They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree — and in this case, it certainly didn’t.
Both of Sunny Bajaj’s parents were entrepreneurs. At the ripe old age of 25, Bajaj became one, too, when he founded his mobile solution startup DMI.
That was in 2002. Bajaj was the only employee at his tech company, and that first year, he said, DMI barely brought in a dollar in revenue.
Today, the Bethesda, Md.-based company has grown to over 2,000 employees and Bajaj said he expects to bring in around $450 million in revenue this year.
DMI works with both its public and private sector clients to integrate tech into their company strategies, with a focus on utilizing mobile platforms.
“My initial charter and focus was on the federal government, helping them modernize their legacy systems,” Bajaj said. “We did a pretty good job of growing a federal presence and doing a lot of next generational modernization of legacy IT systems.”
Bajaj bootstrapped his way for the first three years.
“I would have meetings in my office and it was literally like two employees at the time, but I didn’t want people to think we were small,” he said. “I’d have friends or family come in to the office and sit in front of a computer or at a reception desk so people would think we were a big, legitimate company.”
It didn’t take long to get there. The company has evolved vastly and quickly since its beginnings.
By 2007, they had 50 employees on the team and were named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies in the U.S. By 2012, they had over 1,200 employees and were named to the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies.
Today, the company boasts over 300 active enterprise clients and works with all 15 federal cabinet offices.
Alongside their internal growth, DMI has also had to quickly adapt to an evolving tech industry — but, of course, that’s one of the main challenges tech companies face nowadays.
“… Timing is everything,” Bajaj said. “The reason that we’ve been able to do it right is because we’re at the size point where I’m not one of those big large consulting companies or system integrators like Booz Allen or Accenture. Because I’m smaller, I’m a lot more nimble and agile and closer to where the technology is headed.”
“If we don’t keep up with the latest and greatest, our competitors will,” he added.
That’s why, five years ago, he shifted DMI’s gears.
“I made the conscious decision that federal contracting is great, but there’s a whole world out there of mobility. Everything being mobile first, mobile-centric,” he said. “We went out and made a bunch of acquisitions, grew our commercial business quite a bit.”
Bajaj said in the last few months, the company has made a more focused effort on the Internet of Things and on enterprise transformation.
“I think they say that by the end of this year, there will be over 5 billion devices connected in the Internet of Things, so there’s a huge opportunity out there because each connected device is an opportunity for data collection,” he said.
“If we don’t keep up with the latest and greatest, our competitors will.”
With the mobile boom, they’re making a concerted effort to help both their public and private sector clients embrace the efficiency that mobile solutions can bring.
But with the needs for a commercial client being so different from that of a government one, the way those solutions play out can vary.
“70 percent of the IT span [for federal contracts] is maintaining legacy systems, just keeping the lights on,” he said. “Whether it’s the system that processes visa applications or cranks out the GDP number every month, it’s kind of like helping them with a road map for keeping the systems active.”
Government contracts do sometimes call for an optimization of operations, though, he said. They’re working with the Mine Safety and Health Administration, for example, to automate the coal mine inspection process by giving the inspectors tablets so they can input the data directly into the system.
On the commercial side, there’s more room for creativity. They’ve worked with one of their clients, Under Armour, for example, to create high engagement areas in new stores, like their coming flagship location in New York’s FAO Schwartz.
“They reached out like, ‘How do we create a really cool, engaging brick and mortar experience?’,” Bajaj said. “We’re trying to get [their customers] to stay in the store longer, creating this whole in-store experience for them, leveraging digital and mobile.”
They’ve played around with in-store gaming, playing off of Under Armour’s new clothing with sensors inside. One shirt, for example, can tell you how fast you throw a ball and at what velocity. DMI is using Under Armour’s existing technology advances to build on the in-store experience they offer their customers.
Regardless of the client, though, their approach remains the same.
“The real approach we take is, ‘I’m not here to sell you something.’ But we’re the experts. We know this whole mobility space, connected world real well. Let us sit down with you and ideate.”
Images courtesy of DMI