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A Dream and Tons of Determination

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By Manu Shah

HOUSTON: In 2003, IACCGH member Khalid (Ken) Parekh waded into the tech world with $100, a dream and tons of determination. That determination won him the Houston Business Journal’s 40 under 40 Award not once but twice – a rare honor.

Khalid’s success story as an immigrant is inspiring. At 18, he completed a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer degree from NIIT Mumbai, India, borrowed money for a one way ticket to Houston and landed a job on the third day of his arrival in an engineering company. He worked at gas stations and cleaned restrooms on weekends to make ends meet while evenings were spent cramming for his Associate’s Degree in Economics and Entrepreneurship.

At 23, Khalid decided to follow his entrepreneurial instincts and branch out on his own. In 2003, he started his company AMSYS Innovative Solutions, converted his bedroom into an office, worked 14 hour days and within a year hired his first employee and moved into his own office space. His first employee is still with him, revenues are now close to $10 million and his present office at 18,000 sq. feet is a far cry from his first digs.

AMSYS quickly picked up steam and showed great revenues until the 2008 recession. The ensuing years proved to be “one of the toughest periods” of his life but Khalid learnt an important lesson. Instead of leaning on one big client like he was, the company now went after different streams of businesses as well as expanded their array of IT services. Today AMSYS has 60 employees and 1000 engineers nationally on a contractual basis and is one of the top three IT outsourcing companies in Houston. The Company racked up 7 awards this year alone. According to IACCGH Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia, Khalid deserves the HBJ 40 under 40 and other awards for “not only proving to be a successful entrepreneur but for opening doors for other startups and boosting entrepreneurship in Houston.”

With hacking episodes regularly making headlines, Khalid explains that 6 out of 10 businesses get hacked. Companies, he emphasizes, must spend 15-20% of their IT spending on cybersecurity, which is one of the services AMSYS offers. Client satisfaction is a top priority and the company displayed this in full measure during Hurricane Ike. With the office premises completely damaged, Khalid did the next best thing. He moved lock, stock and barrel to his house where he and his employees worked 24/7 helping their customers access their data from the AMSYS private cloud and resume business. He believes the company “emerged stronger and better” for it.

In 2014, Khalid started Amsys Ventures, a $5 million VC fund which serves as an incubator for startups. Amsys Ventures has invested in two companies to date – AM Label.net and Software App. Khalid enjoys the role of being “a big brother” to these startups pointing out that if he had access to this kind of backing, business wisdom and capital, his company would have grown faster.

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