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UB grad named Forbes all-star student entrepreneur

Photo courtesy of UB.

blog by Kathryn Przybyla  • 

While some recent graduates are forced to pick up shifts waiting tables at their part-time jobs, Ansar Khan is developing a whole new way to do business.

The 23-year old Williamsville native graduated from the University at Buffalo with a bachelor of science in biological sciences in May of 2011 and has been busy since. Khan, alongside fellow UB classmate James O’Leary founded Refulgent Software, Buffalo Niagara tech firm that has created Ambur—a restaurant point-of-sales software for an iPod Touch- and iPad-based system.

According to Forbes,

While scribbling orders at his family’s restaurant, Kabab & Curry, in the Buffalo, N.Y. suburb of Williamsville, Ansar Khan and his friend and fellow waiter James O’Leary started fantasizing about an easier way to process orders. There were computerized systems on the market, but they were very expensive, so Khan and O’Leary had a “There’s an app for that!” moment and decided to write restaurant point-of-sales software for an iPod Touch- and iPad-based system.

Using $32,000 borrowed from Khan’s parents, the partners worked on the app in O’Leary’s mother’s basement. It helped that O’Leary was a computer science major, but it still took ten months to write the code, which they named Ambur (Urdu for sky), and then six more months to properly test it. More than once the system crashed and they lost the orders for 50 customers.

In April 2011 they launched Ambur on the Apple store at a price of $999. Their first customer came six weeks later: a Greek diner in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Ambur is now installed in 265 restaurants in 14 countries, and Khan expects 2012 revenues of $850,000, some of which comes from selling hardware add-ons like receipt printers and credit card readers.

In an interview with UB News, O’Leary is excited about growing their client list and expanding Ambur’s features—all from their home base in Western New York. “We have a lot of ties to this area,” O’Leary said. “Our families are here, and UB has been a great pipeline for us, in terms of providing employees. We’re helping to keep the best talent in the area, and we’re really proud of that.”

Here is a video tutorial on how Ambur works and runs for a restaurant:

Photo courtesy of UB.

TAGGED: ansar khan, entrepreneurs, forbes, james o'leary, refulgent software, university at buffalo, williamsville

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