Aaron Salow of XOi Technologies

An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Aaron Salow, the co-founder and CEO of XOi Technologies, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of XOi Technologies – what problem were you trying to solve and why?

There are more than 7 million unfilled skilled trade positions today in the United States, and the skilled trades gap is the biggest issue that blue-collar companies face today. I started XOi to tackle that problem head-on.

These companies need an answer to the question: “In the face of the skilled trades gap, how do we grow, and how do we do it profitably?”.

This is a personal mission for me. I grew up around my family’s factory and spent some great years working there. It’s made me an evangelist for the skilled trades and the blue-collar workers who keep our country running.

We started XOi to help technicians work more efficiently and effectively through the use of photo and video documentation and real-time remote video support.

In recent weeks, as the COVID-19 outbreak has taken hold, we’ve realized these capabilities have been extremely beneficial in helping our customers provide the highest level of service while keeping physical interactions to a minimum.

We understand onsite visits will always be part of the job, but to do our part to slow the spread of the virus, we’ve been rolling out free access to the XOi Vision app.

What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?

The challenge of creating a technology platform that is beneficial for the technician and the office. One of our early challenges was looking for an opportunity to truly serve the technician in what they did every single day, whether it’s removing the need for notes, covering their butts while they are doing their job, or giving them the opportunity to find information more readily and quickly. We do all this while also benefiting the business in ways like increasing sales or being a differentiator to the customer – the balance of those two is one of the hardest challenges in the business and we work every single day through every department of XOi to ensure that we are doing that balance effectively. Another big hurdle is how we market the product, sell the product, build the product, and ensure that customer success and client support are aligned around the service of the product. This is one of the largest roadblocks that we have and continue to look for innovative ways to solve.

What does the future hold for XOi Technologies?

We’re committed to solving the skilled trades gap by providing businesses with readily available information. We’re creating decentralized knowledge hubs that technicians can access with a touch of a button or voice commands.

That’s where we’re headed. We envision an “Alexa for field service” conversational interface that can serve up resources in response to natural conversation.

Meanwhile, we remain committed to not just providing the best technology for our clients, but to helping them thrive. We pride ourselves on the tight-knit relationships we maintain with them, enabling us to respond to their needs and provide them the resources they need to promote themselves. We help them provide customers with a transparent deliverable and quality of work that their competitors don’t.

What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Nashville?

We love the tech scene in Nashville and work hard to stay engaged. We enjoy participating in and sponsoring a variety of local tech and engineering events, and being able to engage with Nashville’s community of startup leaders has been especially impactful for me. In the midst of this pandemic, and the resulting recessionary time in our economy, it’s so helpful to have other business leaders to rely on, lean on, and get ideas from. These are brilliant people who are facing and overcoming the same challenges and concerns that we are.

The leadership team at XOi finds it extremely beneficial to be able to collaborate and connect with other leaders in the Nashville community through sharing ideas, getting and giving advice, and being able to support each other. That is what’s unique about this ecosystem. It’s based on the southern heritage of the community coming together and helping people in tough times. We saw the same thing in the aftermath of the tornadoes that hit the area just weeks ago. We’re seeing people step up in the same ways during the pandemic we’re facing.

What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Good people are always the core. It’s the best and hardest part of business. The other big advice I’d give to aspiring entrepreneurs is to have a personal support system. What it takes to build a company is an incredible amount of sacrifice, and the ability to have that support infrastructure of family and friends (through what’s a marathon and not a sprint) is crucial for success. I would advise anyone looking to start a business to have that in place and to have that conversation because you are going on a long journey that takes a lot of deep passion, love, and sacrifice.

 

For more exclusive interviews, see our full Profile of a Founder series

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