Barely two years after graduating, Faris Elsayed already runs a successful startup and one of the profession’s most popular social channels.  

He chats with Payman about his YouTube alter ego, Faris Dent, shares insights from life on the road as a sales rep with aligner brand 32Co, and discusses the highs and lows of entrepreneurialism. 

Faris also talks about his faith, charity work, and personal drive to make a lasting impression on dentistry and the wider world.



In This Episode

00:02:15 – Entering dentistry

00:04:35 – YouTube

00:08:35 – Motivation

00:10:30 – Dental school

00:12:45 – 32Co

00:25:40 – Early work

00:31:05 – All Eyes Sky

00:58:50 – Fantasy dinner party

01:00:00 – Faith and charity


About Faris Elsayad

Faris Elsayed is a general dentist practising in Milton Keynes. He is the founder of several startups, including All Eyes Sky, which connects jobseekers with interviews and training.

Faris: And also just changed the way I thought a lot. I got really data specific about everything that I do, so everything. Now, if something [00:00:05] fails, I don’t get stressed. I’m like, okay, it’s failed. Why has it failed? Let’s work out. Let’s work around the [00:00:10] problem solving. Yeah, you’ve got to solve. That’s all Start-Ups are just you have to put out fires left, [00:00:15] right and centre. And if you don’t, well, Start-Ups die all the time, don’t they? Like most Start-Ups fail. [00:00:20] If you’re not putting out fires and you don’t learn how to problem solve quickly and get very creative, you will not [00:00:25] survive. So you have to do that.

Payman Langroudi: And, you know, in a way, it’s the only advantage of Start-Ups got [00:00:30] is that nimbleness, right? And speed is speed critical, you know, especially [00:00:35] when you’re going up against some of the biggest companies in the industry, right? Yeah.

[VOICE]: This [00:00:40] is Dental Leaders, the [00:00:45] podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging [00:00:50] leaders in dentistry. Your [00:00:55] hosts Payman Langroudi and Prav Solanki.

Payman Langroudi: It [00:01:00] gives me great pleasure to welcome Faris El-Sayed to the podcast. Faris [00:01:05] is in his year in his PhD year, but since the second year [00:01:10] of dental school at King’s has been running a YouTube channel called Faris Dent, [00:01:15] which I guess you’re most famous for. Recently started a company [00:01:20] called All Eyes Sky, which works on [00:01:25] the helping students and job seekers with [00:01:30] interviews and job courses to do before they get onto courses. [00:01:35] So lovely to have you, Ferris. Thank you.

Faris: Payman. Thank you so much for the introduction. Excited to be here.

Payman Langroudi: Tell me, buddy, [00:01:40] were you always a high achiever?

Faris: Well, um, [00:01:45] I wouldn’t necessarily define myself as a high achiever. I think I’m just a very busy. [00:01:50] I’m a very busy mind. I get bored very easily, which I think is a big problem that my that [00:01:55] my teachers and my parents used to used to say we didn’t really focus very well when I was younger, and [00:02:00] from that I always just tried to keep really busy. So whether it’s sports, not as much [00:02:05] now, but whether it’s sports, when I was younger or academics, I’d always be doing something to [00:02:10] keep as busy as possible. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: So why dentistry?

Faris: What [00:02:15] a great question. This gives me a throwback to five years ago when I was applying, but I think [00:02:20] the main reason I enjoyed dentistry is I wanted to go into a career that combined a bit of healthcare. So my parents [00:02:25] are both doctors, so I got to see that experience firsthand and something that allowed me to have the flexibility [00:02:30] to be a bit more entrepreneurial. So my first experience in dentistry, going to [00:02:35] the dentist, I actually really enjoyed the whole thing, like seeing how it run. I found it really weird how, [00:02:40] you know, my parents would go and they’d pay money for treatment compared to the NHS in medicine. And [00:02:45] from that point I realised, I think this is a career that marries two things that I like really well.

Payman Langroudi: So is there [00:02:50] a conversation where your parents said definitely don’t do medicine 100%?

Faris: I think my parents, both. [00:02:55]

Payman Langroudi: Of them are doctors.

Faris: Yeah, they’re both doctors. They both kind of said it’s a fantastic career, don’t get me wrong. And I come from [00:03:00] a family of, you know, who are mostly doctors, but unfortunately, I think how the NHS is at the moment, [00:03:05] it’s quite challenging and straining on workers in the NHS. And they both told me, I [00:03:10] think if you’re going to do something in the healthcare field, maybe don’t do medicine. So it kind [00:03:15] of started from there.

Payman Langroudi: And then this focus on how to get in.

Faris: Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Were you [00:03:20] very successful at getting in yourself. Like did you find that there weren’t any resources [00:03:25] when you were looking. So yeah, that’s why you set it up.

Faris: So I was quite fortunate that [00:03:30] I, you know, I come from quite a privileged background. As I said, my parents are both doctors, so I had [00:03:35] a lot of resources available to me. I went to a grammar school for secondary and I went to a semi selective [00:03:40] sixth form. So I got to see firsthand how important it was to have those extracurriculars [00:03:45] and things outside of just your academia, your A-level grades and your GCSE grades. And [00:03:50] that is what really propelled me forward into wanting to create resources for free and [00:03:55] help people get into dentistry and medicine, because there’s a lot of really, really, really smart kids out there [00:04:00] that don’t know what they’re missing out on. You know, they may not realise how important the ucat [00:04:05] is or they may not realise how important it is to improve their soft skills so that when they [00:04:10] go into interviews, they’re not just saying, oh, I’ve got three stars. It’s like, well, okay, well done, you know, join [00:04:15] the club. So yeah, I don’t think I came from a place of a lack of privilege. It was more identifying [00:04:20] that there’s a real problem here. There must be a solution that is easier than [00:04:25] just, you know, asking Joe, who’s a year four student at King’s, what interview questions [00:04:30] came up a couple of years ago?

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, but I mean, it’s a hard life being a student [00:04:35] in the first place. Definitely at King’s. Right. Very competitive. Yeah. The next guy might have [00:04:40] just been, you know, going out, having a great time, and yet you decide to set up this YouTube [00:04:45] channel?

Faris: Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: The driving force behind that was [00:04:50] it. Did you have the long term vision that it was eventually going to turn into [00:04:55] a business, and that it is now, or were you simply putting content out [00:05:00] to get likes and views and helping? What was it? What was what was driving you? Because why [00:05:05] weren’t you just partying?

Faris: Yeah, that’s a good question. Yeah. I didn’t really party too much. I was a bit [00:05:10] of a boring, boring student in that sense. What pushed me into building something was just [00:05:15] based on my kind of philosophy in life, which is I want to be the best at everything that I do. [00:05:20] So I realised that in dental school, if I graduated with just a BDS, that wouldn’t [00:05:25] be enough for me because everyone else in the year is getting the same thing. So I thought, what things can I do that are low effort [00:05:30] but can yield really good results? So I was like, okay, let’s do some social media. So start with the YouTube, did some [00:05:35] podcasting, did some blog writing, and from that I gained skills that I knew would transfer into a career [00:05:40] in dentistry or a career in entrepreneurship down the line. So I always think if [00:05:45] I’m going to do something, what’s the long term impact going to be? But you.

Payman Langroudi: Were thinking that when you said. [00:05:50]

Faris: 100%, that’s that’s how I, I’ve always thought it’s just when I do something, there’s a reason [00:05:55] behind it. I’m not just doing it for the sake of doing it. Obviously, I have to enjoy what I do, but I wanted [00:06:00] to do it with the intention of building something in the future or at the very minimum, being able to say, well, [00:06:05] I’ve left uni, but I’ve also developed this skill and this skill and this skill. So if I go to an employer, if I’m [00:06:10] even working as just a generalist.

Payman Langroudi: Out somehow.

Faris: Yeah, stand out in a way.

Payman Langroudi: And, you know, [00:06:15] whenever anyone’s doing anything for the first time or at the beginning, I remember with this podcast, yeah, at [00:06:20] the beginning you get very little traction. Yeah. How long did it take before you thought, I’ve [00:06:25] got something here. Like how many videos have you made? How long did it take?

Faris: Yeah. So I [00:06:30] think with the channel it’s I did quite well in the beginning. I was quite [00:06:35] fortunate that I found my niche really early, so I was able to see the results directly because [00:06:40] I would do kind of free sessions for, you know, people that are applying for dentistry and medicine to come in. So within [00:06:45] my first 10 to 15 videos, I was getting some decent numbers really to the point. Yeah. So I [00:06:50] was quite fortunate. Yeah, it was lucky. It was very lucky. Obviously it’s not a massive channel, but when you’re, I think something you [00:06:55] learn also in business is if you’re able to, you know, dominate a niche in the market, it’s more valuable [00:07:00] than trying to go after, you know, a behemoth of a market or something a lot bigger that you can get very little [00:07:05] of. Um, so I got really, really granular into the content I created. I really connected with the community. [00:07:10] So all the students that were trying to get in and I made sure that anything, anything I put out there, I’d [00:07:15] constantly improve. But yeah, the first few videos, they’re still out there. They’re pretty dreadful. I had like a, [00:07:20] uh, my first couple ones, I had like a little teleprompter thing that I’d read off. So I was very kind of stoic and not [00:07:25] very excitable. Wooden. Yeah. Wooden. Yeah. Um, but over time, I got a bit more confident in the way that I’ve always [00:07:30] been a decent speaker. But I got better over time.

Payman Langroudi: Do you not have, like, camera fright at all? [00:07:35] Surprisingly, no. Already over that. Yeah.

Faris: No, I never had that. Only because [00:07:40] I. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: As a child. Did you have social media and you and and, you know, you were making [00:07:45] content as a 14 year old.

Faris: No. Not really. I think the extent of anything that I produced [00:07:50] was like sending messages on BBM. I wasn’t doing anything exciting. It was more just [00:07:55] because. But I was always doing things where I was kind of like public speaking or doing speaking events, even [00:08:00] when I was younger. So when I was at sixth form, I do a lot of kind of speaking things, whether it’s on induction [00:08:05] days or talking to like a general assembly or whatever it is. It was never volunteering.

Payman Langroudi: For [00:08:10] stuff like that.

