When Pat Sabatino set out to launch a technology enterprise in Providence, his neighbors told him he wouldn’t find anyone to hire.
Sabatino, CEO and founder of Datarista, has worked for larger tech companies and startups his whole career. He knows the perks that coincide with working for an startup, and he thought people in Rhode Island would be interested in working for the company he’s building.
Datarista, which was founded in 2015, keeps its headquarters in Providence. The emerging firm has seven employees today. Sabatino says he’s found success hiring talented developers in Rhode Island, despite the naysayers.
Datarista aims to relieve a pain point in sales and marketing data management. Data providers’ customers often put sales and marketing data in cloud-based customer relationship management systems, which are hard to move data in and out of. Datarista’s software platform helps customers integrate sales and marketing data into the cloud — eliminating inefficient processes frequently used today.
“I recognized there was a gap and we could provide a critical platform for the data industry,” Sabatino says.
Sabatino wants to ramp up business over the next six-to-12 months. The company is transitioning to a growth and revenue phase after launching the platform last year. Once the company has more monthly recurring revenue, Sabatino plans to seek a Series A investment round to invest more in the product, technology and sales.
The company has raised $2.6 million in funding to date, according to Crunchbase. Providence-based Slater Technology Fund has invested in Datarista. Other investors include two investment funds: Boulevard Investment Group III and Marker Hill Capital II.
Sabatino says finding talent in Rhode Island to fuel Datarista’s growth hasn’t been hard. He’s already hired two developers who were commuting to Boston daily.
“I pulled two developers off of trains,” Sabatino says. “They were not commuting to Boston because they loved trains.”
When asked how he sold his firm to the developers, Sabatino’s answer was simple. No one likes commuting, he says. And he’s speaking from experience. Sabatino used to work for companies on the West Coast and would spend two weeks at home and the third week in the Bay Area.
“I recognized there was a gap and we could provide a critical platform for the data industry.”
“All I had to do was advertise I had a job and they came here,” Sabatino says about the two developers he hired. “I had a chance for them here and they didn’t have to commute to Boston. They were thrilled to get off a train.”
But, Sabatino adds, it’s not really just about the commute: it’s that Datarista posed a unique opportunity for these employees. It had equity in new technology, and the kind of energy specific to a startup.
The entrepreneur says Rhode Island has tech talent, but the state needs more startups and innovative companies to give people a reason to stay in the area. He’s not worried about finding enough talent down the road as his startup expands. He sees Brown University as an asset for the region’s startup ecosystem.
“People leave Brown after they graduate because the jobs aren’t here,” Sabatino says. “I had a day recently with a whole bunch of students asking to intern [with Datarista]. They like the city. They want to stay.”
Editor’s Note: Sabatino and Datarista are Rhode Island Inno 50 on Fire finalists. Read the whole story on the awards event here.