Born during a civil war in Nepal, Sambhab Thapaliya has overcome what life has thrown at him, and done so with a smile. As a young boy, much like all of us, he would think of ways to impress friends, edging out school crush-contenders in the process. He figured, what better way to stand out than Development? At just the age of 13, Sam taught himself programming, starting with creating ERP Software systems for local businesses who gave an ambitious kid some time to chat. 

Most of us are familiar with discord, a messaging platform for gamers and internet people. The entrepreneur’s dilemma came abundantly aware to Sam during his second product creation. Sam had nearly the same idea before discord’s rise to stardom, but it was simply developed at the wrong time, in the wrong place. The importance of developing a product, or service, at the right time, in the right place, is essential, and Sam realized that the best way to make his dreams come true was to move to Northern California. 

Menlo College & ASMI

Sam made his way to Atherton, CA; the heart of Silicon Valley, attending Menlo College starting in the fall of 2017. The motivation to cross the pond had been brewing for quite some time. When an Earthquake hit Nepal during the time Sam was thinking about college was what ultimately became the deciding factor. Amongst school, meeting new people, and getting acclimated to his surroundings, Sam’s new venture was beginning to take shape.

In 2017, Tik Tok was on the verge of becoming the social media powerhouse we know of today. Where Vine fell short in monetizing videos, Tik Tok did not, supporting content creators and relishing in the success. With the model of anywhere between a 10-60 second video, Sam believed that the next big breakthrough in advertising could be uncovered. The idea: embed ads into videos themselves, not taking breaks from the rhythmic scrolling, and allowing content and promotion to be synonymous. ASMI was thus formed. By applying user cookies already in place to ensure accurate, intriguing advertisements based upon each individual's interests, ASMI creates an entirely new way of consuming ad content. It’s less intrusive, more accurately targeted, and has never been done before.

Waiting For the Moment

For a while, the question of who their customers were was a hurdle. Video Publishers? Advertising Companies? Furthermore, building a new product requires new architecture. One team gets assigned to architecture, another is assembling video archives for data points, one is handling financing, and the list goes on. Working in tandem with a California-based team and one out of Nepal, their work pushed forward.

Sam and his team stayed in, as he called it, “stealth mode” until they believed a truly useful MVP was ready to be showcased. After 2 years of countless hours training their model, optimizing the AI and leveraging a $50K investment to last them the whole way through, the small team as of today: has created 2 pilot agreements, 1 commercial agreement, with 1 other contract already ending in a few months. 

ASMI, in the Future

As for Sam and his team, the next step is to determine the growth aspects of the company. They’ve already learned that sales cycles tend to be much longer than anticipated, and that 0.10 cent ad revenue per video is turning into a fairly reasonable monetary price. Live streaming platforms such as Twitch might also be a tangible market — Sam believes that countries like India and China, where video game streaming popularity is gaining particular traction, could also be spaces/markets where AMSI can become a big player. The team’s goal is simple: 10-15 companies under their belts within the next 6-8 months. While partnering with smaller companies will create consistency, the long term pursuits are big name players (Twitch, YouTube, etc.). Expanding their team is another step in the process, with a new role opened up in their Gaming department! 

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Guest(s) Featured in this Episode
  • Sambhab Thapaliya, CEO, Serial Entrepreneur

Episode Resources