Faris: I was both volunteering and being nominated for it. But [00:08:15] again, I know it sounds kind of odd, but even when I was 16, when I was at sixth form, I was always thinking, what positions [00:08:20] can I take now to kind of like maximise my university applications? So I was like, house captain. I was leader of [00:08:25] the school council. I did a lot of random things to make sure that I unlocked more opportunities to [00:08:30] get myself out there. But where did that come from? Maybe it’s because, I don’t know. [00:08:35] Maybe. Maybe it’s because I’m Egyptian. Like, I know it sounds odd, but I was kind of instilled into me when I was quite young [00:08:40] with my parents that you’ve kind of got to work hard, you’ve got to make sure you stand out because nothing’s going to really be handed to [00:08:45] you. And if you can make a little bit of effort, it will go a long way. So I kind of saw how difficult [00:08:50] my parents had to work when they came from Egypt to the UK as doctors, and it puts [00:08:55] things into perspective, like you just kind of got to grind and get yourself out there, or else you’re going to be left [00:09:00] in the dust.

Payman Langroudi: And was it the kind of house where like, school grades were non-negotiable? [00:09:05]

Faris: Yes. And funnily enough, I didn’t have that much pressure [00:09:10] from my parents, only because we had like a little unwritten rule where they said, look, [00:09:15] as long as you get the grades, we don’t have any problems. And I was very fortunate I got the grades but.

Payman Langroudi: Let you [00:09:20] get on with it.

Faris: And then. Yeah, and they just let me get on with it. So even, even when I this is quite a funny story actually. [00:09:25] Even when I got my GCSE results, my parents didn’t even like my mum knew, but my dad didn’t even know I had my GCSE results. I went [00:09:30] to pick them up. I was like, oh, they’re pretty decent, cool. Next day. So it was. They [00:09:35] had a lot of trust in me, but that came from the values they instilled, which was like, you’ve got to work hard, [00:09:40] you’ve got to make sure you make yourself, you know, present in the space. Because if you don’t, you’re you’re going to be left in, [00:09:45] in the dust.

Payman Langroudi: Always fascinates me a lot is sometimes in a house. I [00:09:50] mean, you’ve got brothers and sisters.

Faris: No, it’s just me.

Payman Langroudi: Oh, yeah. There’s sometimes in a house you got same parents, same [00:09:55] upbringing, and get one kid like you and another kid completely the opposite. And it’s [00:10:00] the same house. Yeah. And it fascinates me that, you know, what was it about [00:10:05] one that makes them go one way and the other? You’ve got this drive I can just talking to you just now. [00:10:10] Yeah. You’ve got this drive to succeed. And is it a deficit that [00:10:15] causes that? Mhm. Um, as a parent myself now. Yeah. My son just wants [00:10:20] to succeed. Yeah. Yeah. And puts a lot of pressure on himself, a lot of pressure on himself to succeed [00:10:25] and came out in a rash before his exams you know. Yeah. Um it’s fascinating man. So [00:10:30] then tell me about your time at King’s. What kind of a student were you?

Faris: I was an art student. [00:10:35] I think I was I was a student that did everything that needed [00:10:40] to be done and nothing more. In the sense of not, I didn’t work. I definitely worked hard, but passed [00:10:45] everything. I passed everything, I’d get things done, but I focussed on things that I thought were valuable. So, [00:10:50] for example, like in my third, fourth, fifth year, I realised that the most important thing is seeing patients. So, you know, I was [00:10:55] really good at making sure, finding out how do these patients get allocated, speaking to the people that, you know, bring [00:11:00] patients in and being like, look, I need to do more end nodes. I want to do more crown preps. What can I do? And I focus [00:11:05] more on improving my clinical work rather than stressing about my exam results because [00:11:10] I said, fortunately, I never had a bad situation with exams, but it was never the thing. I was, [00:11:15] you know, stressing over. It was more I want to see as many patients as possible. So when I get out there, I can do the stuff I [00:11:20] want to do, because I knew that anything I did at dental school doesn’t translate perfectly in real life anyway. So [00:11:25] get good at the basics. Once you learn how to do your crown prep at uni, you’re going to start learning [00:11:30] how to do your Emax onlays when you’re out there in real life. So that was all I focussed on when it came [00:11:35] to academia.

Payman Langroudi: And did you ever get that moment? I mean, one thing I worry about with my [00:11:40] son is like, he’s never really had a proper knock back. Mhm. And I [00:11:45] don’t know. Now he’s looking at Cambridge. Yeah. He’s going to turn up at Cambridge with all these high flyers. [00:11:50] Yeah. And he’s always been top of his class. Now he’s going to suddenly realise he’s just one of [00:11:55] the group. Yeah. And I worry, I worry about his first fail you know. Yeah. Whatever [00:12:00] that is. It could be I don’t know, his PhD or whatever it happens to be. [00:12:05] I worry about his first fail because nothing’s really gotten his way yet. Have you had your [00:12:10] first fail yet?

Faris: I think I’ve definitely failed multiple times over.

Payman Langroudi: I [00:12:15] say that what comes to mind when I say that? What’s what’s the biggest disappointment you had in yourself? [00:12:20]

Faris: I think probably one of the big disappointments I had, I know we talked about it is probably the YouTube channel [00:12:25] in the sense of, you know, something I was really dedicated to. I was doing a lot of work into it, really building it up. And [00:12:30] there’s a point where I kind of was taking on too much and neglected it, and as a result, I feel [00:12:35] that I really could have built that out to be a much bigger thing in the space. And now it’s something [00:12:40] that I need to spend a lot more time to, to build up. On top of that, there’s a bunch of other things that I think, you [00:12:45] know, could be better. Like I’ve tried to launch businesses in the past, launched completely failed. Yeah, yeah. [00:12:50] So kind.

Payman Langroudi: Of business.

Faris: So I initially tried to launch a business [00:12:55] to consolidate everything I’d learned, similar to what I’m doing now, but in the tutoring space. So [00:13:00] I wanted to set up a tutoring business, but my main kind of failure was the person I wanted to set it up with, [00:13:05] didn’t have the exact same vision, and I realised very quickly, okay, this isn’t really going to work, because [00:13:10] if you don’t have someone that’s thinking the same line, a line, and also people think that you have to be, you know, [00:13:15] exactly the same as a co-founder. It’s not true. Just you can be the opposite, but just be complementary. You [00:13:20] know, if you’re very analytical, they can be a little bit more creative. But what you don’t want to have is you have a [00:13:25] vision and they don’t see that vision and they don’t align with it. So that leads to failure. And [00:13:30] sometimes I do feel like, you know, one of the By-Products of taking on so many things is you don’t [00:13:35] get to enjoy as good of a social life. Maybe. So that was another thing that I think is maybe a failure, [00:13:40] and I focus on that more now when I’m trying to enjoy that I’m young, I can go out, I can do things that I enjoy, [00:13:45] and I don’t need to kind of punish myself for not working, which sometimes would be the way I’d [00:13:50] maintain things. I’d be like, I just have to. If I’m not working, what’s the point of doing anything else? Which is a daft [00:13:55] thing when I say it out loud, but it’s how I would think for a long time.

Payman Langroudi: It’s an important thing [00:14:00] around sort of sacrifice, right? Yeah, I felt it in the early stages of [00:14:05] enlightened, where I was only 28 when we started enlightened, and for [00:14:10] the first six years it was a totally difficult nightmare. Like near [00:14:15] death experiences. Every couple of weeks it felt like. And I’d look around [00:14:20] and I’d see my, my, you know, people who studied with me, buying a practice, buying [00:14:25] a Porsche. Yes. And I was the poorest I’d ever been. And, you know, in a business I had no idea [00:14:30] about. And this question of sacrifice. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Where do you see sacrifice? [00:14:35] I mean, what are you willing to do to get to where you want to get to? What are you willing to sacrifice [00:14:40] for me?

Faris: I think you have stages of life. So [00:14:45] when you’re young, you know, you’re, you know, we’re all young. But when you’re young, when you’re in your 20s or just before [00:14:50] you have to sacrifice, I always value it as when you’re really young, your time is worth nothing. [00:14:55] As you get older, it gets more valuable. You know you want to have kids. You want to do something. You want to get more, you know, involved with your [00:15:00] family life. When you’re young, you need to you need to sacrifice a lot if you want to get further in life. And for me, [00:15:05] I’m willing to sacrifice price a lot. Obviously, there’s a few things that are protected, like people that I [00:15:10] love, my friends and my family. But apart from that, you know, if it means I don’t get as much sleep or if it means I just have [00:15:15] to grind through work when I’m tired, I will do it. And that’s what I did in my final year of dental school, [00:15:20] I finished uni, I then go to work so I’d be uni like 9 to 5 or [00:15:25] 9 to 3, whatever it would be, and then I’d go straight to work in the evening at the company I was working at, which was say, [00:15:30] Tyco. So I was always really busy. I never really had time to to relax and [00:15:35] I was also studying for finals. So yeah, it was to answer it. In short, I’m willing to sacrifice [00:15:40] quite a lot. And I think it’s fine to say that, but you shouldn’t make those around you suffer too [00:15:45] much because at the end of the day, it’s not just you. You’ve got people around you that depend on you.

Payman Langroudi: So your job at [00:15:50] 32, we’ve had Sonja on a couple of times. Actually, the mind movers [00:15:55] hasn’t come out yet. We’ve had her on. Uh Dental. Leaders. How did that come about?

Faris: Yeah. [00:16:00]

Payman Langroudi: So that, first of all, just explain what fish taco is for someone who doesn’t know.

Faris: Yeah. So 32 [00:16:05] is a Dental clear aligner company. They specialise in three things. One is kind [00:16:10] of education, which is where they allow you to be educated. Improve your clear aligner practice. Two is they have [00:16:15] orthodontic support. So you have orthodontists there that help to curate treatment plans. And finally they have an [00:16:20] open marketplace where you can buy clear aligners and utilise them directly from manufacturer. [00:16:25] So that’s kind of the best way to to summarise it. The way I got into it was actually through a LinkedIn [00:16:30] message. So because I’d been doing all this social media stuff, I did some blog writing, the YouTube, etc. someone [00:16:35] that worked there wanted me to work on a freelancing basis to do some blog writing. [00:16:40]

Payman Langroudi: And we’re talking like two years ago this.

Faris: Was yeah, so this would have been my this would have been a year and a half [00:16:45] ago. Yeah, a year and a half to two years ago.

Payman Langroudi: So they were pretty young themselves.

Faris: Yeah. Yeah, they were pretty young. [00:16:50] It was pretty early. And from that conversation I had an interview. Obviously they wanted to check. I was, [00:16:55] you know, the real deal. And through that I realised this sounds like a cool company, that I want [00:17:00] to do something like this in the future. Why not just ask for a job? So in the interview just ask, can I work for you guys? They [00:17:05] said, what would you do? I said, I have marketing experience, I’ve done this, I’ve done this, I’ve done this. And through that, I [00:17:10] got offered a job, uh, in the beginning as essentially like a marketing person. [00:17:15] Yeah, it was it was a paid role. So I was an intern. But to start with your ability, like. Yeah, junior [00:17:20] marketing associate.

