Podcast Episode 29

Scaling to New Heights: A Deep Dive into AI and SaaS Trends

Welcome to the latest episode of the Tech Business Roundtable podcast, where we delve into the world of tech innovation and entrepreneurship. In this episode, titled “Scaling to New Heights: A Deep Dive into AI and SaaS Trends,” our host, Ryan Davies, engages in a captivating conversation with Hashir Baig, a tech founder and expert in AI and SaaS. Hashir, the visionary founder of Ripe Seed, shares his entrepreneurial journey spanning six years, from freelancing to establishing a successful consultancy firm. The discussion explores the intersection of AI and SaaS, shedding light on the evolving landscape and the tremendous opportunities for tech businesses. Hashir emphasizes the importance of iterative development, validating ideas with a small audience, and staying adaptable in the fast-paced tech industry. For tech founders and business owners seeking valuable insights and guidance, Hashir offers complimentary consultancy sessions through Ripe Seed, ensuring that innovative ideas are not only realized but thrive in the dynamic world of tech entrepreneurship. Don’t miss out on this episode that provides actionable advice and a glimpse into the future of AI and SaaS.

Listen to the Episode Now


Ryan Davies: Welcome everyone to the Tech Business Roundtable podcast show. This is a podcast show dedicated to shining a spotlight on tech innovators, entrepreneurs, founders, and the compelling narratives behind the movements they’ve established. I’m your host, Ryan Davies, and I’m hosting today’s discussion on Scaling to New Heights:  A Deep Dive into AI and SaaS Trends with Hashir Baig. Hashir, thanks for joining us here today.

Hashir: Thanks a lot, Davies, for inviting me, and it’s lovely to be here.

Background of Hachir Baig

Ryan Davies: I think this is going to be really great because we’ve got a, you know, this is a great couple of topics. It’s so expansive, but Heshir’s got a ton of knowledge in this area of how to really focus on what’s important in these areas, the rise of it, the trends behind it, and how to really capitalize on it, and sort of, I guess, the pitfalls of what you, if you don’t, right, of what’s going to happen. So, a little bit about Hashir. He is an expert vetted talent ranking in the top 1% on Upwork, boasting a rich background in software, apps, and cloud technology spanning six years. His hands-on experience encompasses everything from mobile app development with numerous apps featured on the App Store and the Play Store, web apps, website development for everything from startups to enterprises, certification as an AWS Cloud Specialist, working with enterprises and corporations to enhance processes through automation, cloud infrastructure deployment, and internal tools development, having flourishes a freelancer, Hasheer envisioned and established Ripe Seed in 2021. Today, the company boasts a team of 28 highly talented individuals. In the past two years, Hasheer and the agency have earned the top-rated plus and expert-vetted badges. The latter is only visible to enterprise accounts in a test of the agency’s credibility. They span the globe: the US, the UK, Australia, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Germany, across the EU; it’s wild. This is a guy who’s really passionate about tech discussions and really about consultancy sessions and free consultancy sessions. So that is perfect for our audience here to go through to investigate whether an idea or estimating time and cost of efforts is worth it for you. He’s eager to share his insights today. Heshir, we can’t thank you enough for being here, and maybe to kick things off, I’ll get you to fill in any gaps that I may have missed there on the intro, but also provide a brief overview for our audience on Ripe Seed and your role as the founder there.

Hashir: Well, first of all, thanks a lot for the comprehensive introduction. I was not aware of that much comprehensive introduction about myself as well. So thanks a lot for that. So now, just to start with my introduction,  basically, I am a tech founder. I have been working independently for over six years, worked as a freelancer initially, and then I have been working with some companies as well in the past. I have done some full-time jobs, but later on, My goal since the time I was freelancing was to start something of my own, some services company basically, some consultancy firm basically, because I’m more into, I’m more of a tech-savvy guy. Like I like working with all of the different technologies. I do not like to be any kind of technology-specific or niche-specific. So I like to personally do mobile development, and web development, I have certification in cloud as well as mentioned. So I like to get my hands dirty in all kinds of stuff. So, back in 2021, like I was doing a full-time job in a remote company, an awesome one. So now, after that company, I was thinking, like I was still doing the job, and I was thinking of starting something of my own. I went to this co-working space and started reaching out to some potential clients on Upwork for different projects, and that’s how we started. Within a month or two after starting RipeSeed, the team started building, and we were initially like four people. I’m the sole founder. Still, then we had three more people, we were four people, then one more, we were five, then we expanded to a different office from a co-working space, and we expanded to like six to seven people in that office. Then this is our third office, which is a physical space here in Lahore, Pakistan, and we are operating from here with a team of 28 people. We have a sales team, we have a client success team, we have a team of developers and designers, and we are basically serving clients. Right now, our specialty has become SaaS development. We develop SaaS products and custom SaaS products for our clients, mostly non-tech founders, or sometimes, if we are working with some enterprises, there are tech representatives of their own as well. So we work in collaboration with them. That’s just a brief overview.

