Mr. Andy Altahawi, Laying the Foundation for Startups to Succeed
“I’ve got the best job in the world, “ Mr. Andy Altahawi says. “I’m the guy who helps new businesses open their doors. Every day, my clients leave my office on top of the world because they can finally go public with the idea they’ve been working so hard to make a reality. It’s a great feeling to be able to help someone do that.”
Mr. Altahawi is the owner of a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs who need help getting through the complex process of getting their businesses off the ground. With his decades of experience in law and finance, he helps startups understand the legalities associated with structuring, mergers and acquisitions, building and selling syndicate groups, private offerings, SEC filings, regulatory filings, and going public.
Mr. Altahawi’s professional experience is extensive. From 1994-2018, he excelled in corporate finance and was an investment banker, working for Prudential Securities in the 1990s. After Prudential Securities, he started his own boutique investment bank in 1998, Adamson Brothers, which grew to ten offices around the country and had about 300 employees. Adamson Brothers has played a big role in the industry by helping many startups raise capital and go public.
Mr. Altahawi has been practicing law since 1988. “I’ve always practiced law, even when I was a banker, when I used to file and approve companies going public with the SEC,” he explains. “I am an international attorney/litigator and have handled complex litigation in business and other areas of law for decades. Today, my legal and financial consultant business focuses on helping startups with everything they need, including building syndicate networks for successful fundraising. I am an expert in all aspects of the public offering process as well.”
One reason Mr. Altahawi has been so successful with his business is because he has had his own share of startups. In addition to Adamson Brothers, he founded Lavish TV, a fashion TV network, and Dandana TV, a music TV network. “Because I have been through the startup process myself, I understand what new entrepreneurs face,” Mr. Altahawi says. “It gives me the ability to see the process from their perspective and really help them through it.”
Mr. Altahawi has faced challenges along the way to becoming a success in his industry. “The hurdles I’ve faced have arisen because the speed of economic and technological changes means that the right path yesterday may not work today. It could even be a disaster by tomorrow. Solving this means I’ve been able to excel while other companies have had to close their doors.”
No matter how busy Mr. Altahawi is, he keeps one eye on the future. “I believe I am on the right track to incubate a few potential unicorns that will solve problems and create wealth in the next five years. They are disruptive. Nearly all unicorns have disrupted their industries. Think of Netflix, which transformed how we rent videos. Unicorns are often the first to market their idea. They tend to maintain that first-mover advantage by constantly innovating and expanding their product or service. I love working with startups that have big ideas. There’s nothing more exciting than that.”
One of Mr. Altahawi’s recent startup projects is Nowigence, Inc. Mr. Altahawi is an early investor in the company in addition to his role as its legal and capital market advisor, for which he handles all its SEC regulatory filings, structuring, building its fundraising network, and working on its product development. Mr. Altahawi says, “I believe in Nowigence and its capable management team. This company is poised to disrupt the AI market.” Nowigence is a fast-growing SaaS company that develops and sells a ready-to-use artificial intelligence (AI) robot called PluarisTM. Its human-like capabilities allow it to comprehend data with precision when retrieving, extracting, and analyzing information; benchmarking; and creating outputs for its users in real time. Mr. Altahawi believes that Nowigence is a unicorn, and the company is planning to offer its shares to the public in 2021.
Entrepreneurship and its possibilities intrigue Mr. Altahawi, and he sees five industries as being full of potential. “AI is the tech sector to be in right now,” he says. “Its technology transcends all others. The COVID-19 pandemic has done little to alter the prediction that in seven years, AI’s market value will rise nearly 1,000% to $266 billion. As for healthtech/biotech, this industry has a lot of funding opportunities, so that will be big, too. Watch out for space tech! This is an exciting and disruptive space for a startup. You’ll see opportunities in satellites and space debris removal, among others. Edtech will grow. School and university closures around the world were one of the biggest fallouts from the recent pandemic. For many entrepreneurs, COVID-19 merely solidified the view that education is in desperate need of technology disruption.”
Having attained success with his business, Mr. Altahawidy enjoys giving other entrepreneurs suggestions on how to bring their ideas to market. “Make sure you’re solving a problem. You don’t just want to build a solution because you think the technology or the product is cool. Also, understand your market and your customer; you need to know their habits, what they’re like, how they perceive the problem you’re solving, and if they are open to your solution. And, of course, be sure that customers really are willing to pay for your product.
“Remember, though, that creating value isn’t sufficient. As a business person, you need to capture value. You need to understand your revenue model and how money comes in the door.”
Today, even with all the success that Mr. Altahawi has achieved, he never ceases to smile when he tells a client their business is ready to go. “The happiness on their face is indescribable,” he says. “I’ll never forget that.”