Payman Langroudi: And what were you actually doing?

Faris: So essentially I was helping [00:17:25] with the marketing front in terms of the blog writing. So they did a lot of LinkedIn posts. I learned very quickly [00:17:30] that I wasn’t as good at blog writing as I thought, which was really good to learn, like they had people there that were really intelligent. [00:17:35] Um, I then helped them a little bit with their content, like pushing out. So whether [00:17:40] it comes like brand images or setting up their podcast, I don’t know if it’s still active, but I know they set [00:17:45] up their own podcast to talk about the Dental space. Um, and then I realised very [00:17:50] quickly that I’ve kind of done what I want in the marketing space, and I want to do sales [00:17:55] instead. So then I went to them and said, look, hey, I want to do some sales. And then from that I trained up in sales [00:18:00] and worked in the sales kind of department instead.

Payman Langroudi: But what did that entail?

Faris: So that essentially [00:18:05] meant that I was in contact with dentists 1 to 1. So whether it’s calling them or [00:18:10] following up with people that have open accounts that haven’t, you know, submitted a case or ordered any clear aligners, [00:18:15] I’d be there to guide them through it, bring people into the company, tell them about what we do. Kind of discovery [00:18:20] calls setting up onboarding. And my metrics for success would essentially [00:18:25] be based on how many people converted to, you know, get clear aligners in the end. So I spoke [00:18:30] to thousands of dentists last year and the year before about the product. And that’s why [00:18:35] I kind of got very confident in understanding the space. Um, and I left that job [00:18:40] only because I built my own Start-Up now, and I don’t have as much time. But yeah, it was it was a [00:18:45] fantastic experience, to be honest with you.

Payman Langroudi: I mean, a brilliant company. And Sonia herself just. [00:18:50] I’m totally fascinated.

Faris: Yeah, she’s she’s brilliant.

Payman Langroudi: Fantastic leader. Yeah. And [00:18:55] a fast moving, like, venture backed. Yeah. Yeah. They went from nothing to [00:19:00] I think it’s like 70 employees now and it’s crazy three years or something.

Faris: It’s crazy.

Payman Langroudi: And when I think [00:19:05] about it’s been the last 24 years to get into this, to this size, um, a [00:19:10] different way of doing business. But what do you really what were the key things you learned? I mean, is that what sparked [00:19:15] your interest to start your own company?

Faris: Yes. So the concept of me starting my own company has always been there. [00:19:20] I’ve always wanted to do it, but I never. It’s kind of like seeing a career path as a dentist. [00:19:25] I find it very challenging because I describe it as like the golden cage, like you make just enough money as a dentist [00:19:30] where you’re going to live a good life. You know, you have what you like and you’re doing a job that’s, you know, generally quite enjoyable. [00:19:35] So for me, it was identifying if I’m going to build something, I really want to make sure it’s going to work. And [00:19:40] I also want to do that by seeing the steps it takes. So the most valuable insight I had at [00:19:45] 32 was one being surrounded by people that were much, much smarter than I was, and they were able to kind of [00:19:50] tell me how to do things. And, you know, I got to see the inner workings of a Start-Up. And specifically, [00:19:55] you know, Sonja, of course, she’s fantastic. And on top of that, it was getting an experience of what a Start-Up [00:20:00] is actually like. What does this mean? What’s the difference between a Start-Up and a small business? Or, you know, what’s the difference [00:20:05] between just registering a company for £12 and companies House? So I learnt a lot from that experience [00:20:10] and it was quite cool as well, because the sidemen recorded some of their videos in the place we used to work. So that was that was [00:20:15] a nice added benefit as well.

Payman Langroudi: And were you just working from you weren’t in the office a lot were you?

Faris: Um, [00:20:20] so I was in the office and I was also working from home. So because where, where [00:20:25] I was working wasn’t too far from my uni, it was like a bus and a train ride away. I’d sometimes go [00:20:30] in, in person, whether it’s the evenings or come in on my days off, and I work from the office, but [00:20:35] if I didn’t have to, I’d just go home and work from home.

Payman Langroudi: Get specific on it. Yeah. What specifically? [00:20:40] Yeah. What was like an aha moment for you when you were working there?

Faris: I think the specific [00:20:45] aha moment I had was when we were having a particularly tough month, things were going, [00:20:50] you know, weren’t going great. It was really difficult. And seeing how everyone kind of banded together and we had [00:20:55] a certain set of targets we had to hit in my head. I’m going to be very frank and I can say this now. I [00:21:00] was thinking, there’s no way we’re going to hit this. It just doesn’t make sense. Like, you know, our targets here and we’re currently [00:21:05] here but fails targets. Yeah. With a sales target. Um, but seeing how well we were banded together, [00:21:10] the strategy that I was employed and how, you know, important, having a fantastic team was really [00:21:15] inspired me to be like, okay, well, there’s some situations where I might have done projects in the past that [00:21:20] haven’t quite worked out. And there’s a really critical moment when you’re building anything where you realise, is [00:21:25] it because this is a rubbish idea, or is it just because I need to stick through this and pivot or do something a bit differently? [00:21:30] And I learned that kind of grit, tenacity and pushing through the difficult [00:21:35] parts at 32. And from that, that’s probably one of my big learnings as well, is sometimes [00:21:40] things aren’t going well, but if you have the right team and you have the right strategy, you can really push things to [00:21:45] go absolutely mental. And it doesn’t mean, you know, what’s the bottom line on making X amount of money for my business? [00:21:50] It might be well, is my team motivated? Do we know what we need to achieve? Are we growing? There’s so many other metrics [00:21:55] of success that you can measure. So I learnt a lot working at those who go.

Payman Langroudi: Into it a bit more. Right. [00:22:00] So yeah, so we had this situation where sales are down here, the targets up there. Yeah. So what do they [00:22:05] do. They said oh we, they work back and say well we need this many new customers. That means we need [00:22:10] to make that many calls.

Faris: Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: So is that the kind of it was.

Faris: Very it was very data driven. [00:22:15] I’d say it was very data driven. So you’d kind of look at your analytics. Okay. Well, Faris, you’ve spoken to, you [00:22:20] know, 50 dentists this month. How many of those have actually converted? Okay. You’ve got like, let’s say one. It [00:22:25] wasn’t one, but let’s say there’s one. We need to get that number up to ten. What things have you done so far? What’s worked. What hasn’t [00:22:30] worked? Okay. Let’s double down on the things that have worked. Okay? Let’s bring someone from another department. Hey, marketing, why don’t we do [00:22:35] this instead? To try and improve the number of dentists that are coming from this, you know, Avenue. So it got [00:22:40] very. It was it was so interesting to see how granular you can get. And I think it comes from that concept of [00:22:45] like improving 1%. If you can prove little things, they start to stack up very quickly. Um, but [00:22:50] to get even more specific, it got to a point where, you know, everyone just kind of banded in. So it doesn’t matter if your [00:22:55] sales, if you’re marketing, getting involved and trying to put your input in to say, okay, this is how we can [00:23:00] improve this. You’ve said that this is working. Let’s really, really get specific and do more of that, [00:23:05] less of this and experiment what. So it was.

Payman Langroudi: Just give me a sample.

Faris: Give me some [00:23:10] more. So.

Payman Langroudi: So to get the right kind of dentist to come in and.

Faris: Also [00:23:15] to identify those, it’s kind of like leads, right. You’ve got people that are cold. You have people that are warm, people that are hot. Identifying [00:23:20] what it takes to get people through that funnel to go from the main thing that it was, was actually [00:23:25] the way that we were following up with people. So we were doing this thing where we were just sending emails or we were sending the [00:23:30] communications we were sending weren’t great. And we realised really quickly that dentists are very kind of time poor. Like they [00:23:35] want to be talked to at specific times. They want to be talked to in a specific way. So we developed a new script. We started [00:23:40] calling people at lunch and after work at specific times, and we started seeing a much better improvement. On [00:23:45] top of that, we just made things a lot easier. So, for example, there was a stage where for them to register [00:23:50] their aligners or register with one of our labs, it was really tedious. They had.

Payman Langroudi: The friction [00:23:55] in that reduced.

Faris: Friction like significantly, and we saw a much bigger conversion. So instead [00:24:00] of having to be first, you need to convert one person on average they can. Getting one case through it went to [00:24:05] I might convert two people, but they’re now averaging 2 to 3 cases because we made it so easy for them that they’re just doing [00:24:10] it now. So that is the type of stuff that I like. Sometimes it’s not that the product is bad, it’s [00:24:15] just you’re not making it easy enough for that person to do it. Like, um, there was a situation this [00:24:20] was with 32 kills with my company where we had a button that wasn’t working to register, and we [00:24:25] were like, why? Why is the registration down this week? And then we went and we used the site that that was the it was just something like [00:24:30] we thought it was, oh, our marketing’s rubbish or we’ve done this like actually no, just focus, find what the problem [00:24:35] is and also just changed the way I thought a lot. I got, I got really data specific about everything [00:24:40] that I do. So everything. Now if something fails I don’t get stressed. I’m like, okay, it’s failed. Why has it failed? [00:24:45] Let’s work out. Let’s work on the problem solving. Yeah, you’ve got to solve. That’s all Start-Ups are just you [00:24:50] have to put out fires left, right and centre. And if you don’t, well, Start-Ups die [00:24:55] all the time, don’t they? Like most Start-Ups fail if you’re not putting out. If you’re not putting out fires, and you don’t learn [00:25:00] how to problem solve quickly and get very creative, you will not survive. So you have to do that.

Payman Langroudi: And, [00:25:05] you know, in a way, it’s the only advantage of Start-Ups got is that nimbleness right?

Faris: And [00:25:10] speed is.

Payman Langroudi: Speed critical, you know, especially when you’re going up against some of the biggest companies in the [00:25:15] industry, right? Yeah. All right. Let’s talk about always. Sure. I mean, I’m [00:25:20] just just imagining your life at this period where you’ve got finals. At the end of the day, you’re working [00:25:25] on 32 coats.

Faris: Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: I just can’t imagine that. I can’t imagine when I had finals, it was [00:25:30] all encapsulated for me and I felt, yeah. So [00:25:35] yeah, it’s busy. Well, well, actually, before we go on to, I guess you qualified. Yeah. [00:25:40] And then you’re looking for a job.