Ripe Seed and it’s growth

Ryan: Perfect, that’s great. And you’d mentioned before we were on the air here and talking that you’ve really been focusing very heavily, especially over the last year with the rise of ChatGPT, the rise of AI, and how organizations can better take advantage of that. We’ve seen significant use of that in the mainstream in all walks of businesses in various industries, but you could talk a little bit to our audience about how you see the technology evolving, particularly in the SaaS space and in the context of tech businesses.

Hashir  Sure. So this one’s a fun story. So I won’t say we planned for it. Back in December, when ChatGPT just came out, a client came up to us, and he had some ideas for a Chrome extension. He wanted to build that Chrome extension and we had no prior experience in building AI-based products. But that idea seemed doable, and we agreed to work on that idea. So we worked with him on that idea for about a month; that person, and the one who came up with the idea, he wasn’t, and he was a genius person. Like we built that idea for him, he was so excellent at the marketing of it that he was able to generate actual paying customers. He marketed it so well that he had paying customers within one month of the launch of that idea. So that was kind of like the first time that we built a ChatGPT Generative AI-based product for a client. So that was so that is when things started taking off for us from Generative AI perspectives. We showed that one product to any client who was coming up to us in the months that followed. We started securing more and more projects in the Generative AI space ever since December last month. So since then, we have developed various Chrome extensions, SaaS products, and web-based Chrome extension-based plugins that are leveraging the power of Generative AI. Initially, there was no API for ChatGPT, so we were using autocomplete APIs. But then ChatGPT officially launched its own API. Then, there were a lot of third-party tools like BIMECON and BrekterDBs. So we were leveraging all of that. So ChatGPT can answer users’ queries based on some particular database that the clients have on their end. So that is when things started digging up. So yeah, that is how we started with AI. Now, the one thing that people confuse a lot with AI is that people started to start comparing AI with blockchain, and they think that last year was the year of blockchain and this year is now the year of AI. So, just like there was hype for blockchain, there is hype for AI, but there is a huge difference between the two of them. No one ever understood what blockchain can do or what the actual benefit of it is. Okay, there is cryptocurrency. Okay, this is decentralized. This is cured. But how? Like it’s really hard to comprehend. But right now, with ChatGPT, everyone and their grandma is using ChatGPT, right? So it’s people, you don’t have to explain to anyone what chat GPT they just know, okay, I will ask some questions, and it will just magically answer me what the question is. So the problem with blockchain was there were so many onboarding steps you had to set up your wallet, you had to know which chain you were working with. You had to know what blockchain is: proof of work, proof of stakes, and all of that. Those were all complex terms with chatGPT and with Vinerity, very simple. You ask a question, and it returns a result. Simple as that. So, obviously, right now, it’s a hype cycle, but it’s not like blockchain. It’s here to stay.

The Rise of AI and its Impact on Tech Business

Ryan: Yeah, I think you’re right. It’s that blockchain has this, like, the immutable things where you can identify things and create intellectual property and create identification to it but there was such, there still is not there was, but there still is such a complexity to it, right? There’s going to be a simplification of it. I think there’s another evolution coming, but right now, with ChatGPT, it’s something that everybody can use. Like you just said, it doesn’t matter if you are in the beginner stages of, you know, tech and trying just to learn something. I’m fairly convinced that, like my parents who don’t know how to work remote control, sometimes still, they could work ChatGPT by going. Just put a question in here, and it’ll answer it for you guys. It’s that simple and that easy to use. You’ll just know mainstream adoption has happened. When it comes to businesses, though, have you seen certain challenges or opportunities with the adoption of this AI and really how RipeSeed has helped contribute to ease that pain.

