Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

Knoxville Business News Tennessee Mountain Scenery Background
June 17, 2024 | Katelyn Keenehan

Data Panda launches with niche customer base, supporting store owners

Data Panda attaches to the ERP systems to track, extract, and generate data-driven reports that are easy to understand for convenience store owners.

Reid Evans has been a software developer since 2002. He went to college for music composition due to his interest in classical guitar. However, he dropped out to pursue his real passion: writing code.

“I started falling in love with development and kept wondering why I was going to school for something I wasn’t going to pursue as a career long-term,” he said.

Reid Evans
Reid Evans

At the time, his dad (who is also an entrepreneur) had a software development company of his own. Evans was hired to take calls from customers. Before long, he moved into more responsibility-heavy positions, and eventually even worked his way up to a vice president role.

“I loved working for my dad. But, at the time, I wanted to make it on my own,” he said. “I wanted to prove to myself that I could do something based on pure skill – and not because I have a family connection.”

That dream came true – several years later, Evans now works as an independent consultant and a software developer of a start-up he calls Data Panda.

“Through my work as a consultant, I have been around many convenience stores and store owners. I became a specialized expert in that space. Many of them trusted me with their biggest struggles and realized that I could create a solution for them,” he said.

Most convenience stores use similar enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to track and collect data. But that data is relatively costly, and complicated to extract into impactful reports. It takes one, or several people to consistently track the machines that are collecting the data… and then manually extract it… and then generate manual reports.

Evans thought to himself, there’s got to be an easier way to access information and help business owners make more well-informed decisions about their products, inventory, audits, and payroll.

That’s how Data Panda was thought up! Evan’s software attaches to the ERP systems to track, extract, and generate data-driven reports that are easy to understand, and exportable to Excel.

“Every company I was visiting had this same problem. So, the input system I created allows them to search directly for the data they need and even recommends suggested explorations for critical data they should be looking at,” he said.

This could apply to any item that is flying off the store shelves at various locations, items that are hardly ever being purchased, or if anything gets stolen.

He first started building the software in January. By June he had three companies install the software for testing. Those three installations combine more than 2,000 convenience stores across the U.S.

Now, Evans is focused on building even more awareness around the product.

“A lot of this industry is driven by word-of-mouth, so I just need a few companies to recognize the impact,” Evans said. “Right now, people don’t even know a solution like this exists.”

We asked Evans about his pithy answer for why his software and start-up are impactful.

“It does not matter how fast you build the wrong thing,” he said. “You could be the busiest person in the world, and yet still not generate any tangible solutions. In which case, what are you busy with?”

Evans said for this reason, he is careful about creating the optimal, user-friendly product for convenience store chains.

“I hope it allows humans to be curious about their data,” he said.

Connect with Reid Evans to learn more about the Data Panda software and start-up.


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