Faris: Yeah. So I qualified. So thankfully I passed my finals. [00:25:45] Um, which was a surprise to me as well, But so past finals, um, and then it was just [00:25:50] finding my placement so where I wanted to work. So I also got married last year, which was, you know, fantastic. But it was [00:25:55] really busy. And my wife, she’s a doctor, so I was trying to find a place where she’d be able to have her placement [00:26:00] and I wouldn’t be too far away. So we ended up going to the Buckinghamshire scheme. So I’m placed currently [00:26:05] in the Buckinghamshire Thames Valley scheme, where I do my training.

Payman Langroudi: So you [00:26:10] knew she was there. So that’s why you aimed that direction.

Faris: And also it was brilliant. The scheme [00:26:15] is fantastic. I’ve had a great time and from my friends that are in the London scheme, it can be a little bit, you know, a bit more intense. Like [00:26:20] London is.

Payman Langroudi: Intense. How did you feel the first day when you went into that surgery? Because I remember the first [00:26:25] day of thinking, what the hell is this, man? Yeah, I was I was really, [00:26:30] like, sad about it because I don’t know. I don’t know what I thought I was getting myself into. Yeah, [00:26:35] but the practice was and by the way, the guy was a forward thinking, great boss. Yeah, [00:26:40] but just the whole NHS system, just what we were in. I was probably disillusioned. [00:26:45] How did you feel?

Faris: I thought it was tough because you don’t get [00:26:50] any exposure to Udhas or how to interact with patients at university. [00:26:55] It’s all very, you know, coddled. And you’re, you know, you’ve got your tutor there, someone’s there to help. Let’s check every step [00:27:00] of, oh, you’ve opened the tooth. You’ve taken the calories out. When I got into practice, I [00:27:05] realised that, yeah, I have support from my ES who’s great, but you are on your own. Like you’re the [00:27:10] person responsible. You’ve got the doctor and your GDC number for a reason. Um, so yeah, it was it [00:27:15] was definitely a challenge in the beginning. Not because I found it particularly challenging with the treatment, [00:27:20] but I found it challenging to manage everything in terms of, okay, well, this is how I want to communicate with my patients. And [00:27:25] at the back of my mind, just to be really frank, I’m thinking this isn’t the optimal option. Like, I’d [00:27:30] rather do this, but that’s private. So it’s it was it was a bit disheartening [00:27:35] because sometimes you feel like you can’t do the work you want to do. Um, but I still pride myself on [00:27:40] doesn’t matter. I’m still going to do the best I possibly can with the resources I have. So I never [00:27:45] make excuses. I’m not going to, you know, just put some fissure sealant and send them on the way. I’m still going to do the treatment. Yeah. But [00:27:50] yeah. No it was. Yeah, it was, it was, it was a bit of a rude awakening. When you’re in practice, you’re realising how [00:27:55] challenging it can be for patients to deal with the setbacks of the NHS. [00:28:00]

Payman Langroudi: And I’m not I’m not up to date with it anymore. But like, how many patients a day do you see now?

Faris: Um, [00:28:05] it’s not too many coming.

Payman Langroudi: To the end of your.

Faris: Yeah, yeah. So I’d say like the average I’d probably say 15, [00:28:10] probably 15, 20 I don’t. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: So how about at the beginning. They start the.

Faris: Beginning. [00:28:15]

Payman Langroudi: It’s like 4 or 5. Yeah.

Faris: 4 or 5. You know you got your lovely hour long appointments you can do like, [00:28:20] um, but you learn very quickly.

Payman Langroudi: Is it still the same that one day a week you go for.

Faris: Yeah. You have a [00:28:25] study day. Yeah. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Which was, for me fun. I enjoyed it was good.

Faris: It was good. I liked I loved my [00:28:30] sunny days even. Pretty brilliant. Like, um, we have ours really close to where I work. Anyway, [00:28:35] anyway, so it was. Yeah, they’re great because you get to learn, you get to meet interesting dentists, and you get to meet the rest of [00:28:40] your kind of cohort so you don’t feel like you’re alone when you’re complaining about, oh, I did this treatment [00:28:45] and it failed someone else, like, oh, I did the same thing. And you know, it’s fine.

Payman Langroudi: You know, the the next job. [00:28:50] Yeah, is actually much more isolating. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Faris: I’ve heard it’s very lonely. [00:28:55]

Payman Langroudi: You’re literally there by yourself and there’s no one to talk to. And so. And and everyone’s expecting [00:29:00] you just to do the job. And I remember my nurse being I mean, Leslie, if you’re out there, was [00:29:05] the one who was telling me, hey, the previous guy used to do this in this situation. And, and, [00:29:10] you know, it turned out I wasn’t doing any indirect. I was just doing fillings. And she was [00:29:15] saying, well, he would have done it only there where he did that filling, you know, just just that. Yeah. Of [00:29:20] course in those days there wasn’t, you know, the internet. So yeah Yeah.

Faris: It’s. Yeah, it’s a very [00:29:25] different. I have so many patients come in now like speaking about things very specifically like, oh, I want to get online or [00:29:30] I want whitening or I want some crown.

Payman Langroudi: At Dental IQs. Right up. Yeah.

Faris: Wow. Way higher, way higher. [00:29:35] You know, I have people ask me about survival rates of certain treatments. Okay. Um, so you.

Payman Langroudi: At [00:29:40] that point now where you’re applying for real jobs. Yeah, yeah.

Faris: I am, so I should be working in kind of [00:29:45] like the London Essex area hopefully this coming year. Mixed practice and in September. [00:29:50]

Payman Langroudi: Yeah.

Faris: September. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Have you got a job ready.

Faris: Yeah I do, I do yeah.

Payman Langroudi: So you know where it is.

Faris: Yeah I know I’m gonna [00:29:55] be, yeah it’s gonna be Essex. Oh yeah yeah. So you know I know the area really well. I was raised [00:30:00] there most of my life, so it’s where I wanted to stay for the long term as well.

Payman Langroudi: So people [00:30:05] underestimate knowing the area. Oh, it’s.

Faris: So.

Payman Langroudi: Important. It’s so important. So important. I remember [00:30:10] I was working in Kent. Yeah. And my boss was this old timer. [00:30:15] Like he’d gone private in 1963. Oh, wow. Imagine. Yeah. [00:30:20] And, uh, this guy was just a master with patience. Yeah, [00:30:25] an absolute master. And sometimes I’d be shadowing him. I’d watch him and he’d say something [00:30:30] to the patient and go, what the hell did he just say to that patient? I just couldn’t believe it. Yeah, and the patient [00:30:35] would rip laugh, roaring laugh. And you come to realise here that when you’re from [00:30:40] the area, you know the people? Yeah. There’s a there’s a connection that people take for granted. [00:30:45] Like if I came to Essex and tried to do that job and you’re there [00:30:50] and she says, I’ve just been to so and so’s shopping centre, you know what that place is. Yeah. [00:30:55] Just just that fact.

Faris: Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: 100% particular words people use in particular locations. [00:31:00] Those nuances are what? Cause, you know, like trust with with a patient. Yeah. [00:31:05] Let’s talk about your lives now. Sure. Tell me the story.

Faris: Yeah. [00:31:10] So whistle stop tour. So again, as you know, I did the social media stuff in [00:31:15] the medical and dental admission space. So getting kids into dental medical school from that. I then [00:31:20] started building it out with, you know, trying to do like webinars and free content. And then I realised [00:31:25] over the years that I’d get the same question like hundreds of times a year. I just [00:31:30] kept students messaging me the same thing and I realised, well, I can keep answering. I actually had it on my notes app, like an Instagram [00:31:35] message template where I just copy and paste it. But I said, well, now we have AI, let’s [00:31:40] leverage this and use it to solve this problem, which is students don’t know how to get the right resources. [00:31:45] Interview prep is difficult and it’s expensive. You can have kids paying hundreds and hundreds of [00:31:50] pounds to get tutored on something that shouldn’t really be that expensive. So [00:31:55] then I started exploring what can I do? I looked into AI. I realised I’m an idiot. I don’t know anything about computer science or [00:32:00] how to build a software product. So I then looked to find someone that could build it for me. So typically [00:32:05] in the tech space, you go to places abroad, so you might hire like a development team in [00:32:10] India, Vietnam, etc. to build it out, but you don’t have as much control. So I just went to a bunch of founders [00:32:15] events, met some people that would be interested in building it with me, and from that experience, I met [00:32:20] my co-founder, Angelina, who is the Chief Technical officer. So she builds all the software for [00:32:25] the for the product. And from then we’ve just been building AIS for about a year and a bit now. Um, wait, [00:32:30] wait.

Payman Langroudi: Let’s rewind. Yeah, I went to a bunch of founders events. Yeah. What are.

Faris: They? So [00:32:35] essentially, it’s a place where you meet people that are [00:32:40] interested in building a Start-Up, but they typically with a Start-Up, you kind of have like a [00:32:45] two main roles that you want filled in the beginning in the founder role, which is someone that’s like a CEO. [00:32:50] So that can deal with like the marketing, the placement, the sales, the vision of the company and a CTO [00:32:55] who is the person that’s going to build the technical side of the company. So typically they’ll have a computer science, software engineering [00:33:00] background. So at these founders events, it’s a good place for you to meet people that are like [00:33:05] minded and are looking to build something, but they’re just trying to find the right match.

Payman Langroudi: Are you literally googling founders events? [00:33:10]

Faris: Yeah. Founders events. Um, this specific one was actually like an online zoom kind of session [00:33:15] thing, which I found on an app called slack, which is like, yeah, like a professional [00:33:20] discord or like whatever, like zoom. And through that I met Angelina because I pitched [00:33:25] my idea. She liked it and we started talking about it.

Payman Langroudi: So was that the setup that. Yeah, literally the CEO and the CTOs [00:33:30] were sort of pitching themselves.

Faris: Yeah, yeah. In a way, it was it wasn’t even directly CEO, CTO. It was just people saying [00:33:35] what they do, what they’re interested in. And then you naturally, you naturally kind of blend together and [00:33:40] see if you know, you’d be a good match. And luckily we were I interviewed a few other people, like the way I’d screen was I’d just [00:33:45] send them like a task like, hey, build this out for me, and I’d see how good it was, like build on it. So [00:33:50] the task I’d set them was just build a web page that can record video and [00:33:55] store the video. That’s what I wanted. I wanted something really basic and just design a really basic page. [00:34:00] So that was the task and I would just compare.