Hashir:  Yeah, So, like, there are two kinds of businesses. The first of them are startups. So, the startups have their own ideas, and they want to add AI on top of it and improve it. So now that’s the cool part. That’s where innovation is happening. But right now, a lot of businesses or enterprises just want to ride the high plane and want to integrate AI so that they can stay that their solution is AI-powered and their solutions are already awesome, but AI is not the solution for everything. If your product is not related to AI, you do not have to integrate AI into it. But there is a huge opportunity for enterprises if they use AI in the right way, but they have to change the whole dynamic that they are currently managing their processes. So basically, if they have a system, let’s say, Salesforce or some big corporation, for example. Now, they have this huge tool; they have a huge customer base and corporate customer base. Now, it’s really hard to navigate these complex tools. Let’s say Salesforce or any health care tool or any managerial tool. It’s really hard to navigate that. Now, if anyone can integrate AI into these tools in the right way, it can reduce the support team time a lot. You can ask that question to that AI, that where this functionality is in the whole tool, the bot and the like AI can give you the exact link and give you the exact number of steps you need to perform to reach your desired goal. You can just tell it; you can just tell the AI about your goal. Let’s say you want to manage a list of 1000 employees and manage their invoices and want to get the results of the tax issues that happened in last month’s invoices. So you can just ask that query and feed all of your enterprise data to that bot, and it should be able to, with a bit of fine-tuning, it should be able just to calculate that and return a good response to you in a short amount of time. That is where there is a huge opportunity for enterprises to integrate AI into their own existing applications.

The Relationship between Saas and AI

Ryan: That’s perfectly put together from that standpoint of how, really, the advantages and why it’s almost now becoming table stakes. You have to have this at this point. You’ve got to be willing to adopt it, or you’re going to become a laggard. You’re going to be falling behind. You also mentioned this and tied it all together as well about how SaaS is the dominant force in the tech industry as well. Right. So there’s a relationship there. I know that’s what you focus on: the relationship between SaaS solutions and AI technologies. Talk a bit about that evolution and what you see coming from that standpoint as well.

Hashir: Yeah, So now, regarding SaaS, previously, people only thought that there were big companies like Facebook, Microsoft, and Google. Only they can come up with some innovative ideas and any short player in the industry, if they build something, it’s not going to be successful. But right now, there is a huge; I would say it’s another high trend, but there is a huge rise of small SaaS applications. So now there is this: I will just name a few of them. currently using in my workflow. They’re not small. They’re huge now, but one of them is called Notion. Then there is DLV. Then, there are a few more that we are using on a day-to-day basis. Now, these are small SaaS products that are not built by any big companies. They are being used by a lot of enterprises and companies in their day-to-day workflow. These applications do not need the funding and the financial resources from some big VCs. Some stats ideas can be developed in a short amount of time through some bootstrap funding or some very little angel investment. Then, they can be used by millions of users on the scale, on-demand, based on a monthly subscription model. That is what we are seeing right now and with AI in the equation, there is a rise of a lot of AI-based test products in the market. The other day, I saw there was an AI-based video creator where you don’t have to create a film anymore. You can just give your script your idea to the AI bot or the AI platform, and it can fetch the relevant content. It can fetch the relevant images and video clips from the internet and compile the whole video into a single thing. We have worked on some crazy products for some clients. We worked on our travel itinerary creator. So if you are planning to go from one place to another place, to some other country, and if you want to see, okay, what kind of things can I do on my way or when I’m there? So we built a platform, a broad assess product for a client where you can just ask that question to that platform, to that AI-based platform. It will just give you a whole travel itinerary of the kind of restaurants there are the kind of places you can go to in that country, and it can make the whole life a lot easier. Just a couple of places and a couple of inputs, and you get a huge amount of value in front of you.

The success of small SaaS Products

Ryan: Incredible and I think that comes to that talk about how the landscape has changed, right? I’m sure you’re seeing this: that the most success, like success, comes from really identifying these specific pain points, right? And providing 10 times the value or more of the traditional way of doing things, right? And that’s that strategy now of you don’t need to save the world by having these grand, you don’t need a meta, you don’t need to Google necessarily, right? Everybody wants one. Everybody would love to have one, but it comes down to what specific problem I can solve. And that’s really the advantage of adopting these SaaS, these products in your eyes, correct?

Hashir: Yeah, you want to be vendor-locked as well. Apple is awesome. I am right now using a MacBook. I have an iPhone over here, but everyone who is using Apple and who loves Apple, I love Apple, but we are vendor-locked. It’s really hard to get out of this ecosystem. But let’s say there’s a third party who’s building these small SaaS products. Now, they won’t be building a whole suite of applications, but they will be providing support for Mac for Chrome, Windows, and all of the platforms. So now they will be providing support for everyone, but these huge giants, again, I love these giants, but these new giants are making the applications that are only supported on their platforms. Apple has this ecosystem where you can just copy and paste some text on your iPhone, copy some text on your iPhone, and paste it on your MacBook, and it will work seamlessly. But let’s say there is that application. Now, they will provide support for the Macs, the Chromebooks, the build-up machines, and everything. So, like, once the people start to shift towards these tasks applications, once their focus shifts from the applications that are built by giants to the small indie developers or small solo founders, like, it will be a totally new kind of tech era that we will be seeing in the coming years.

