like for you and your hustle?
We have expanded our business to build and sell custom hardware for our solution which was sparked by the need for safety measures to go back to school and work during the pandemic in 2020. We have partnered with a company in Hong Kong that builds custom kiosk machines that runs our platform for attendance tracking and temperature control. Since then our solution gained a lot of momentum and we grow from 3 customers to more than 500 in less than 10 months. We have built specializations for three segments, education, workplaces and sports. We are currently working to grow each segment pushing new software and hardware that helps companies’ track attendance and go back to their workplaces safely.
What drives / motivates you?
Solving people’s problems is what keeps me going. We have helped many schools and companies reopen safely, worked with many of them to add additional functionality that they needed to make them successful.
What advice would you give someone interested in doing what you do?
I would advise anyone wants to start a company is to always find a partner first who they can trust, someone they enjoy working with. Make sure you do something you like and balance between doing things yourself and hiring someone to help you grow.
What has been the hardest part of the hustle?
Going to work everyday knowing that you are not profitable for two years but still being positive and ensuring that you can drive a great positive energy in the company all the time in front the other partners and employees despite all the pressure and ups and down.
What are a few resources that you'd recommend?
If you decide to start a company I strongly recommend following and watching all the videos that the partners of the Y combinator & their affiliates made available on YouTube. More importantly follow, Paul Graham, Michael Seibel & Peter Thiel. This will help you potentially avoid most of the mistakes of starting a startup. When you have a business running and want to excel I would recommend reading:
Measure what matters by John Doerr [Really good at organizing companies performance]
How to win friends & influence people by Dale Carnegie [Makes you a better leader overall]
The lean startup by Eric Ries [Starting a company]
Side or full-time hustle?
List the founders
I have 4 founders including myself.
How many hours a week do you work on this hustle?
I work probably 4-6 hours a day during the week and close to 24 hours during the weekend.
# of Employees?
When did you start?
End of 2017
How much did it cost to launch?
What were your funding methods and ballpark amount raised?
Self-funded + raised $30K
A little over $1M
I’m hoping we will grow beyond $1M
Any call to action?
Check the latest about our services and devices at https://docs.facegraph.com. We are always looking for mentors and business partners who can help us grow our business.