Amari Ruff was 16 when his dad left, meaning his mom was left to raise three kids. That also meant Amari had to step up and help his mom pay the bills, while trying to finish his studies. Amari’s family bounced around, living with relatives and at times, staying at homeless shelters. Amari’s life today is quite different — he is the Founder of SUDU, a tech company that functions something like Uber, for truckers. SUDU is a multi-million dollar company that is connecting minority and women-owned businesses with large corporations.
The overwhelming majority of trucking companies are small to medium sized. Those companies generally have a difficult time getting opportunities to ship goods from large corporations because of their size and limited capital. Many of these companies happen to be disproportionately owned by minorities. SUDU developed a platform which allows all those smaller companies to do businesses with the larger corporations, translating to serious opportunities for them. SUDU clearly is on to something — in just three years after the company launched, SUDU managed to raise over $3 million in venture capital.
Amari didn’t necessarily know that he’d be a tech Founder. He was accepted into college but found himself unable to cover the costs. He needed cash so he accepted a job as a cable company technician. Ruff, however, showed a lot of promise and began to quickly climb the ladder. Soon he found himself negotiating major contracts for the company. Amari knew that his potential was greater than working for someone else so in 2010 he bet on himself –he launched a telecommunications company with just $300 and a 1990 Ford Ranger. Amari grew that business close to 200 trucks but he quickly saw a larger problem to tackle. There were so many minority, veteran and women-owned businesses that weren’t getting a shot and with technology, he could bridge that gap.
SUDU’s first big client was actually Wal-Mart. Deals with UPS, P&G, Delta Airlines and Georgia Pacific would follow. Amari is a great example of how technology, when merged with purpose, can create opportunities even for a startup company. SUDU is generating revenue by helping other smaller, minority owned companies generate revenue and that is a win for everybody.