My Informational Interview was with Mr. Vaheed Ghafari, AssetCare Connected Solutions Manager, employed by mCloud Technologies Corp. I’ve emailed him and we had Zoom meeting for about 40 min. mCloud Technologies Corp has open job post for Product Marketing Manager in Calgary, AB. Ideally, they are looking for a candidate experienced in taking innovative software products, and solutions to market. Role entails leading planning, creation, and delivery of product marketing toolkits that will drive interest and promote the growth of AssetCare™, their AI-powered asset management platform. This role would, also, require close collaboration with product development, technology and sales teams across North America, the UK and European Union, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Greater China.

HQ of the company is in Vancouver but they were planning to move to Calgary. Currently, company has 80 employees in Alberta, with offices in both Edmonton and Calgary, with a plan hiring double the amount. Russ McMeekin, is the CEO of mCloud. They work with clients like Suncor, Bank of America and Starbucks.

According to their website company mission is” … creating a more efficient future through the use of AI and analytics. By tapping into the power of data, we are curbing energy waste, maximizing power production, and getting the most out of critical energy infrastructure.”

Their products are from 3 main domains: AssetCare (Connected Assets, Connected Workers, and AssetCare Enterprise), Technical Services, and ESG (Environmental Social Governance). They are ardent in marketing AssetCare, as the only asset management platform combining IoT, AI, and the cloud to ensure that assets continuously operate at peak performance. It’s a software company in the IoT space, which uses sophisticated analytics and algorithms to make existing infrastructure more efficient, helping businesses to operate more intelligently. mCloud’s current focus is on energy assets; for example, helping an office building maintain a uniform temperature by controlling HVAC units in a way that helps curb energy waste or ensuring a wind farm’s turbines are maximizing production. And — at a relatively low cost. This is done by utilizing IoT sensors to bring data from connected assets into the cloud, where AI and analytics are applied to maximize their performance through the Company’s AssetCare solution. By leveraging data from IoT sensors, AssetCare can help customers curb energy and create energy optimization solutions, specifically in helping to curb energy usage in older buildings where it is not cost effective to implement a complete HVAC system update.

It’s one of 394 public companies in the “Prepackaged software” industry. Company went public, and according to their website, as of April 22, mCloud market shares are trading at $2. 83 (NASDAQ: MCLD), with the target price of $6.00. The company has a quick ratio of 0.40, a current ratio of 0.34 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.35; 12-month low of $3.25 and a 12-month high of $5.01. The stock has a 50-day moving average price of $4.02. As market is very volatile, and because of the economy downturn, they cut their price objective from $9.0 to $6.0.

Some of the companies that are nearby competitors being similar in business line (“Prepackaged software”) are: 24SevenOffice Group AB, Cerence, Divestco, Enghouse Systems, Esker, Exxe Group, GungHo Online Entertainment, Jackpot Digital, Lectra, and Megaport. One particularly: MetaCloud Inc. that designs and deploys private clouds software solutions. It challenges the existing cloud computing model with a new decentralized alternative — the pool of computational resources is not provided by centralized parties, but aggregates, contributed by a large cohort of independent individuals. Primary target is to connect individuals and organizations, enabling them to rent and lease their otherwise dormant and unused computational resources, at ease. Their platform enables two-way protections for both the requesters and the resource providers, privacy and security protections to guard the infrastructure against hacking and breaching.

Mr. Vaheed role is an AssetCare Connected Solutions Manager. He began his career with a role in Project Planning, then moved to Project Management team. After the company that he worked for, was acquired by mCloude (from Silicon Valley), he, after persuading the company leaders to change his role, then continued his career in a Product Management team. He already had technical knowledge (previously working as a developer), combined with an excellent people skill, so, it was only natural for him to join the Tech team. Products are designed for 2 different groups of customers: those who ask for a product that they will use by themselves (self-serve type of product), and the other one, that purchase final product and is offered service on the side. To be able to provide services to both groups, and more friendly environment for the user experience, they created a group of applications called management console. With this console / panel they manage configuration aspects of all the other products: think of settings application on your phone, you go into another application and configure the main application, using that app, so, that helps you configure it and make the product what you want it to be. Management panel is the product that he is working on, presently. He contemplates the role of a Project Manager as a very complex one because you need to be expert on various levels: expert on your own product, on all of your competitor’s products, expert in communication with stakeholders (inside and outside of the company), and expert in discerning what your customers think they want, and what they really need. He elaborates then, that as a Product Manager you don’t need to know coding, you have an engineering team to do it, but you need to understand logic behind it, and the work that they are doing, hence, being able to understand their challenges. Also, you need to understand some financial terms of your product (cost, overhead, profit margin, etc.), even though there is a financing team, for you, to be able to communicate using that terminology. Beside these 2 aspects when working on a product, the rest of the job is communication. Speaking about the way of making yourself familiar within the area, there are lot of resources that are available and for free, and you learn as you go through the process of building your product, being enough smart to listen, and learn from your colleagues. As much as he likes his job, there is one challenge that he comes upon, and that’s being shy and not very much into broader circle of communication; and in order to do this job, you need to gather feedbacks on your product development, and validation from your customers / stakeholders. But doing it every day, he is becoming more used to it.

That would be my first informational interview, and I’ve learned a lot. Just by listening and being genuinely interested / curious. AND, also, by having an excellent interviewer, whose job is his passion. If only all the interviews were like this …..

References:

(https://www.mcloudcorp.com/)

(https://www.etfdailynews.com/2022/04/14/maxim-group-trims-mcloud-technologies-nasdaqmcld-target-price-to-6-00/)

(https://incfact.com/company/mcloudtechnologiesusa-sanfrancisco-ca/)

(https://www.etfdailynews.com/2022/03/13/mcloud-technologies-mcld-versus-its-peers-financial-comparison/)

(https://finance.yahoo.com/news/metacloud-challenges-existing-cloud-computing-225900318.html)

(https://smallcappower.com/analyst-articles/mcloud-technologies-stock/)

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