Nikolas Kairinos : When One Looks at Operating a Business in Texas Versus Other States, Texas Is Fair, Has a Pro-business Climate

Nikolas Kairinos of Soffos Inc..

Tell us about yourself?

At age 11 I got into computer coding because I was so interested in Math that I felt computers could solve mathematical problems quicker than people – if only we could just program them correctly. This led to an interest in Artificial Intelligence

. I started my first business at 17 years old and sold it at 19. I’ve been involved in accelerating, nurturing, and raising capital for businesses for over 30 years since.

If I saw an organization with potential, I’d approach them with ideas that integrated technology for the improvement of their products and furtherance of the common good.

What lessons has being an entrepreneur taught you? 

Hire people smarter than you and support them! Be the company’s first salesman. Don’t run out of money.

For instance, hire someone with investor connections to do the heavy lifting in finding potential investors.

Running the company AND spending more than half your time trying to raise capital for seed rounds etc. is really hard work; so don’t spread yourself too thinly. The same goes for other initiatives.

If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

Without wishing to sound too philosophical here, I’ve found over the years that the key to success is understanding the importance of focus and immersion; that crucial understanding of where an entrepreneur places him or herself to understand the relationship of when or whether to go deep and/ or wide.

For example, does one pursue one vertical to the exclusion of everything else because one of your investors is convinced of the way forward for your start-up?

Or should the focus be less laser and more diffused, reaching out to provide solutions for several different sectors?

For example, ask yourself the question: does our proposed solution work only for Medicare technology, or could it be adapted for other sectors, say LegalTech and also maybe Sales Enablement?

Being able to feel such nuances of the market in your bones will dictate your company’s rate and direction of organic growth. In short, timing is everything.

Skilled entrepreneurs finding themselves in the right place at the right time isn’t just luck; because when it comes to luck you make your own. It all depends on how far you want to roll your sleeves up.

A lot of entrepreneurs find it difficult to balance their work and personal lives. How have you found that?

I need to be nakedly honest here. I can’t profess to have achieved a work/life balance that many people would find acceptable.

I work too hard, it’s true. But for me, the rough and tumble of running a start-up, being responsible for the jobs and perhaps livelihoods of the people I take on, is the juice of life.

I want to take all those people with me to share my success because when someone puts their trust in me, I could never let them down. It’s almost like a patriarch being responsible for several generations of his children.

But on a lighter note, this is probably a question you should ask my long-suffering partner Julie! I do work very hard indeed because I always live by the ethos that an entrepreneur lives like others won’t so that they can live the rest of their lives like others can’t.

That said, I always schedule time for myself – reading, tennis, bowling, short trips away etc. Also, every weekend I make sure I set aside a few hours to go walking with Julie and our Yorkshire Terrier dogs in the foothills of the Cypriot mountains where I live.

Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?

Soffos started as a coffee shop conversation between myself and a serial entrepreneur friend of mine who shared my general opinion that education is nowhere near ‘democratic’ enough.

We felt that we could augment and empower teachers to enable a decent education for everyone on the planet.

We both saw that modern internet technology and Natural Language Processing, combined with computational linguistics can achieve that reach, even for those in developing countries who don’t currently have access to even basic classrooms and educational resources.

So, we built an AI toolset for that, but soon realized that there was a much broader applicability and trying to achieve huge worldwide goals in the company’s early years was like trying to boil the ocean with a Primus stove.

We couldn’t do all of it, obviously. So Soffos then became a platform, allowing others to easily built EdTech solutions and other products. One day we feel sure that the technology we liberate with our APIs will reach the less fortunate as we originally intended.

What do you think is your magic sauce? What sets you apart from the competitors?

At Soffos, our specialty is helping organizations create pioneering apps with conversational artificial intelligence (CAI) and natural language processing (NLP) at their core.

NLP and conversational AI are at the heart of everything Soffos does. Using Soffos’ technology, we offer a suite of unique application programming interfaces (APIs) so businesses can choose the natural language functionalities they would like to include in any kind of application.

Our solution provides businesses with the “building blocks” and core technologies required to build countless novel NLP applications, with minimal coding, from learning and assessment tools to knowledge management platforms and beyond.