Payman Langroudi: I think now you can just tell ChatGPT, yeah, probably just do it for [00:34:05] you. Yeah, yeah.

Faris: The thing is with ChatGPT can do it for you. It’s about where the data [00:34:10] gets stored and how you handle it. That’s where it gets challenging. Um, and Angelina was the person that did it the best. Like. [00:34:15]

Payman Langroudi: What did the past the best?

Faris: Yeah. Yeah, she was brilliant. Like, she was leagues ahead of everyone else that even [00:34:20] tried.

Payman Langroudi: But then also the the fit. I mean, before you were talking about the [00:34:25] vision being the same. Yeah. What is it about her? Okay, okay. She knows how to use a computer. Yeah, [00:34:30] yeah, but what is it about her that aligns with your outlook like your basic principles? [00:34:35] Yeah.

Faris: So it was kind of the alignment of how I think and [00:34:40] how the company needs to be built, which is going to be, you know, grit and is going to be resourcefulness. Those are two [00:34:45] things that we value really highly. So with her, she’s fantastic. She didn’t go to university. She actually did an [00:34:50] apprenticeship in the computer science space, levelled up really quickly, worked at a big bank [00:34:55] in New York and is now a senior software engineer. And she’s only 2223. So she’s [00:35:00] she comes from that background of really hustling. She also worked at a charitable organisation that helped youth [00:35:05] get into competitive jobs and careers. So she has a bit of experience in that space. So it was [00:35:10] a pretty perfect pairing up where she was really kind of young, tenacious, knew what [00:35:15] she wanted. I was in the same spot and it just made sense to just go all in.

Payman Langroudi: And is it just the two of you? [00:35:20]

Faris: It’s just two of us. We have a few people working as interns that do kind of our marketing and some of the blog writing, [00:35:25] but we do most of the the main work and finance. So [00:35:30] we raised money from an accelerator in America called Techstars. So [00:35:35] that was a six figure round. And we basically used that to help build out the product, [00:35:40] bringing new people in. Hopefully this year as we look to expand, um, into new markets, what.

Payman Langroudi: Was [00:35:45] what was that process?

Faris: So that was a lot of interviews and a lot of rejection. If you’re asking [00:35:50] actually about failure, I should have mentioned that we got rejected so many times. It was a different incubator. Yeah. [00:35:55] Oh my God. It was very painful. Like, okay, so.

Payman Langroudi: Look, I’ve given this advice to a bunch [00:36:00] of people that, you know, they say, here’s my business idea. And I’m like, go find an incubator. Yeah. So [00:36:05] what did you do? Why? America? I mean, did you just Google health tech incubators? What did what happened? [00:36:10]

Faris: So this was so textile is a bit different from some incubators when When you have an idea, you’ve not built anything. We apply to [00:36:15] an accelerator. So Horace had a little bit of a basic MVP like minimum product. Minimum viable product. [00:36:20] Um, so the way we applied would be. Yeah, Google. So we just googled a bunch of different places. So [00:36:25] everyone knows, like Y Combinator, which is one of the biggest ones. There’s also Techstars, there’s one called neo. [00:36:30] There’s a few in the UK like entrepreneur. First you’d send a big application in, you’d do a few interviews [00:36:35] if you got lucky and then you’d get accepted or rejected and the.

Payman Langroudi: Application knowing what [00:36:40] to send. Yes. So Google that.

Faris: Google. Honestly, it was all in Google. And YouTube [00:36:45] for me has been half of my life has been like learning things on YouTube. So we just went on YouTube. So there’s plenty.

Payman Langroudi: Of resource [00:36:50] about.

Faris: That. So many resources. It is tough though. I have to be frank. It’s tough, especially because a lot of [00:36:55] these places look at your background. So when I was applying, I was 22 and I was 21. You know, [00:37:00] we obviously we’d done stuff, but we don’t have like PhDs in computer science or like a, you [00:37:05] know, ten years experience. So we had to supplement that with what things that we’ve done and what [00:37:10] vision we had and the kind of, you know, the modelling of the product and how big it can get. That was [00:37:15] what made us stand out. We were really clear. And on top of that, we had a brilliant founder fit. So even as [00:37:20] I describe it now, a lot of the things that we built independently of each other and things we’ve done fit really well. [00:37:25] Me working in the education space, Angelina working in the charity space, helping people get in made [00:37:30] so much sense to, you know, tech stars at least to bring us on. But yeah, it was a lot of rejection. [00:37:35] We had a lot of people say no to how many like I think we applied to [00:37:40] ten, 20 different like incubators, accelerators. Bear in mind though, a lot of them also we applied to that. [00:37:45] We we knew we wouldn’t get them, but it was just for the experience. Yeah. Um, so ones like neo which take like the [00:37:50] top, they put, uh, you get 3% equity about like 600 K investment. [00:37:55] So they go for like massive billion dollar companies. But we just thought let’s apply. I like to learn from failure. [00:38:00] And yeah we learned a lot. And we got ours in America because we want to expand into [00:38:05] the American market. So we thought it would make sense to spend some time in the States and get some experience there. [00:38:10] And it did work out pretty well.

Payman Langroudi: So you send off a bunch of applications, you get a bunch of [00:38:15] immediate rejections, not immediate.

Faris: We got like a so we had a few immediate, but a lot of them, we’d [00:38:20] get into the second stage where they liked the idea and some a lot of them now don’t do interviews. They’ll just do [00:38:25] okay. More details about you and your company, some CVS, etc. and then you go into interviews. So typically [00:38:30] you’ll have about 3 to 10 rounds of interviews depending on the accelerator. And each stage you [00:38:35] get filtered down more and more and more.

Payman Langroudi: So tell me about the interview.

Faris: So how many.

Payman Langroudi: Of them [00:38:40] are.

Faris: Yeah. So with Techstars specifically, I think it starts off as [00:38:45] you send the application, your first interview is them getting to know you as founders, because Techstars is early on like [00:38:50] founders fit. They ask us a lot about our backgrounds, how we met, what our experiences were, [00:38:55] and then after that, the next stage is speaking to the managing director of the scheme. So that’s usually someone [00:39:00] that’s very accomplished. Has sold their company for X billions and they want to kind of probe a bit more into, [00:39:05] you know, what you want to get out of the the accelerator or incubator y you’re applying to. What are you going to [00:39:10] benefit from just doing it yourself?

Payman Langroudi: And is your application saying how much money you’re after? [00:39:15]

Faris: It’s not saying how much money you’re after, because the amount of money that you get is based on the the [00:39:20] accelerator you apply to. So you kind of know beforehand what the terms are and you apply [00:39:25] based on that.

Payman Langroudi: So you knew, for instance, at Techstars that it was in the region of 150,000. [00:39:30] Exactly. Us. Right?

Faris: Yeah, yeah, that’s what we knew from the from the beginning. And [00:39:35] then after that you had the final interview. So we had 3 or 4.

Payman Langroudi: So what are the questions? What kind [00:39:40] of things do they ask.

Faris: The questions would be things like firstly really basic things like tell us a bit about [00:39:45] yourself. Why is your company going to succeed. Why would you why why is your company any good? [00:39:50] The most common one you generally get is why are you going to win? Which is basically why are [00:39:55] you, as founders, the right people to build this? What if you know Joe Bloggs off the streets, decides, oh, I want to build [00:40:00] an AI into your app? Um, so it was questions like that, and I guess the most challenging ones will look [00:40:05] at if you don’t get this money, what would you do? So what’s your plan? How are you going to build this out without us? What [00:40:10] things do you need? What products are you going to be to.

Payman Langroudi: That would you say?

Faris: Well, we told them we bootstrap, [00:40:15] which means that we just take money from our from. So I had some money saved up. And also did we put our own money into it and build it [00:40:20] out. And also we’re very scrappy. So we build things as cheaply as possible and [00:40:25] push it out to test. And then we put money into it. So that’s how we’ve built the product out. And [00:40:30] I guess one of the other big questions is essentially around the whole concept of you’re probably going [00:40:35] to fail. It’s the reality. How are you going to ensure that doesn’t happen? That’s the biggest thing you [00:40:40] always get asked. So that comes into your modelling like your financial modelling, your business plan, what [00:40:45] exactly the market is saying right now? How big is the market? Is it even worth investing in. And that’s where you have [00:40:50] to know your numbers really well and put yourself out there.

Payman Langroudi: And you have to sell $1 million dream. [00:40:55]

Faris: Right? Essentially, yeah.

Payman Langroudi: The bigger, the bigger the thing you sell, the more they’re interested, right?

Faris: And especially [00:41:00] when you’re applying to accelerators in America. And this is what we learned from working in America. Everyone’s very kind of, [00:41:05] you know, they really believe in their product, even if they’re in debt. Even if the product is failing, you might speak to them and [00:41:10] it’s like, oh my God, this is going to be the next Facebook. So you need to, you know, you have to have that that strong [00:41:15] confidence and enthusiasm to get through. And we’re a bit more British. We’re a little bit more modest, like, oh yeah, yeah, we’re [00:41:20] going to do quite well because we’ve looked at this as this, but you learn to really believe in your vision and your dream. [00:41:25]

Payman Langroudi: So then of the did you have more than one offer?

Faris: So [00:41:30] actually we this was the one offer that was most exciting to us in terms of the ones we applied [00:41:35] to. This was the one. This was the one that we got accepted at was Techstars. Um, the only other [00:41:40] one we were considering realistically would have been Y Combinator. But there was one [00:41:45] issue which was obviously I was doing my part here, so if I wanted to do that, I would have had to leave dentistry completely [00:41:50] and I wasn’t going to. Yeah. And I wasn’t quite willing to do that. So that was one thing as well to bear in mind [00:41:55] for anyone applying to accelerators, you’re going to have a higher rejection rate if you’re not working on it full time. So [00:42:00] we were quite lucky that we found an accelerator that believed in our vision and believed that we’d be able to get the results even if [00:42:05] I wasn’t there full time, you know, in America.

Payman Langroudi: So what [00:42:10] happens next? They give you the money?

Faris: Yeah. So they give you the money.

Payman Langroudi: Do they get.

Faris: So they get [00:42:15] a percentage of the way that ours works is a bit differently. So they get their equity on the next [00:42:20] round that gets raised. So essentially.

Payman Langroudi: If another round doesn’t get raised then.

