Before he launched Probability and Statistics, Don Beavers, a database programmer by trade, spent 20 years rescuing databases around the world. A high profile database would go down and he’d be on a plane. After the tragic events of 9/11, traveling became too cumbersome and Beavers started a business building database-driven apps. His business did well, which gave Beavers the freedom to answer a call to lead a new STEM learning center in Palm Bay, FL.
“I was living in Texas when they called and asked me to come to the Space Coast to lead the new FabLab,” Beavers said. “FabLabs are associated with MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms and basically serve as community education and learning centers. We worked with K-12, college students and seniors looking to get their skills back up to par. Within the FabLab was a business incubator where, in July 2017, I started a part-time database business focused on Blockchain. After experiencing some initial success, we got certified to work with an aerospace company. After that, the business exploded.”
From Startup to Second Stage
By the end of November 2017, Probability and Statistics moved into their own 900 sqft office. By March 2018, they occupied 5,000 sqft and, in June, they added their own data processing center. The initial focus was on aerospace and startups, which gave Probability and Statistics an interesting mix of Fortune 500 and “mom and pop” type clients. Today, nearly 90% of revenue comes from government contracts.
“We have a deep understanding of databases and a deep understanding of securing them and making them more functional for the end user,” Beavers said. “Blockchain technology is un-hackable and the data is immutable. We give our clients a sense of comfort so they don’t have to worry about their credit union, bank or government files getting hacked. As a business owner, that’s the last thing you want to worry about. This technology is truly the next phase of security. For this reason, we’ve received a lot of interest from various intelligence agencies.”
Like most startups, Probability and Statistics has experienced their share of challenges along the way. One such challenge led to an opportunity to expand their services.
“When we first started, we purchased a lot of equipment for processing Blockchain,” Beavers said. “Not long after, there was a massive change in the system that made our equipment obsolete. For a small business, that can be crushing. However, we also do other type of math work such as multi-physics mathematics. We were able to repurpose our computers and found they were good at doing fluid dynamics for things like satellite propulsion systems. That has since turned into a profitable part of our business. It also got us into companies to sell our Blockchain technology.”
To date, every project has been the result of word-of-mouth advertising and referrals. According to Beavers, the company doesn’t employ sales people. They don’t even have a sign on their front door. The demand has been such that traditional forms of advertising and marketing aren’t necessary.
“Every business is or will be affected by Blockchain,” Beavers said. “We can’t do it all ourselves. We have competitors, but we operate in an infinitely expanding marketplace. The biggest thing is that we all need to work together to create a uniform standard of quality. There are some businesses overseas selling low cost services that are also very low in quality. This causes problems for everyone and can give the industry a bad name.”
According to Beavers, the only real barrier that could impede the growth of Probability and Statistics is access to well-trained personnel. Colleges and universities teach coding and engineering, not necessarily Blockchain. To combat this challenge, Beavers hires paid interns – lots of them. He’ll train the right candidates in Blockchain technology and once they’ve fulfilled their internship, they’re often brought on-board. So far this has worked well.
Probability and Statistics consists of 16 full-time employees. This time last year they had approximately six and didn’t go full-time with anyone until November 2018. That speaks to the rapid success the company has experienced over the past two years. They’re also a debt-free company, something Beavers is extremely proud of.
“We grew it all from scratch,” he said. “We did that because it was new technology and we didn’t know if it would take off or not. We didn’t want to borrow a lot of money. Like most businesses, we’re also very happy with the economy but you never know when it’s going to break. If it falters, we’re in a good position.”
The culture of Probability and Statistics can be described as fun. Beavers shared that it’s a workplace where people can’t wait to arrive in the morning to see what’s new. Between working on submarines, space ships and robots, there’s always something exciting going on. Employees are also “loosely disciplined” and given a lot of flexibility with their schedules. They’re judged on the quality of their work and ability to meet deadlines.
Community involvement and philanthropic activities include Blockchain projects for local nonprofits and the development of distributive apps for different organizations.
As Beavers shared, operating in the state of Florida is beneficial for a number of reasons. “Honestly, the benefits are limitless,” he said. “We’re so pleased we chose Florida. The lack of state income tax is ideal for employees. The quality of talent is great. Florida is also a very pro-business state. Also, the support for entrepreneurs is extraordinary. State and local government understand that small businesses create jobs and new technologies. We couldn’t have made a better choice to start this business in Florida.”
What it Means to be a Florida Companies to Watch Honoree
“It’s a real sense of pride,” Beavers said. “We have a successful business, but it’s nice to be tapped on the shoulder and told you’re doing a good thing by someone else. The accolades are important and the sense of accomplishment is special, especially being unsolicited. It helps with recruiting and it brought in a number of new and potential clients. It also gives us credibility with larger clients and helps to validate their choice to use us.”
Beavers continued, “In terms of why we were selected, I think it’s because of our culture and our focus on innovation. We’re operating on the leading edge of technology. We make things better and reduce worry for a lot of people. Ultimately, our success comes down to having the right people in the right seats. After spending countless hours working nights and weekends, everything has aligned.”
Beavers gave special thanks to organizations like GrowFL for the recognition and the Florida Institute of Technology for supplying his organization with great interns. He was also quick to point out that, without his employees, none of this would be possible.
Looking ahead, Beavers is very much focused on future growth. They recently signed their first seven figure Blockchain deal with an intelligence agency and they’re excited for similar future projects. According to Beavers, as more and more people understand the technology, Probability and Statistics is extremely well positioned to capitalize on the growing momentum.
Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
“You only live once,” Beavers said. “When given an opportunity, you have to act and step up and be willing to take risks. One hundred years from now, no one will care that you worked in a cube for a defense contractor. However, 100 years from now, someone will certainly look back on what you did as an entrepreneur and say you might have changed the world. Forget about the fear. In fact, eat the fear and go for it!”