Ryan Davies: I think to speak about that as well, the success of these small, like you said, like the individual founder type of a business. I know that’s probably a lot of our audience that’s here is listening is saying, you know, that’s me. I fit in this bucket, or this is where I’m going. I don’t have some massive team behind it. So, give a little bit about those success stories. And again, they’re fit in the market a little more specifically because I think there’s a tremendous value for them to hear like, okay, yes, I am doing the right thing. This is the right path. I don’t need it. Massive, like you say, you don’t need massive venture capital funding to be a success from that standpoint, correct? It’s more just like you said: finding the right network and ecosystem and building organically from that sense.

Hashir: Yeah. So I’ll just give you an example over here, like the small success stories. So, like, as you said, no, you don’t need to be a billion-dollar company. You don’t need to be a giant tech, like a huge tech giant. You don’t need to be one of those, but you can still be successful. You can still run a small, successful, very profitable SaaS company or a small company, and you don’t even need to be technically sound. Like most of our clients, they are not tech founders; they are not developers or engineers by themselves. They are just visionaries who come up with some brilliant ideas and know tech enough that it can be built, but they need to trust their tech partners. So they can build, make the right decisions, and make the necessary decisions to make that product a reality. It takes time, but these products development of these products is possible. So we had one of our clients whose existing business was, let’s say, optimizing some business profiles. So, I won’t go into details to avoid releasing any kind of ID, but to give you a high-level overview, it was the optimization of business profiles. That was his whole business beforehand before he came to us. Now, when he came to us, he wanted to build a SaaS product that could help him solve that problem where he does not need to optimize the business profiles for his clients manually. So we had a discussion, and we built a product for him. We built the first product for him. Now that product went so successful for that one, like for our client, that he is now working with us for like 10 months, and we are building his third product right now. So, this is a real use case. Now, this is a small success story and the success story of that one person. Now, and like this one, this is a small one. Let’s say you can take the example of Figma. So Figma was developed by a privately held organization, like a small group of people, and it was going to be acquired by Adobe. Adobe is a huge giant. But I recently heard the news that the deal is not happening anymore. But again, it was started by a small set of people. It was an amazing tool and an amazing staff product that was being used by a bunch of people, and it was going to be acquired by Adobe. So these small products, and again, right now, when there is the time of building these SaaS products and everything, these giants, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and all of these giants, they acquire this kind of small SaaS products all the time and integrate them into their own suites. So, for tech founders or non-tech founders who want to build some SaaS product, there are multiple ways they can profit from it. They can either exit and sell or merge their product into some big tech company, or they can sell the same thing to some like buy and hold company. There is this new thing called buy and hold company. They acquire small companies and just keep holding them as long as the processes are automated, or they can just keep generating the monthly recurring revenue. And there are people on Twitter who are making about 20k in recurring monthly revenue with zero employees. One person built this product with a team. And now there is no team, there is no maintenance, and he is generating 20k monthly recurring revenue and 50k monthly recurring revenue. And it’s very common. It’s not like these are some unique examples. It is very common. If you go on Twitter or Reddit, you will see these examples all the time.

Ryan Davies: Amazing. That’s some great advice from that, and you talked a little bit about already some of the things that are emerging, like the buy and hold. There’s other there’s a lot that’s emerging in the industry here. Looking ahead from your perspective, what do you kind of foresee, as you know, these trends that are in AI and SaaS for tech businesses and maybe whether it’s an emerging technology, emerging concept? Even if it’s something like the buy-and-hold ID, right like where you said, It’s really changing the landscape and what we’re going to see moving ahead

Hashir: Yeah. So with the AI, right now, AI is just on the part that AI has mastered, which is text prompting. You get some text prompts. It generates a text description. It generates some kind of audio, video, or image. But Google recently released a video showing Bard’s multimodal capabilities. Now, that video was not entirely true. There were some edits in that video, and it was basically prompting, but it was shown as multimodal functionality. But that has not happened yet; it is something that is going to happen very soon. There was a guy on YouTube who showed that functionality happening. He made that functionality with OpenAI API. The response was a lot slower. You have to wait a few seconds for the AI model to see what you are doing with your hands and then to see how to respond to that action. But it’s going to happen. So the next year, again, this year was the year of AI. If a lot of people went to Jatex and the Jatex title was Year of AI, then next year might again be the Year of AI. A lot of technologies have come in the past few years; there is blockchain, AR, and VR. AI has been in the game for a long time, but it was ChatGPT. It was generative capabilities that made this rocket take off. So, the next year, again, is going to be the year of AI.

