Steve Lazaridis

Tampa, Florida

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Learn about Florida Entrepreneur Steve Lazaridis:

Steve Lazaridis, co-founder of Phonism, grew up immersed in entrepreneurism at the family dinner table. Now in 2017, his startup has completed a successful investment round of seed funding and is poised for growth.

"I'm a Greek-American son of Greek immigrants who operated restaurants," he said. "Business discussions were common at our dinner table while I was growing up. We talked about how to optimize revenue at the restaurant and how to reduce food costs. I grew up in that entrepreneurial environment with my family and aunts and uncles."

Those discussions are part of the foundation on which Lazaridis built Phonism, a company that provides a cloud solution to VOIP service providers for managing VoIP phones before, during and after deployment.

"Our differentiator is that our product is system agnostic so you can use it with any phone on any phone system," Lazaridis explained. "The phone management piece has not been anyone's core focus so the current solutions in the market are usually lacking features, highly technical and hard to use. We made it our core focus and do it better than anyone in the market, reducing deployment times from hours to minutes."

Lazaridis's advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is two words. "Patience and persistence," he said. "And more importantly persistence. Building our company on nights and weekends for four and a half years was a touch and go process with gaps of two months here and three weeks there without progress. Being persistent and staying on target was hard but we did it and shipped. You can lose hope, but as long as you find some way to get it back, you come out into the light."
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