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Hamed Shahbazi, 27, Chair and CEO Info Touch Technologies Corp./Under 40 2001 Award
Business in Vancouver • 25 December 2001
Hamed Shahbazi, 27 Business lessons:
Be careful what you wish for. Many times we got what we wanted and we weren't happy or we weren't ready for it. Over time that's taught us to do more planning and execution.
Hamed Shahbazi likes to talk about the big fish he landed over the past year.
He's done much since taking Info Touch Technologies, a developer of kiosk software and servicer of the high-tech terminals, to $4.3 million in annual revenue and 50 employees. But he points to the financing and partnership deal he and his company struck with U.S.-based giant Compaq Computer Corp. as a singularly impressive achievement.
The world's second-largest computer maker snagged 20 per cent of Info Touch earlier in 2001 and invested $775,000 in the local company. Under the deal, Info Touch gets a co-marketing agreement and strategic alliance with Compaq. Shahbazi said that Info Touch has access to Compaq's 27,000-strong service group and noted Compaq is also in the kiosk manufacturing business, building a product around its PC platform.
"The Compaq deal was very important for us," he said.
Shahbazi recognized the synergies between the direction Compaq was taking and what Info Touch was already doing, so he approached the computer giant.
But the UBC graduate has been on fast forward for a number of years. Soon after graduating, he co-founded Burnaby-based Info Touch to focus on public Internet access. The co-founders saw the Internet's use soaring in homes and offices and figured that, someday, it would filter down to what Shahbazi terms the "street level" where "commerce was happening."
"It was just a matter of time that we thought the kiosk would play a big role in that and it has and it will continue. We felt it was part of making the Internet ubiquitous."
They created security, billing and management software and raised $1 million when they took the company public in 1999. But it hasn't all been smooth selling. The company used to manufacture the kiosk, but now outsources that function. Now, Shahbazi looks forward to the future. "These are the toughest times. If you can exist through these tough times, if you can thrive and can make creative deals happen, we think that we'll thrive in an economy where things are clicking."