The opportunities with Soffos Platform are infinite. Our development work in advanced NLP technology can be of use for almost anything related to NLP, conversational AI, cognitive AI, and all related fields.

What sets Soffos apart is that we’ve taken the most advanced technology, enhanced it with our own R&D and then made it so easy to use that it is accessible to everyone.

Another strength of our tech is the modular component approach to AI/ML where even the most difficult natural language processing can be addressed with low code, hence obviating the need for a team of data scientists and statisticians on your payroll.

How have you found sales so far? Do you have any lessons you could pass on to other founders in the same market as you just starting out?

One of our biggest learnings on the sales side has been that the technology and tech jargon that is so familiar and exciting for us, can be intimidating and uninteresting for our potential business users.

On the one hand, we’ve done more to introduce and educate on key technical terms when they come up. More importantly, we’ve pulled our main messaging away from the technical details and shifted it to the challenges and solutions of our target clients. That has been critical and game-changing.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far in your business, and how did you overcome it?

There were several significant issues to address: First of all, everything takes longer to develop than you anticipate, so you encounter cash flow problems, our solution was to cut down on costs until revenue started to flow.

Getting investment was similarly difficult in that we had no traction to show, so we kept on changing direction, pivoting a few times until we found the right path, which was to focus on what we do best, creating powerful NLP APIs, and packaging them as modular components.

What do you consider are the main strengths of operating your business in Texas over other states in the US?

When one looks at operating a business in Texas versus other states, Texas is fair, has a pro-business climate, is home to a multitude of Fortune 500 companies, has no state income taxes, houses really good schools, has great research institutions, has new infrastructure throughout, the people are friendly, and it’s the 9th largest economy in the world.

Texas also has various competitive business advantages including no corporate or personal income tax and easy access to world markets.

Texas won the Governor’s Cup (for top-performing states with regard to job creation and capital investment) for ten years running; and also holds the title of the Best State for Business for the past 18 consecutive years.

Texas is also a state known as a tech hub for its support of AI-powered solutions.

Are there any disadvantages of operating our business in Texas?

I can’t think of anything that would affect business operations other than the fact that property taxes can be a little high which would indirectly affect a business via its employees.

But many people work remotely nowadays, so you can still do business in Texas if you wish without having to live there.

Texas has a pretty diverse population. How have you found the quickly changing demographics have impacted your business? Have you got new opportunities? Managed to expand your business into new areas?

No these demographic changes haven’t really affected us at all. The state changed from largely being agrarian to highly technical as it is now, and one thing is true about Texas: it’s always changing, and it seems that the people embrace that ethos—even if they weren’t born here.

So, as a company, we continue to benefit from being in this great state. Also, Soffos supports and thrives on diversity and inclusivity.

Members of the Soffos team are all from diverse backgrounds. The business that is done by Soffos in AI in providing companies with building blocks of NLP APIs is certainly apolitical and we go to great lengths to ensure that the way our AI interprets and generates natural language contains no culture bias.

It is often reported that, in Texas, politics and business are intertwined. Have you noticed this? Has it impacted your business?

Absolutely. There’s only one important color in Texas, the color of money, and that’s green!

Businesses want to make money here, and the taxation regime and business-centric laws make being based in Texas a pretty simple recipe for success.

With rising prices across Texas (and the US as a whole) have you been impacted? Do you have a plan for dealing with inflation going forward?

We’re cautiously optimistic about inflation going forward and think that the Fed will ultimately be able to tamp down inflation.

What does concern us is stagflation, but the good thing is that we operate a high-growth business and believe we can outrun any potential future stagflation issues.

What do you want to accomplish in the next 5 years with your business?

We would like to become a ‘household name’ in corporate L&D, perhaps acquire some players in the same space, and continue our R&D to truly have our NLP pass the Turing Test.

Above all, we’d like our tech to enable thousands of businesses to build great products that gather and impart knowledge, which, in some measure, will help to make the world a better place.

And finally, if people want to get involved and learn more about your business, how should they do that?

There is a contact form on our website whereby you can register for our newsletter, send us a free text message or arrange a free demo – we welcome any communication from potential customers or those who might become future employees. Link:

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