Community Spotlight: Dash Hudson

Rylee Hurley
July 27, 2020

This month we take a look at local startup Dash Hudson to find out what problems they are solving and why through an interview with their CTO and Co-founder Tomek Niewiarowski.

What problem are you solving for customers?

In today’s world, the most meaningful interactions between brands and consumers happen through photo and video. At Dash Hudson we make these interactions impactful for brands. 

Dash Hudson is a visual marketing platform. It is a one-step solution to analyze photos and videos, see trends, measure and enhance engagement across organic and paid visual marketing channels. We help the most important brands in the world to aggregate and distribute photos and videos that most effectively deepen engagement with their audience.

Why are you different from your competitors?

We believe in creating the perfect combination of creativity and data. We love to smother our customers in hugs and provide meaningful insights that shape their strategy. Providing exceptional service and delivering a quality product is at our core. From introducing clients to the Dash Hudson platform, to training them for success—we create a customer journey where they are always our priority.

When it comes to visual marketing intelligence, we’re thought leaders who want to help leading brands step into a new and changing industry. We’re ambitious in the change we want to create, but passionate about our goals.

How are you solving this problem? What technologies are you using? At what scale are you operating?

It is enough to say that we build best-in-class beautiful, functional products that our customers love :)

Over the years we have built a multichannel visual marketing platform, a suite of tools which help our clients interact in the most efficient way with their audience. In the last few years we’ve built relationships with platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Google, Amazon, and Twitter which allowed us to provide actionable insights using their APIs. 

One of our core values has always been innovation. We aim to stay ahead of the curve and set the trends that the rest of the industry adopts.  A prime example is our Dash Hudson Vision product.  An AI system that recommends visuals that effectively engage with the brand's audience. 

On the technical end, our current stack includes: Vue.js, Python, Tensorflow, Kubernetes, Elasticsearch, Redis, AWS (Aurora, ELB, ECS and lots more). We work with nearly a thousand leading brands and our products impact millions of people each month. Each month, our customers add over 1 million images and videos allowing us to process and analyze hundreds of terabytes of media every month. This level of activity allows us to train best-in-class machine learning models for our customers.

What types of problems did you have to overcome to build Dash Hudson?

This year Dash Hudson turned 7 years old. Seven years ago, we started as a completely different company. For the first two years, Dash Hudson was a consumer retail app. I would say the biggest challenge we overcame was to find product-market fit. Finding product-market fit is probably the most difficult challenge for a new company. It took us two years to realize what kind of problems brands have and how to address them. It took a lot of discipline, planning, and smart management to not run out of money but we needed this time to learn.

Another example of a challenge is our continuously evolving team. As a team grows and changes, so do its need to evolve with size.The team is completely different when you are 7, 15, 30, 100 people and so on. Something that works for when you are only 10 people won’t work when you are 30. With a larger team you need to start thinking about building your management layer and empowering your team to take on leadership roles. Making sure that everyone is aligned and that goals are clearly defined and communicated. This process never ends and we always need to be open to change and improvements. 

What types of problems are you facing right now?

Everyday is a new problem :) . I would say currently I have 2 priorities. 1) Making sure the team stays efficient and motivated during the continuing COVID situation and 2) Growing our team.

As everyone knows we are living in a new reality with the emergence of the COVID pandemic. From a business perspective, the pandemic didn’t impact us in a significant way. However, from the HR perspective, a lot has changed. We had to adjust and adapt as a team. Before, we mostly worked from locations in Halifax and Toronto. We had over 100 people in our office. The spaces were always full of life and discussions. Now that we are remote, we are constantly looking for new ways to keep that culture, stay efficient, and keep everyone engaged and on track. As a co-founder, I’m thankful everyday for the passionate team we have who help make this a reality.

Growing a cohesive and passionate team is the most important thing a company can do. It is the people who make Dash Hudson the special company it is and we have our team to thank for every advancement and innovation we bring to the industry. Attracting people who share our passion and ambition will help us continue building better software and enacting more powerful change. At the moment our engineering team is close to 40 but the bigger we get the more difficult it is to find and hire the best people.

Why do you believe in Halifax? 

Halifax is the perfect place to build a company. The city has a youthful energy about it and is constantly evolving and changing with the times. We have so many young people graduating from a number of local top-rated local universities. Nova Scotia allows us all to keep a good work-life balance. With so many parks and outdoor activities. It is hard to imagine a 2+ hour commute in a place like Toronto when Halifax offers a walkable lifestyle. Halifax is well connected internationally with an airport, just 2 hours away from New York.

As someone who immigrated from Europe, I love being here and see the potential for what Nova Scotia offers and how we at Dash Hudson can contribute to the community. We strongly believe Halifax will be the next tech hub.

What makes Dash Hudson’s culture unique?

At Dash Hudson we’re a group of hard working, go-getters. We’re energetic, lively, and are continuous learners. We take our work seriously, but not ourselves :) . We take care of each other and celebrate the wins, big and small, as a collective.

Working as a team is really important at Dash Hudson and, in all honesty, a competitive advantage for us. We know how to take initiative and own something, but we also know when to take a backseat and support each other. As we grow the company, it’s super important for us to find highly intelligent people who fit the Dash Hudson culture.

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