Ryan Davies: Yeah, you’re absolutely right. We’re scratching the surface as to where this is going to go, right? This is just amazing. You already touched on some amazing things that are out there and tools and things that businesses can kind of put into their suite of products, into their suite that they’re doing to be able to enhance business processes, enhance the customer experience, or also for tech founders to go. Here’s a gap that I can spin something up and get in here and create that for somebody and really, as you said, and become almost that serial SaaS entrepreneur of, let’s go again, find the next one, find the next one, and bring these things to the future. With that, as we’re closing up and ramping up here, I would like to get your final thoughts and insights. You mentioned you do a lot of consultation for new startups in these spaces. What advice do you have when it comes to this space, and are those who are really keen on leveraging AI and SaaS technologies getting involved in this space?

Advice for Tech Founders in the AI and SaaS Space

Hashir: Yeah, so this is one thing that I am learning these days as well. This is what I will advise everyone: There is a huge opportunity, but whenever someone is trying to build some new SaaS product, they should try to validate that idea on a small set of users. Try to build your product for a small audience instead of for the whole world, as you are not going to be able to market your product to the whole world. Try to come up with some idea, and get it developed and built by someone you trust. And then, once that’s done, just keep working on the iterations. Just keep your mind open for the changes and adjustments in the AI, like the first project that we did. There was no API of ChatGPT itself, but the client agreed to use a lower-level API, which was the Test Completion API. He launched the product with that API and his product was successful and then later on, we were able to integrate ChatGPT’s API when the API came in. So there is. You can improve later on. Just launch today. Launch the minimum buyable product. Launch the minimum buyable product. Test if there are users who are interested in your product. If you have tested enough for multiple months that there are no users, take it away and try something new.

Ryan: I love it. I think that is unbelievable advice to be able to again just sort of accelerate your processes, But make it make sense, do its best for you, but as you said, don’t hang on to something too long, but We see it too much right, people. It’s got to be perfect before it launches. Well, fine with the speed that things are going now. You’re going to get bypassed, and other people are going to. They’re going to make it past you here, So you got it. You have to be careful about that and make sure you’re doing the right thing. So that is excellent. I think that is a wonderful piece of advice to leave on, but before we go, Hashir. I’d also love to get you to tell us more about RipeSeed and where our listeners can get connected to you. I know, again, you said this is something you really love doing, which is helping evaluate ideas and give that consultancy approach to people to help guide them. Yeah, for sure. I would appreciate it if you could get that to our audience.

Hashir: Yeah. So, I love doing consultancy sessions with founders who have some good ideas. So, they can reach out to us at RipeSeed.io. We are active on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and all the social media, as you can link them in the video description and everything. The website is ripeseed.io. They can reach out to us for consistency if my LinkedIn is available. They can be me directly by using the name Hashir Baig. I just mentioned that you have listened to this podcast, and I will be happy to get an on-call with you to consult with you on your idea. We just help you see if it is worth investing in your idea or not. We have the word on tens of products in the past year on AI-based task products, and just by looking at some ideas we can tell you okay like. You don’t even have to get this developed with us. Choose someone else. But I can help you see whether it is worth it or not, or if it is even possible to get something like this in the budget or in the time span that you want to invest in this kind of product. So, I am always more than happy to be concerned. You can reach out to me on LinkedIn or just the company links and the profiling that you get. You can just mention it in the description of the video.


Ryan: Perfect, that’s exactly it. ripeseed.io is where you want to go. Hashir’s Baig, you can find him on LinkedIn, as you mentioned, is definitely for our audience. That’s just too good to be true. When someone offers exactly what you’re looking for to go, tell me if this can work, if, you know, with the budgets, right? And bring it all together. And you’ve got somebody here who’s passionate about it, cares about it, loves hearing ideas, so it’s just a wonderful connection to have. So with that, It’s a great place to take a final minute here and thank Hashir Baig for this amazing podcast on scaling to new heights, a deep dive into AI and SaaS trends. Hashir, thanks so much for being here and sharing these great insights with us. Again, this is an amazing offer for our audience to take advantage of.

Hashir: Thank you, Ryan. Thanks a lot.

Ryan Davies: Wonderful. I also want to thank our listeners. As always, we can’t do what we do without you. So until we meet again with another amazing TBR episode, I’m your host, Ryan Davies. Thanks and take care.

About Our Host and Guest

Director of Marketing – Ekwa.Tech & Ekwa Marketing
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Founder of RipeSeed
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“Success comes from identifying specific pain points and providing ten times the value of the traditional way of doing things.”

– Hashir Baig –