Dominic Dinardo, CEO & co-founder of Aforza
We catch up with Domonic Dinardo, who recently launched a cloud solutions company targeted at the consumer goods market. He tells us more about the business and its plans for the future.
TD: Can you tell me more about yourself and your business?
DD: My name is Dominic Dinardo, and I am a 17 year veteran of the Cloud having started with Salesforce in 2002. I was promoted up the ranks in Salesforce, and when I left, I was the Global SVP for Solution Engineering.
After leaving Salesforce in 2012, I led European operations for successful Salesforce Partners, Veeva and Vlocity. It was my experiences in Veeva & Vlocity where I gained experience in industry cloud, particuarly cloud-based solutions that are dedicated to specific vertical industries like pharmaceuticals or telecommunications.
In April 2019, together with my co-founders Nick Eales and Ed Butterworth, we started a cloud company of our own. Aforza is a modern, 21st century industry cloud vendor dedicated to the consumer goods (CG) sector.
TD: What products/services have you developed, and what makes them different?
DD: Aforza is building out a suite of applications for CG Companies, from retail execution (selling products) through to digital asset management (labelling) and more. Aforza has 3 key unique tenets.
Intelligent – we use artificial intelligence & machine learning to improve sales and reduce errors.
Complete – we have a suite of interconnected products that link HQs to their teams in the field. This makes the effective use of CG data so much more powerful.
Everywhere – our solutions will work when connected to the internet, but also when they are offline too. Ultimately, we want to produce very disruptive solutions – everything from advanced AI producing better sales Orders through to Uber-like apps that help utilise the gig economy for extended reach in product distribution.
TD: Why did you set your company up?
DD: Unfortunately, in 2008, my father passed away. His funeral took place in a church, St Cadocs in Newton Mearns, a church he had been the structural engineer for its construction.
At that time, it hit me. He has left something behind that stands beyond his own mortality and contributes to society. I wanted to do that too. So, when we set up Aforza, yes, we had a burning ambition to build a great company; yes, we wanted to make amazing products, but our software solutions will reduce waste and pollution too.
We didn’t just want to go build a company, make money and create more problems for society – one of Aforza’s core values is “human”, we want to leave the world a better place because of all of our work. This is important to all Aforza employees.
TD: What has your journey as an entrepreneur/technologist been like?
DD: Too long. I wish I’d done this 10 years ago. I learned a lot working in Salesforce and being inspired by leaders like Marc Benioff. Those lessons are paying off now.
TD: What’s been your biggest success and biggest challenge?
DD: Building our R&D team in Cardiff has been a super rewarding. We assembled a team of real subject matter experts and cranked out product in 15 weeks. We are demonstrating our minimum-viable-product (MVP) to potential customers all over the world.
I am used to fast paced software environments, but I think this might be the fastest one we’ve done yet. Our biggest challenge happened before we started. It was getting funding. This was new to us and it took longer than we thought, right up until the moment when someone said “yes”, and then it suddenly it came together very quickly & we were off!
TD: What have you learnt on the way? And what advice would you give to others?
DD: I think the most pervasive aligning force in a business where you are building a company is the vision and values. Aligning on the company vision and values is critical when you are a small embryonic team. As more people join, communication inevitably gets stretched; how to stay aligned? If we are all aligned on vision and values, then most things will slot into place.
TD: Where next for you and your business?
Now that we have our minimum viable product, we are seeking our charter customers. We just recently won an invitation to make a proposal for a field trial. Once we have a customer in production, it’s GROW – GROW – GROW!!! And then grow again, but QUICKER!