We talked to Bassem Sameh of Interact Labs about their 1st Innovative product – TACT and this is what he had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Bassem Sameh: It’s a hard time for all of us, but thanks God, we are good.
Tell us about you, your career, how you joined Interact Labs.
Bassem Sameh: I Knew Mohamed Samir, the CEO, for a long time as we were on the same faculty but in a different year. I was following his progress since the product was a graduation project in 2012.
Well, I am an engineer with good business and management skills, which make me motivated in a project management career path, especially innovative projects. I worked in many places as a Project Manager & Scrum Master for some well-known software companies in Egypt, which pushed me up to continue improving my skills. While my job in software companies, I supported Interact Labs as a part-time job in the operation department.
On the 1st of May 2019, Mohamed Samir asked me to join the startup as Co-founder and be the Product Manager and responsible for all product cycles starting from supply chain to after-sales support.
How does Interact Labs innovate?
Bassem Sameh: Well, we develop hardware and software products, and our 1st Innovative product is TACT. TACT Kit is an Infrared detector and electronic pen that can transform any huge monitor into an interactive surface. With the stylus, you can use visual aids, Interactive tools, access the Internet, record lessons & control any computer application you would use a mouse with (PowerPoint, Excel, Word, and many more).
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Bassem Sameh: Yes, we are affected because we couldn’t sell any kit for 5 months, and that impacted our cash flow and 2020 plan, which make us unable to pay the full salaries. We faced difficult choices, but as we are family and more than just employee, we made a series of meetings and use this period to enhance our strategy and make more researches and developments in our product which and make a huge step in by adding the below features:
· Make the product so much easy to use and to setup.
· Become plug and play
· Adding Multi-user feature up to 4 users can collaborate together at the same time.
· Enhancing its quality and outstanding performance
· Provide over air updates for our clients and enjoy the new features without the need to buy a new kit, which helped us to have a new business model and generate revenue from upgrading old versions kits
· Release a new wireless version.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Bassem Sameh: As a hardware startup that was such a big problem, especially when most of the hardware companies start to shut down, we face the following:
· Not selling during Covid impacted our cash flow, which made us unable to pay the team salaries and operational costs such as rent and so on but as we are one family, we overcome this situation by sacrificing together with part of salaries not to let any team member leave and here we are together and continue our journey.
· Focused on developing our product very fast and release a new enhanced version which surprised our clients and a new one.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Bassem Sameh: By trusting each other in each department, appreciating our work and believing that we will survive and that’s what happened we abled to achieve 60 % of our sales target for this year in quarters 3 and 4. This gave us a push to continue and continue attracting investors and Impress them with our success story.
We are happy to have new big well-known clients such as Sanofi, GSK, BMW, and American University in Cairo using TACT.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Bassem Sameh: Tact competes directly with:
– Chinese solutions on Amazon
Tact competes indirectly with different alternatives such as:
– Electronic boards ex: (Smart, Promethean, Hitachi, IQ board)
– Interactive projectors ex: (Epson, Promethean)
– Touch screens ex: (Samsung, DELL)
– All in one panels ex: (Cisco, BENQ, Hitachi, Samsung)
But what makes tact is different:
1. The continuous development of our product based on clients feedback
2. product quality which measured based on High speed, High accuracy, High reliability, and availability
3. Compatible with any tv screen, any projector, and software
4. transforming customized projected area up to 150 inches to be interactive
5. Good after-sales support either offline or online
6. Affordable price, good customer reviews, and cost-effectiveness
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