Faris: Yeah. Then there’s a very small [00:42:25] amount of equity that they get. But it’s it’s not significant. Yeah. And they raise it as a [00:42:30] essentially it’s it’s more as how do I explain it in a way that’s so it’s more like [00:42:35] based on the future value of the company. Yeah. So it’s not based on the current value. And they [00:42:40] typically will also take interest on the money that’s given. Because I’m Muslim, [00:42:45] I then talk to them about how we don’t really deal with interest, not something I’m comfortable with. So we actually manage to get ours [00:42:50] as interest free. So luckily we’ve got that money and we don’t we don’t pay any interest on it. So yeah, it [00:42:55] was quite an exciting day when I saw like a bunch of cash just being deposited into our like [00:43:00] business account. It was a pretty sweet now.

Payman Langroudi: So they now own what percentage of your company? [00:43:05]

Faris: Um, so it’s not very much. Let’s say it’s I said it really depends on the next round, but you [00:43:10] can put it between the realms of 3 to 6%, something like that.

Payman Langroudi: So then the next round comes along. Yeah. Someone invest [00:43:15] £10 million. Yeah. They now have 3 to 6% of. Yeah. So they’ll [00:43:20] take that valuation.

Faris: Yeah. Yeah yeah. So it’s dependent on how big the next round is. So [00:43:25] the smaller your next round is the worst. You want to make sure that your company is seen as more valuable. Typically, in the Start-Up world, [00:43:30] you want to continuously go upwards. If you raise a down round, it’s pretty much seen as your company is not doing [00:43:35] very well. But the way that things are going now, we’re not in any dire need to raise a lot of money, which [00:43:40] is good because our products are not really expensive to run. And because I have Angelina in house, I don’t have to [00:43:45] spend the. Usually the biggest expense for a tech product is the development team, but I’m [00:43:50] very lucky that I have most of that in house. So Angelina is fantastic at building all of that out, and it saves us a lot of money [00:43:55] in the long run.

Payman Langroudi: But what is your runway? I mean, have you are you have you got that in your mind? So [00:44:00] I will run out of money by such and such date.

Faris: Yeah, I’d say I run my own. Honestly, it’s [00:44:05] going to really highly depend on this next phase of the business. If we kept going as things are, our runways like [00:44:10] 2 to 4 years, it’s quite. You’re spending like, we’re not really spending very much. You know, we’re in a pretty [00:44:15] good spot with this new market, though. If we do decide to go into the much bigger job seeking [00:44:20] market, which is what we’re doing, we would most likely need to start looking into bringing in the development team and bringing in some more people [00:44:25] to accelerate the speed of the the product. And also, if I do decide to go into it full [00:44:30] time, which I’m not planning to do at the moment, like, you know, salaries and things like that, that you’d have to start supplementing. [00:44:35]

Payman Langroudi: And it sounds exciting, but at the same time it sounds difficult. [00:44:40] It’s very difficult to be a dentist. Yeah, yeah it is.

Faris: Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Like to have a full time job and. Yeah, [00:44:45] this it is.

Faris: It’s tough.

Payman Langroudi: Is that what you’re planning? Five days a week is then. Um. No, I’m.

Faris: Not doing five days. I’ll probably do [00:44:50] four days, which is my plan for this year. And it’s going to be working on all [00:44:55] eyes on the other all the other time. But yeah, my time even now is quite packed up. You know, it’s busy, [00:45:00] but you’ve kind of got to work it out as you go along. There’s other things at stake here, like, I [00:45:05] don’t want to completely leave the industry. It’s still a career I love. But at the same time, if this picks up, then maybe down the line, [00:45:10] it’s something I decide I want to focus all my energy on.

Payman Langroudi: Well, my advice here on [00:45:15] in this sort of thing is I’ve done it. I’ve done one day a week, I’ve done two days a week. I’ve [00:45:20] done them all. Yeah. Um, and, you know, we started this while I was still a dentist. Yeah. Yeah. [00:45:25] I feel like if you’ve got another thing. Yeah. Two days a week of dentistry [00:45:30] is career, right? Okay. If you haven’t got another thing, three days a week [00:45:35] of dentistry is correct. Mhm. Yeah. And it’s, it sounds ridiculous because. Yeah I haven’t mentioned four [00:45:40] and five days yet, but there’s a massive difference between two days a week and three days a week [00:45:45] really interestingly for me. But when I was working three days a week as a dentist I felt like I was [00:45:50] being a dentist. Yeah, yeah, everything else was, was supplemental. Whereas when I was working [00:45:55] two days a week as a dentist, I felt like dentistry was the hobby. Yeah. And I could [00:46:00] focus on this as it happened at the time, was writing. Yeah. And I [00:46:05] don’t know that it makes sense yet because you’re so inexperienced as a dentist. Yeah, but [00:46:10] I’d consider it because if this plan is going somewhere. Yeah, [00:46:15] four days a week is dentist.

Faris: Yeah. It’s tough. I know, I know, I know, it’s going.

Payman Langroudi: To be Angelina. [00:46:20] How many days a week is she going to work?

Faris: Yeah, it’s probably similar, but like that.

Payman Langroudi: Needs to be a lot.

Faris: As [00:46:25] well.

Payman Langroudi: Like, you know, even if, even if she’s the loveliest saintly person [00:46:30] and she says, listen, I don’t mind, you go off being in the end, that will be a problem. Yeah.

Faris: No, it’s true, it’s true. It’s [00:46:35] something we’ve had conversations about. It’s something that we’ve planned for. This year will be quite pivotal because obviously we’re [00:46:40] going into a much bigger market and we’re changing the way that we’re we’re we’re let’s.

Payman Langroudi: Talk about let’s talk about products. So [00:46:45] you you say you train an AI model. Yeah. To help people with interviews. [00:46:50] Mhm. And now you’re saying to help people with getting jobs. Yes. What [00:46:55] does it what does it mean to train an AI model. How does it how just talk me through the basics of that.

Faris: Yeah. So [00:47:00] starting from the very beginning people think of AI. Right now I think of ChatGPT and they think of, you [00:47:05] know, Bard and all these different things. When you’re building an AI product, you’re going to have an AI [00:47:10] base. So a large language model like ChatGPT, and then you want to then build your own data [00:47:15] sets to make it more specific. So we have our own custom data sets, our own custom kind of machine learning [00:47:20] that’s been built by Angelina. That makes our AI feedback very specific to particular [00:47:25] interview style questions. Um, and right now, the power in how the product works is [00:47:30] the data. So the way we use that is we’ve got lots of hours of kind of communication and talks [00:47:35] and, you know, interview questions that we’ve had from this last year and that goes into improving the AI model. And [00:47:40] that comes from a mix of us vetting it ourselves. So, you know, to be able to label things, okay, this is good. This is [00:47:45] bad. And also the AI working quite hard at being able to analyse that data in very [00:47:50] large chunks. Um, and.

Payman Langroudi: Then you test it by asking questions and seeing if the answer [00:47:55] makes sense to you.

Faris: Exactly. You have to. There’s a lot of testing and even then, look, I, I [00:48:00] say this like, you know, I know AI is going to tell us, but AI is stupid in a lot of things. There’s a lot of things that it doesn’t do very well. [00:48:05] So you need to kind of fine tune and get a little, you know, ticks and crosses so that it knows that this is good [00:48:10] and this is bad because it is brilliant. But if anyone’s used ChatGPT especially like when you’re [00:48:15] trying to, you know, write a script or do blog writing, etc., there’s still little bits that you need to add a human [00:48:20] touch and element to, and that’s where building a company like this works really well. So.

Payman Langroudi: You [00:48:25] know, my understanding talking to founders is that right now it’s a very difficult [00:48:30] time to raise cash.

Faris: Very difficult.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. Although they say unless you’re in AI or you’re in healthcare. [00:48:35]

Faris: Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Which is lovely because you’re in both AI and healthcare in a way. Right. But this, this [00:48:40] thing that you’re doing, which is kind of building your own vertical, um, based on your data. [00:48:45] Yeah. Is that is that a very common thing that, I mean, it must be, right. People must be doing [00:48:50] AI versions of stuff for lots of different industries.

Faris: It’s a it’s a good [00:48:55] business model if you have your moat, which is what’s going to protect you from someone else building the [00:49:00] same thing. So for us, our moat is the amount of time we put into it the experience that we have in the industry and [00:49:05] also the data that we have. Yeah. Is that like.

Payman Langroudi: Is that a question they’re asking you?

Faris: Yeah, you have to you have [00:49:10] to be ready for it because it’s investors, you know, especially when you start pitching things. They don’t know [00:49:15] anything about your product, but they’re they’re looking at it as, you know, what dollar signs and pound signs [00:49:20] they want to see. How much money can I get out of this company. So you need to be able to answer any question whether it winds [00:49:25] you up, whether you like it, whether you don’t, so that you can prove that, you know, we are a winnable product. We’re going to win because [00:49:30] of this, this and this. Um, but yeah, it’s challenging. It’s challenging if you.

Payman Langroudi: Identify data [00:49:35] sets that you’d love to get your hands on. Yeah.

Faris: You can buy data sets as well. Yeah. You can. [00:49:40] Yeah. You can definitely buy.

Payman Langroudi: What kind of data set would it be that you’re after.

Faris: So you can have things like sentiment [00:49:45] analysis. So you can have things where it’s had data. Um, that’s looked at I don’t know, like [00:49:50] the, the way the certain words that come up in strong interview candidates [00:49:55] or weak interview candidates, or you can buy data sets that are able to identify how many times [00:50:00] someone says, um, in a natural sense or whatever it’s going to be, so you can buy that stuff online. Obviously [00:50:05] it’s not cheap, and then it makes you more generic. If you’re buying something that’s not custom made for your [00:50:10] base. That’s why we decided we need to build us. And that’s why, I mean, about the way that the philosophy of the [00:50:15] company is you build first. Like, we don’t worry if we build something and it’s it breaks and it doesn’t work [00:50:20] because we know that we’re trying to just be as quick as possible, be scrappy, be, you know, be [00:50:25] as adaptable as you can. If you don’t do that, you’re going to be dead in the water. No one’s going to want to invest [00:50:30] in your company, and your company will die very quickly in the tech space at least.

Payman Langroudi: So the interview one, [00:50:35] it listens to the way you talk. Yes. The number of times you’re coming and eyeing. [00:50:40] Yeah. And the content of what you’re saying. Exactly.

Faris: Yes.

Payman Langroudi: And so is it ready now? [00:50:45] Because it’s ready now. Go on it right now.

Faris: And you could go on it right now. Yeah. You can.

Payman Langroudi: Use livestock.

