Dharani Ramamoorthy, CEO and Founder of Xylo Technologies Inc.
Minority-Owned Business Finalist
To better highlight the impressive members of the small business community, we sat down with the 2019 Dream Big Award finalists to learn more about their startup stories, the challenges they have faced, and what the future of business looks like to them. We chatted with Dharani Ramamoorthy, CEO and founder of Minnesota-based Xylo Technologies, an IT consulting firm with a wide range of clients and services and a vibrant company culture. Here is what Dharani had to say (what follows has been lightly edited for length and clarity):
Q: What inspired the creation of your business? What problem does it help to solve?
I founded Xylo Technologies, Inc. in the year 2000. I started my career as an IT consultant and worked with different clients in Rochester, Minnesota for more than eight years. During these years I noticed that there was a huge disconnect in servicing the needs of clients and what was being provided in the existing market. I was convinced that this gap could be filled effectively. This was the spark that led to the formation of Xylo Technologies, a compelling success story that exemplifies the American dream. Even though I come from an agricultural background, I chose to take the road less traveled. With absolute determination and confidence I ventured into the world of business and there was no looking back. At Xylo, we strongly believe in providing a unique, unparalleled experience to clients, employees and partners. When sourcing client IT staffing needs, we absolutely ensure that the resources we provide are technically qualified as well as a great cultural fit to our clients. This enables our clients to complete projects within time and on budget. We also ensure that our employees are assigned the right projects, which meet their career goals. At the end of their assignments, clients can hire our employees. This has enabled Xylo to be a trusted partner in IT staffing services to our clients, which include Fortune 500 companies and government agencies.
Q: What is the greatest challenge you faced while building your company and how did you overcome it?
The IT staffing industry is very competitive. Initially when Xylo commenced business with Mayo Clinic, Xylo was placed as a third-tier vendor, which means that business flows to us only when the first two-tier vendors are not able to meet the needs of the client. We had to work three times as hard to get business, but we fervently and diligently did our very best and, within two years, Xylo was elevated to a preferred vendor status. Even though our competition consisted of several large vendors with a national presence, we were able to succeed by:
- Thoroughly understanding clients’ technical requirements
- Using effective screening tools to employ best in the market
- Assigning employees to the right projects, which meets their career goals
- Coaching and training our employees to fit our client's culture and environment
- Competitive pricing structure and large partner network
During the recession, while all businesses cut back on employee pay and implemented hiring freezes, Xylo continued hiring good talent and expanded its business by adding new clients.
Q: What impact do you hope your business has on society as it grows?
The very reason and purpose for our business is to provide jobs and impact the growth of the economy. Better jobs mean better quality of life. At Xylo, we treasure the moments when we are able to attract best quality talent for our clients. Being very passionate about this has enabled us to provide over 950 jobs over the past 19 years.
Q: If selected as the winner of the Dream Big Small Business of the Year Award, how will you invest the $25,000 grand prize?
To be a winner of the Dream Big Small Business of the Year Award is itself a great honor and privilege. We would like to donate the grand prize to our community partners (Rochester Chamber of Commerce, Black Data Process Associates) who inspire and empower our workforce. We support initiatives like STEM summit, high school science fairs, local high school robotic squads, and Leadership Greater Rochester community projects. A small portion of the prize will be utilized to celebrate our success with our employees who made this possible.
Q: What words of advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
First, congratulations on your courageous decision to be an entrepreneur. Become a member of your local chamber of commerce, which gives you access to endless opportunities of networking and helps you expand your business. Actively participate in events organized by the chamber. Learn from fellow professionals. Learn from the experiences of other small businesses. Dream Big. Pursue your passion. Hard work is always rewarded. Never give up.
To learn more about the 2019 Dream Big Award finalists, click here.