Meet Param Shah, a California-born entrepreneur and the brain behind Badaboom, disrupting the manufacturing and supply chain industry. Badaboom is helping entrepreneurs realize their ideas by transforming the product design and creation process with cutting-edge technology. From building a program to provide medical devices to children in rural India to scaling up a manufacturing execution software company, Shah's journey is a testament to his unwavering passion for innovation and problem-solving.
Shah’s professional journey started in the non-profit sector. He built a program to provide cost-effective medical devices to children with diseases in rural India. Setting aside his dreams of becoming a doctor, he founded and led FactoryFour. This venture-backed startup made manufacturing execution software esteemed across geographies.
“To solve a problem, you must have the grit to just chip away at the problem day after day to achieve something better than the status quo,” says Shah about how he successfully built and scaled companies.
The drive to be disruptive led Shah to Badaboom. With his "human-in-the-loop" approach, Shah and his team at Badaboom are leveraging automation to help brands turn their ideas into reality. Badaboom does all this and makes it look easy, too. And when he's not busy changing the game, he's taking inspiration from companies like Zipline and recommending books like Infinite Vision to keep the creative juices flowing.
Shah opens up in this interview about his background, work, success mantras, and what makes him one of the most exciting people to follow…
Q. Can you tell us about your background and how it led you to where you are today?
I’m a California boy who grew up in the suburbs of Orange County but had the fortune of traveling a lot when I was a kid. My dad is an immigrant and an entrepreneur, having come from India to further his education in structural engineering. He started his firm in Irvine, CA when I was a toddler. He taught me a thing or two about taking chances to advance in life.
Q. Can you share your experience in the nonprofit sector and how it shaped your perspective on innovation and problem-solving?
I got my start in non-profits. I started by building a program to provide cost-effective medical devices to children with diseases such as Cerebral Palsy and Muscular Dystrophy in rural India. We innovated and created ways to manufacture the devices locally in the villages, reducing costs and increasing the speed of delivering devices to the children.
Q. Can you tell us about your time as CEO of FactoryFour and the lessons you learned from scaling up that company?
I went to college with the idea of being a doctor but quickly got pulled into my next idea. This idea went from a college project to becoming FactoryFour. This venture-backed startup made manufacturing execution software for some of the best-known companies. I operated and scaled up that company for six years as CEO before it got sold.
Q. Can you explain your vision for Badaboom and how it's changing the product design and creation process?
Following my last company, I continued to love the manufacturing and supply chain space. To solve a problem in those industries, you must have the grit to chip away at the problem daily to break the status quo.
I’m working on Badaboom, which is building an end-to-end platform to help brands turn their ideas into world-class products. Hundreds of aspiring entrepreneurs and experienced operators come to Badaboom daily to design their next product collection.
We use machine learning to develop thousands of novel product designs. We automatically curate professional collections according to a brand's audience and aesthetic and provide an entire supply chain to execute products on one platform.
Q. Can you share your approach and how it's helped you at Badaboom?
A typical startup founder’s first inclination is that software should automate everything. I challenge that with the notion that automating processes by building software with a human in the loop creates leverage and learning at a much faster pace.
At Badaboom, one of the challenges we faced was how to create thousands of designs in a scalable and cost-effective way. One path was building a rendering engine that could account for every variable of a design. Instead, we took a leaf out of Stitch Fix’s book. For its millions of users, Stitch Fix combines recommendation algorithms and human stylists to personalize clothing items based on size, budget, and style. The software tees up the recommendations, and humans fine-tune it for each customer, getting superior results.
We deployed a similar “human-in-the-loop” tactic, using software to create most of the design. However, we outsourced the finishing touches to illustrators to make each design more realistic.
Q. What is something you’re most proud of in your career?
I’ve assembled amazing groups of people in every venture I’ve worked. I've mentored teams in everything from warehouse logistics and engineering to product design. I’ve put myself in an environment where I can learn something new every day, which I’m very proud of.
Q. Can you share with us a business or company you admire and the qualities that make them stand out to you?
Zipline constantly inspires me. The innovative thinking behind using drones for creating last-mile logistics that serve people equally is admirable. The grit required to do it is next level.
Q. Can you recommend something to our readers and explain why?
Drop the business self-help book you’re reading and read Infinite Vision. It is an incredibly inspiring story about how Dr. Venkataswamy started with one clinic and the desire to treat people with blindness in India. It documents how that single clinic grew into Aravind Eye Care Hospitals, one of the world's largest (and most efficient) eye treatment providers. There is also a Harvard Business School case study about them, an analysis every operator should read.
Q. Where can people find you and your business?
Check out Badaboom at https://badaboom.co/.