iSchool entrepreneur to expand local tech startup to West Coast

After creating a successful tech startup in Syracuse, Andrew Farah aims to bring his company’s innovative technology to businesses in San Francisco.

Andrew Farah, a Syracuse University alumnus, rose to fame when he and his colleagues at Rounded Development created Density, a product that helps customers and small business vendors measure traffic at their shops.

“We used a simple wireless router to count every time any customer enters or leaves the shop premise,” Farah said.

Photo: Courtesy of Rounded
Density gives local businesses the ability to measure foot traffic to and from their stores.

This August, Farah and his partner Ben Redfield have moved to San Francisco, California to tap into a new market. However, most of their staff at Rounded and Density continues to operate at Tech Garden, their main office in Syracuse. 

Farah, from McLean in Northern Virginia, came to Syracuse University to complete his undergraduate and graduate studies.

“During my stay here over the last five years, I have seen the city undergo an incredible change,” Farah said. “From a freshman who never went downtown to a grad student who spent most of his time downtown, to a business owner where our company was located in downtown.”

Syracuse, however, needs a lot more revitalization and excitement, to continue its path of progress, Farah said.

He said that his product Density aims at helping small business owners, a segment which is often ignored. According to Farah, Density has a sound foundation in Syracuse with employees that see their families and a future, here in the city.

“We don’t want to lose them just because somebody said that all the hot startups are elsewhere,” Farah said.

Moreover, the cost of rent and running a company in Syracuse compared to San Francisco is much lower.

“In economic terms, we retain and hire people in Syracuse. We pay rent and are located in downtown when a lot of companies move to greener pastures in upstate New York,” Farah said.

Farah and his company care very deeply about quality design software development and their clientele in CNY.

“Both Density and Rounded also bring a lot of youthful exuberance to the city which can be very infectious. We receive a lot of graduate students, ace developers, who would love to move to NYC but who eventually choose to work with us,” Farah said.

He said that when a group of youngsters exhibit raw energy and enthusiasm to work their ass off to chase their ambition - that is infectious. That atmosphere cannot be manufactured.

Farah did not always know that he wanted to run a company.

“A good question to ask yourself, when you are confused about what you want to do, is who you want to help?” Farah said.

He said that doing something locally was his driving point.

“I started off as a writing major, developed a penchant for design and Photoshop and then got hooked onto Web design. But that was just my foundation for iSchool,” he said.

Farah said that programs at the School of Information Studies played a crucial role to help him realize his passion for startups. Programs like the 22-week sandbox helped make his business ideas a reality.

Sometimes meeting like-minded people can trigger ideas. Sometimes ordinary circumstances can help shape extraordinary brands.

“It started with Café Kubal. My colleagues and I would visit three times a day. On some days it would be very crowded, on others not. Why is there no way to know how many people are there in a location? We became obsessed,” Farah said.

That is how Density was born. Innovation is however about constant change and getting out of your comfort zone.

“Home was North Virginia, it was Syracuse, now it is San Francisco,” said Farah.

Startups are the love of Farah’s life.

“They are a flexible organism, which allow you to take a decision on Monday morning, and implement it by Monday afternoon,” he said. 

Even though the young entrepreneur is proud of what Density has achieved, his new challenge is to try and make it relevant to a more crowded market like San Francisco where an average consumer is more desperate when he or she can visit a busy coffee shop, restaurant or bar. 

Exciting times lie ahead. 

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