Faris: Or Isai. [00:50:50] It’s the same name as a company, the same URL. Um, and you can use it and you can practice with it and [00:50:55] do different questions. Right now the current version is specific to people applying for university. So it’s [00:51:00] going to be dental questions, medical questions and things like computer science and pharmacy that have interviews. [00:51:05] But as of the next few weeks, for the next couple of months, we’re building up the job seeking aspect. So it’s [00:51:10] now going to help people be better at their jobs, job interviews, and giving them feedback on the way that they speak and [00:51:15] present themselves. And if you’re looking down like this, or you’re umming and arring and you’ve got bad eye contact, it’s going to be [00:51:20] able to give you feedback on that as well. And there’s also really simple things that we bring in, which is like, you know, for [00:51:25] university, it’s like personal statement reading. So we can read your personal statement with I tell you where to improve, what things [00:51:30] are good and bad at. And the same thing with CVS. It’s not a difficult thing to build out. It’s [00:51:35] more of a thing that is good with your product that, you know, kind of feeds people into the interview stuff.

Payman Langroudi: And [00:51:40] what’s the business model.

Faris: So it’s a subscription based model. So the way that [00:51:45] it works is people pay £15 a month to have access to the site. Within that you get access [00:51:50] to a few things. So one is the CV checking and personal statement AI tool. You also get access to [00:51:55] our interview content. So that allows you to record videos and get the instant feedback which gives you access [00:52:00] to resources. Transcript reading and a breakdown of how powerful or strong the interview is, [00:52:05] especially compared to other candidates. And the next thing that we’re building out is our resources library. So [00:52:10] we’re going to have courses on the actual site where you’re going to be able to improve things that you’re weaker. So let’s say you do [00:52:15] ten questions and you’re always absolutely dreadful at critical thinking questions. We’ll have modules [00:52:20] that teach you how to get better at critical thinking. So it’s an all in one platform to help people improve.

Payman Langroudi: Isn’t [00:52:25] it really flawed as a business model insomuch as your [00:52:30] customers constantly falling off, you’re constantly churning?

Faris: Yeah, that’s one [00:52:35] of the big challenges of of the product. And that’s why our long term plan is to build it out where it’s also [00:52:40] directly related to recruitment companies. So it will help match together job seekers and recruiters. [00:52:45] So it allows for people to improve their interview skills and be pre-screened and also be attached to jobs, because [00:52:50] that is one of the big issues we have is churn, which is where you might have people use it for a short period of time.

Payman Langroudi: They get into university. [00:52:55] I don’t need it anymore. Or if I get my job, I don’t need it anymore.

Faris: Exactly. So that’s how we’re improving it. And also [00:53:00] on the communication front, having those courses, those resources, so people are better at communicating as a whole. [00:53:05] But yeah, it’s one of those things that we need to find a better solution for. But right now, as we’re [00:53:10] building it out, it’s going into that job market and going into the recruitment market and bringing them in. So it’s a.

Payman Langroudi: I guess that’s [00:53:15] one of the reasons you’re doing this. Yeah. Yeah.

Faris: Yeah. Exactly. It’s tough. It’s that’s one of the things as [00:53:20] long as you the issue with building quickly is you have to build it quickly and then you realise, oh this [00:53:25] is really good. But okay, now here’s the next challenge. Oh this is really good. Okay. Here’s now the next challenge. So you have to [00:53:30] constantly iterate and improve. We originally wanted it to just be specifically only for [00:53:35] medical and dental students. So we were even thinking, oh, okay, well we should just support them through their journey at university. [00:53:40] So we’re going to do like an Oscar helper on university, um, exams. But then we realised that’s [00:53:45] not what we want to do. It’s not it’s not the right product for this. So yeah, it’s a lot of experimenting and [00:53:50] failing a lot to find out what works.

Payman Langroudi: But when you think about it like, [00:53:55] I don’t know, I subscribe to whatever I subscribe to, right? Ag1. Yeah, yeah, [00:54:00] I’m going to continue subscribing to that green powder. Yeah. Until I get sick of it [00:54:05] or something. Yeah, yeah. But with yours it’s, it’s got a, it’s almost like it’s the brand. [00:54:10] You have to feel like this brand has helped me so much. And it’s now changes as I [00:54:15] change my job roles. It’s a difficult challenge. It’s a difficult one. It’s not an easy challenge.

Faris: It’s not, [00:54:20] it’s not, it’s it’s something that we’re working with and something that we’re aware of as a [00:54:25] challenge of the business. And that’s why we’re trying to find out how we’re going to improve that long [00:54:30] term maintenance of the people that come in. So they don’t just come in and churn and leave. But it’s [00:54:35] also one of those things where, you know, the market’s big enough, where even if they are churning, there’s enough job seekers, enough people that are trying [00:54:40] to use the product where it works quite well as a subscription model for X number of months. [00:54:45] So yeah, it’s definitely a challenge that we’re that we’re working.

Payman Langroudi: Because, you know, that annual [00:54:50] recurring revenue model. Yeah. The reason people like it is because it’s sticky. Sticky. [00:54:55] True. You know.

Faris: The reason why all markets are interesting is because you always have a [00:55:00] new set of university applicants every year that always come at the exact same time. So that’s the only [00:55:05] reason why we can be cohorts keep coming. Exactly. You always know there’s going to be a new market [00:55:10] ready for the taking. So when we pitched it, because we had this question a lot, we pitched it more as instead of it being [00:55:15] as like a high churn, it’s a seasonal business. So we’ve got certain High peak and low peak, and that’s why [00:55:20] job seeking is the next thing we’re going into, because it’s a little bit more stable where you can have that, you know, [00:55:25] more is going to stay consistent throughout the year and not just peaks and troughs all the time.

Payman Langroudi: It’s [00:55:30] a massive challenge, man. It is.

Faris: Yeah. Building is hard.

Payman Langroudi: I’m a little [00:55:35] bit concerned that you’re doing this alongside your first job. Yeah, but but if anyone can, you [00:55:40] can. I mean, I’m trying. That’s why I asked you about. First question. Have you always been a high achiever? [00:55:45] Yeah I.

Faris: Try. I mean, it’s tough though.

Payman Langroudi: The good thing is that let’s say you fail. Yeah. [00:55:50] The learnings will be amazing.

Faris: Exactly. That’s why for me, I don’t I, I never [00:55:55] look at something as I, there’s nothing that I do that I really worry about. I just do it. If it doesn’t work, [00:56:00] it’s not the end of the world. I don’t have any shame. I don’t really care as long as I’ve put as much time and effort into it as possible, [00:56:05] and I’ve gained something out of it. I’ve learned what’s the problem? You know, I will always be the person [00:56:10] that will. I’d rather do something. Obviously it doesn’t fail, but hopefully it doesn’t fail. But I’d rather do it and learn [00:56:15] than just sit twiddling my thumbs and think, oh, the market’s not right or it’s not the right time. Oh look, there’s another competitor doing it. Just [00:56:20] do it. Learn. If you fail, great. Do something else. Like congratulations. You’re going to close down the company, [00:56:25] spend another £12, open something else. It’s just how I am. I will keep doing things until [00:56:30] it works. It just won’t ever end.

Payman Langroudi: Okay. But your [00:56:35] life isn’t on the line.

Faris: Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. With financially. Yeah. Exactly, [00:56:40] exactly. Important to keep that way. I mean, it’s interesting how in the US they the second time founders [00:56:45] as more like they like people who failed once. Yeah. They love it. It’s kind of the opposite where. [00:56:50]

Faris: Like a, like a.

Payman Langroudi: Like a bad.

Faris: Yeah. Medal of honour. Like bad. Exactly.

Payman Langroudi: And it’s interesting because [00:56:55] let’s say you go through this process and I don’t know, let’s just imagine in three years time, God [00:57:00] forbid, you fail. Yeah. You the reasons you failed, right? [00:57:05] You definitely won’t do that again. 100%. 100%. Hundred percent. You [00:57:10] know, whatever the reasons were.

Faris: You learn, don’t you? For me, I. This sounds so odd. And probably [00:57:15] it’s really weird. I think of my life when I played a lot of games when I was younger. And you’d have, like, these stats, [00:57:20] like you can have, like, you know, you have 100 points to put into your character. Put 50 into strength, ten [00:57:25] into speed. For me, I think about life that way. I think of, okay, well here are all the traits that are really high value [00:57:30] that are important for people to develop. What am I doing to improve every single one? So what have I done to improve [00:57:35] my marketing and social media skills? What have I done to improve my communication skills? What have I done to improve my entrepreneurship? [00:57:40] How am I actually getting myself out there? If as long as I’m doing something that is putting [00:57:45] a little bit more into that statistic and into that, you know, career development, I’ll keep doing it. And [00:57:50] even, you know, I think of everything in terms of analogies, just like when you go to the gym, if you lift the same [00:57:55] weight every single day for a year, you’re not going to get very far. You have to make it harder and harder. So that’s what I [00:58:00] did. I had this social media platform with YouTube that did well, okay, did my own mini business where I’d help [00:58:05] people getting into dental school. Okay, fantastic. Now it’s doing something a bit harder. Let’s build a company. Let’s really try [00:58:10] and push it out there and raise money and, you know, build something that works. So everything gets progressively [00:58:15] harder as my skills improve.

Payman Langroudi: What’s your favourite dental treatment?

Faris: I [00:58:20] love Onlays at the moment I really enjoy doing Onlays. I think they make sense. You know, as long as you’ve got a good rubber dam [00:58:25] and decent burs and a good lab. What I want to do long term is definitely implants. That [00:58:30] to me is, oh really? Yeah. I love implants. Like that’s obviously blood. Yeah. I don’t mind [00:58:35] blood. I don’t mind some oral surgery. Taking teeth out, putting things in I love it.

Payman Langroudi: You know, [00:58:40] let’s imagine you want to get into implants like that. That’s an all encompassing, difficult thing to get into. [00:58:45]

Faris: It is.

Payman Langroudi: I wish you luck, my buddy. It’s so impressive. Um, let’s [00:58:50] finish it off with the usual questions. Sure. Fantasy dinner party. Oh. [00:58:55] Three guests, dead or alive. Okay. Who do you have? [00:59:00]

Faris: It’s a great question. So this question, I [00:59:05] always say, you know, I’m one of the things I value is my faith. So one would be, you know, [00:59:10] someone from the Islamic religion. So whether it be a prophet or be someone that I’d want to speak to about [00:59:15] their experiences back then. So that would be one. Um, the second would be someone that I look up to in the entrepreneurial [00:59:20] space. So it would be someone like Steven Bartlett, probably. I’d want to chat to him. And the last one [00:59:25] would be someone that has sacrificed a lot and through that has had a massive impact [00:59:30] and legacy in society. So it might be someone like Gandhi. [00:59:35] Gandhi maybe. Or Martin Luther King Junior. I went to Atlanta [00:59:40] recently, so I went to, you know, their their museums out there. So I learned a lot about him. But those are probably my three [00:59:45] favourite guests because they encompass something, three really important things in my life, which is [00:59:50] my faith, my entrepreneurship. And the final thing is leaving a legacy and building something that is going [00:59:55] to outlast me when I when I die.

