Business Integrator – Black Enterprise

Business Integrator

Of all the advantages POWERi Technologies Inc. offers its customers, perhaps the most critical is the firm’s ability to clearly translate its clients’ objectives into effective interactive marketing strategies. That’s the thrust behind POWERi President David Andrade’s drive to acquire new accounts and maintain a competitive edge over conventional Web development firms. The Plantation, Florida-based firm opened in 2001 and has managed to grow business in the travel and tourism sector in spite of the industry slowdown following 9-11. POWERi posted $1 million in revenues in 2003. Andrade projects revenues of $1.4 million in 2004.

“My partners and I realized that there were very few companies in the Southeast that had three lines of business: a technology-based company within the advertising agency industry that could also provide a marketing strategy and graphic design services,” says Andrade. “We decided to roll all three services under one umbrella, giving our company a chance to provide one kind of service well and then introducing customers to another service — a strategy that reduces our own marketing costs,” he adds.

POWERi has 13 employees and satellite offices in Florida, North Carolina, the Bahamas, Toronto, and British Columbia. (Most of the Web design work occurs in Canada to take advantage of the exchange rate.) Andrade, 38, a University of Pennsylvania engineering graduate, obtained a business degree at the Wharton School of Business and an M.B.A. from Columbia University. He relocated to South Florida in 1993, securing a job as the vice president of operations and marketing with the National Council on Compensation Insurance Inc., a leading provider of workers compensation insurance data and research information.

Having spent eight years at NCCI, gaining strategic marketing contacts such as executives in the professional sports and travel and tourism industries, Andrade quit his job to launch POWERi. Andrade, who has an 85% financial stake in the company, put $59,500 of his savings into the venture. The other 15% of the firm is owned by four silent partners, who invested another $10,500 in seed money for a total of $70,000 in startup costs.

The company’s first big break was landing the Miami Dolphins as a customer. The NFL team’s management had 17 different databases, including one for purchasing tickets, another for buying sports merchandise and memorabilia, and one that supported online registration (for receiving a monthly electronic newsletter). POWERi devised a solution, which included installing a customer relationship management system that combined the team’s 17 systems into one large database. This gave the Dolphins’ sales and marketing departments a consolidated view of the purchasing behavior of their customers and season ticket holders, allowing their customized, one-to-one marketing campaigns to be more effective.

Although the Dolphins’ management liked what they saw, there was a snag — they wanted the system “gratis.” The organization felt that POWERi had to prove itself since the team was its first client. Andrade agreed: “We wanted [them] on our client list. And we were so confident in what we could do, we knew this would turn into repeat business.” Today, the