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Exploring Life & Business with David Hailey of Countifi

Today we’d like to introduce you to David Hailey.

Hi David, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I spent a number of years working at EY in auditing and consulting. While there, I noticed that managing inventory was always a major challenge. I left EY and went to work in Corporate Audit at Delta Air Lines. One of my groups’ major focus was understanding what customers consumed while flying and how the airline could manage that process more efficiently. I realized that understanding onboard inventory was an issue that all airlines had to deal with, and that is how the idea of Countifi started. Most restaurants and bars know that the drinks are where they can make their bread and butter; inventory is always top of mind, I thought it should be a priority for airlines also. I left my job at Delta to focus on Countifi full time to build a team and develop an inventory counting platform using computer vision and AI. We now have the Countifi platform that saves companies money by counting inventory automatically, eliminating the need for manual counting.

Once we developed a solution for airlines, we realized, once trained, our computer vision and deep learning models can add efficiency to asset processes in a variety of industries, which is how we expanded into hospitals and universities.

Today we have team members in the US and Brazil and we have worked with companies like Delta Air Lines, Iberia Air Lines, Emirates Air Lines, Duke Hospital, and NC A&T Ral Estate Foundation.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Starting a company from the ground up has had many challenges, and we have seen our fair share. We have rebranded the company two times, I have split up with a co-founder, and money issues are a constant struggle. I would love to talk to any founder that has never had a struggle while starting a business. But I think the struggle is part of the fun. As a first-time entrepreneur, I thought I was going to start a company and clients would be knocking on the door on day 1; that was so far from the truth it’s funny. Starting this company, I totally underestimated the time, money, skill level, and luck that it takes to be successful, and we still have a very long way to go! We are constantly listening to our clients so we are learning new things every day about how to properly solve our current and potential customers’ problems.

We’ve been impressed with Countifi, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Countifi is an image analysis and data analytics company that focuses on helping hospitals, airlines and universities manage inventory processes more efficiently. “We take pictures of stuff and count it automatically.” Countifi has worked with companies like Delta Air Lines, Iberia Airlines, Duke Raleigh Hospital, and North Carolina A&T University Real Estate Foundation to name a few. I started the company to address the multi-billion dollar industry-wide problems with airline onboard inventory. Airlines spend 100’s of millions on this inventory annually but due to manual counting difficulty and 3rd party vendor complexities, managing this inventory can be very challenging.

We realized that we could train our deep learning models to recognize anything with high accuracy, so when the travel industry was negatively affected by the COVID pandemic, we were able to switch to addressing inventory-related problems in the healthcare and university industries. All three of these industries, while very established, usually have very traditional and manual methods of counting and maintaining inventory. Countifi was built to help these industries save time and money in inventory management and labor costs.

During the summer of 2021, we completed a project for NC A&T University Real Estate Foundation where we counted, classified, and digitized over 30,000 residence hall and apartment assets. We are currently working to expand this service offering to other universities around the country.

Our industry knowledge sets us apart. We have deep knowledge of inventory counting practices in the industries we focus on. Our goal is to deeply listen to our clients’ concerns and apply the Countifi platform accordingly; sometimes Countifi is the right solution and sometimes it is not, and we are very transparent during our client discussions.

What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
Our core values are based on frequent client communication and transparency. As a relatively new company targeting enterprise-level clients, we realize that executives are putting their name on the line hiring us and we take this very seriously. We are very transparent about our companies’ capabilities to ensure they line up with our client objectives. Our goal is to build long-term partnerships, not short-term revenue.

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