Payman Langroudi: Well, tell me about your faith. [01:00:00]

Faris: So I’m Muslim, so, uh, I come from a muslim background with, you know, my [01:00:05] parents were all Muslim. We came from Egypt. Something that I’ve been quite [01:00:10] well aligned with because it’s important to have something there that kind of keeps your morality in check [01:00:15] and is a break from everything that you do in the Commonwealth. And [01:00:20] as I get older, I think I become more in line with it. And I understand it more because [01:00:25] at the end of the day, everyone’s allowed to have their own beliefs, their own faith. I don’t really care what everyone else does, but [01:00:30] to me it’s important to if I’m going to commit to a faith that was assigned to me at birth, which [01:00:35] a lot of people kind of say, I need to understand that. I really want to know why exactly I’m following this [01:00:40] religion, what things I enjoy, what things I need to do to become the best version of myself. Um, [01:00:45] so yeah, it’s something that’s at the core of everything I do, I think. Because if you if [01:00:50] you don’t have something to guide you, if you don’t have, you know, you’ve got your worldly goals, but you have to have [01:00:55] other things that are keeping you in check. So one of the big things, for example, in my religion is charity. [01:01:00] So I care which is being able to support those that are needy and need help. And that’s why I’m [01:01:05] from that. I built my own charity as well that helps vulnerable families in London and abroad. So a [01:01:10] lot of this comes from my own faith. And yeah, it’s something that I hold to very high regard. [01:01:15]

Payman Langroudi: Tell me, tell me about the charity.

Faris: So it’s called Reformation Charity essentially. It’s a charity [01:01:20] that was built also at Dental School with a friend of mine. So I did a lot of schools. I had a bit of a [01:01:25] social life, so I was part of the Arab society. And through that we did like a lot of social events, a lot of fun things [01:01:30] just to, you know, like meals, etc.. And we realised, well, we’re raising a lot of, we’re making quite good money [01:01:35] from like memberships etc. but why don’t we use this money for something good? So we got [01:01:40] contacted by a big charity and they wanted to work with us. We did a lot of different challenges and [01:01:45] bringing money in, and through the kind of 2 or 3 years I was at uni, I think we raised about a quarter of £1 [01:01:50] million for charity through different events that we did. And then we realised, oh, wait a minute, why don’t we just do [01:01:55] this ourselves? So we built that charity whilst whilst at dental school and now [01:02:00] I work on that part time with like a with our team of university students to set up events [01:02:05] through throughout the year. But yeah, that’s something that I do as a as I have those four pillars that I [01:02:10] follow, charities that last one that I think is really critical because that will outlast you, [01:02:15] you.

Payman Langroudi: Know, what do you do with the.

Faris: Money? Um, so it gets put into a few main things. So one [01:02:20] is youth. So in London what we do is we do kind of like, um, sporting [01:02:25] events. On top of that, we also do these charity drives. So ours are quite unique from different [01:02:30] charities because all our volunteers are university students. So the concept is while you’re young, [01:02:35] you should get involved in charity, enjoy it and understand where your money’s going. So any money we raise [01:02:40] people, then package the package. The the goods at university, they take it out. And in [01:02:45] London, we giving out to the homeless or to vulnerable families food. In the winter we give out like gloves [01:02:50] and blankets. But it all comes from uni students. And that’s why we have a really unique situation [01:02:55] where a lot of charities struggle to get volunteers. We have too many because they learn about us through university, [01:03:00] they come through, they package, they help deliver, they drive the cars and they get to see first hand. [01:03:05] You know when you see that number on GoFundMe going up with us, they see that money going up and they see exactly what [01:03:10] it’s being invested in and exactly who it’s helping. So that’s part of our mission as well, just to, you know, help young [01:03:15] people get into charity early.

Payman Langroudi: But then, okay, how do you find these families?

Faris: So we work with different [01:03:20] charities as well. So, um, so we’re like the Samaritans or we work with other [01:03:25] vulnerable charities in London. Um, so there’s one called Charity Meets Home I think, which every [01:03:30] Friday they give out free meals to the homeless in Charing Cross. So we work alongside [01:03:35] them to bring volunteers and help them, because, as I said, a lot of these charities really, really struggle to have volunteers [01:03:40] where whereas we’re the opposite, we have like we have so many people that just want to get involved. So they’ll go and they’ll [01:03:45] help out along these different people. And our long term goal is to do our own charity expeditions [01:03:50] abroad. So whether it’s back home in Egypt, where we help people there and whether it’s going into like building [01:03:55] mobile dental clinics, because I know a lot of them are really popping off now, especially in, um, less economically [01:04:00] developed countries where they’re to use that money for, for good.

Payman Langroudi: I like [01:04:05] it, I like it. But do you know about effective altruism? Yeah, I.

Faris: Know about this. Yeah, yeah, yeah. [01:04:10]

Payman Langroudi: Do you know what I mean? But do you know what I’m about to say?

Faris: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m about to say. [01:04:15] Which is what? Just work harder, make more money so that you can use that to essentially invest in improve [01:04:20] infrastructure and things down the line.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. This listen man, don’t [01:04:25] get me wrong. Don’t get me wrong. It’s good for a young person to give. Yeah for sure [01:04:30] 100% whether you’re giving time or whatever. Um, but, but but [01:04:35] the question of the, the charitable thing being more for you than for the, for [01:04:40] the, for the person you’re giving to. Yeah. And then some people say hello. As long as you’re giving. Great. [01:04:45] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Whatever. Whatever you’re getting out of it. Yeah. And I totally [01:04:50] get that too. Yeah. But I just feel like it’s it’s something that needs to be in the head [01:04:55] of anyone who’s doing any charity work. Yeah. Because it’s it’s important to bear [01:05:00] in mind what’s going on here. What’s what is the driver. Yeah. It [01:05:05] is, it’s like, I don’t know I want my kid to go and work in the food [01:05:10] bank. Yeah, he did worked in the food bank for him to see that there’s people less [01:05:15] fortunate than him. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, but but there was almost a selfish [01:05:20] aspect to that of I wanted him to see that. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Whereas if, [01:05:25] if my initial position was I want food to go to as many people as possible as possible, [01:05:30] my son may not have been the right person to go and hand that food out. You? Yeah, and I’m not saying do anything [01:05:35] different. I’m just saying bear it in mind. Yeah.

Faris: No, I agree.

Payman Langroudi: It’s kind of a holistic view [01:05:40] on.

Faris: Yeah. You know, look maybe down the line I’ll go into politics or something and try and create change. But [01:05:45] as I said, it’s it’s all phases of life isn’t it. Of course. And that’s what I love about.

Payman Langroudi: I’m much [01:05:50] happier for you to say you’re doing this than you’re not doing this. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. If you tell me you’re spending your spare time in Ibiza, [01:05:55] instead of here, which.

Faris: Is also fine, but.

Payman Langroudi: It’s also based on that story [01:06:00] of sacrifice. Yeah, yeah. I had a week in a bath just [01:06:05] before we started. Enlighten. Yeah. Just before. Yeah. And thank God I did. Yeah, [01:06:10] because just after, there was no way. Yeah. There was no way, you know, and we were having [01:06:15] these questions about, hey, what was the happiest day of your life? The saddest day of your life and And and [01:06:20] your 20s. Yeah. Are a brilliant time. Yeah. And the [01:06:25] sacrifice is real. The sacrifice is real. It is. You know, and so that drive that [01:06:30] you’ve got. And that’s what I was trying to get down to. Where is it coming from, man? Where’s it coming from? Um, [01:06:35] it’s a beautiful thing. Yeah, but but it comes with sacrifice.

Faris: It does, it does. I also think to add [01:06:40] on to the purpose of driving, I was thinking throughout the podcast, I think it also just comes out of I just set myself [01:06:45] expectations and if I don’t hit them, I’m just disappointed. So to avoid that disappointment, it’s like you just got to keep [01:06:50] working where that came from. I don’t really know. Maybe it’s a like [01:06:55] maybe it’s a toxic way of thinking, but it’s just always happened. Like it’s not because my parents were particularly [01:07:00] like, oh, you’re this or that. It’s more just like, I just, I just have to do something with my life because I [01:07:05] don’t want to. I don’t want to leave this world without having something to leave behind. [01:07:10] And also without saying that I’ve tried my absolute best to be the absolute [01:07:15] best version of myself, because I don’t know, I think that’s the purpose of life, isn’t this? You have [01:07:20] to. You have to make your mark. You have to do something impactful. You have to help others. You have to make [01:07:25] sure that you can finish everything and say, you know what? Yeah, I did live my life to the fullest. I did everything I could to be [01:07:30] the best I can be. And again, not everyone needs to have that vision because, you know, I’ve had conversations with [01:07:35] friends and they’re like, well, maybe I’ll just, like, enjoy your life a bit, like, what are you doing? But to me, that’s that’s my driving [01:07:40] factor. That’s what I enjoy. I also think of it as if I work hard now. I can enjoy the spoils later, you know, [01:07:45] and.

Payman Langroudi: And they said that about entrepreneurial entrepreneurialism. Yeah. Do [01:07:50] you do what no one else will now, so that then you can live like no one else will can later? Yeah, [01:07:55] yeah.

Faris: Yeah, absolutely.

Payman Langroudi: It’s been a massive pleasure, man. Massive pleasure. Thank you. You’re an inspiration. Thanks. Cheers. [01:08:00]

[VOICE]: This is Dental Leaders, [01:08:05] the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. [01:08:10] Your hosts, Payman Langroudi [01:08:15] and Prav Solanki.

Prav Solanki: Thanks for listening, guys. If [01:08:20] you got this far, you must have listened to the whole thing. And just a huge thank you both from me and [01:08:25] pay for actually sticking through and listening to what we had to say and what our guest has had to say, [01:08:30] because I’m assuming you got some value out of it.

Payman Langroudi: If you did get some value out of it, think about [01:08:35] subscribing. And if you would share this with a friend who you think might get some [01:08:40] value out of it too. Thank you so so, so much for listening. Thanks.

Prav Solanki: And don’t forget our six star rating. [01:08:45]

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