Philip Butler: Entrepreneur and Business Leader

Philip Butler is an inventive business executive and technology entrepreneur based in Boston, Massachusetts. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from MIT, and a MD from Yale University School of Medicine.

As the Chief Executive Officer and originator of Veya, a data-driven technology company, Butler has contributed to the development of a groundbreaking algorithmic process to assist individuals in discovering the products they need from around the world, in a quicker and more economical manner than ever before.

Veya is leading the way in algorithmic strategies for ascertaining consumer demand on retail platforms such as Amazon, and for optimizing product availability. Over the course of eight years, Veya has extended its technology and operations team to encompass over 250 individuals globally and, in collaboration with an accomplished management team, Butler has assisted the company in achieving an annual revenue of 60 million dollars.

While seeking a hard to find textbook during medical school, Philip was inspired to explore consumer-focused solutions through the utilization of technology. Before establishing Veya, he accumulated substantial experience as a Postbaccalaureate Fellow at the National Institutes of Health – Child Psychiatry Branch.

Philip served as an intern at the Yale-New Haven Hospital, St. Raphael’s Campus, where he worked in the surgical, internal medicine, and pediatric departments. Additionally, he gained experience in the diagnostic and interventional radiology departments at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, one of the leading medical centers in Boston, Massachusetts.

Philip Butler has acquired extensive experience and cultivated unique skills in various demanding academic and professional environments.  He has pursued a diverse array of influential personal and professional experiences that have helped foster a spirit of collaboration, commitment, and principled leadership.

Philip Butler currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts with his wife and two children and anticipates the next successful phase of his professional journey.

We had the opportunity to conduct an exclusive interview with Philip to gain insight into his professional journey.  An excerpt from this interview can be found below.

How did you get started?

As a medical school student, when I couldn’t find a textbook at the local medical bookstore, I contacted the author directly, and placed an order using a fax machine (when it was still common) and mailed a check for two books (one for me and one for my wife).

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Since my wife did not want the textbook we received, I decided to sell it on Amazon, where I discovered it was available from an overseas seller at almost three times the price I had paid.

After selling it and ordering more copies from the author, he informed me that as a bookstore, I could get a 55% discount. I then set up a small website specifically for selling his books and maintained that online business for a while.

Having some spare time before starting my residency, I began to think that if I stumbled upon this book accidentally, there must be more books with poor availability online. I hired individuals in the Philippines to compile spreadsheets based on search terms, employed someone part-time to reach out to publishers, and established a small online bookstore specializing in ‘difficult to find’ books.

I automated this during my residency and in about two years, we expanded to thousands of books, generating over $5 million in revenue with strong profit margins.  Recognizing this as an exceptionally good opportunity and a unique chance to establish a large, enduring company, I made the decision to leave my residency spot, despite strong opposition from almost everyone I knew.  We adopted a scalable, data-driven approach from the outset.  We onboarded a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and concentrated on characterizing as much information as possible about online retail transactions.  This prompted a rapid expansion into non-book items and international markets.

Our objective has always been the same: to utilize data to identify where customers were unable to access desired products at a reasonable price, and then employ tightly operationalized procedures to deliver those products to those customers.

Today, Veya is a data-driven tech company that identifies supply gaps for consumer products online and endeavors to provide global accessibility to the products consumers desire and require.  We have a global presence, employ hundreds of individuals, and generate over $60M in annual revenue.

How did you acquire your first client/customer?

We primarily sell on Amazon, where we derive the majority of our clients.

What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?

We acquire most of our customers from existing e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and eBay.  Amazon is a valuable collaborator for our business, guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking.  We strive to abide by these principles as we expand and scale our business at Veya.

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