Tuesday 1ON1: Rehmetullah turns ‘Why leave Stax?’ into ‘Got snacks?’

Perhaps it’s a bit harsh to call Sal Rehmetulah’s nieces “critics.”

But they asked the question many had on their mind when the Stax cofounder transitioned out of the company after helping build it to unicorn status alongside his sister Suneera Madhani.

“They were like, ‘Why would you ever do that?’” Rehmetullah recalled. “Stax was part of our DNA and identity. Now they are super excited about Worth.”

Worth AI, that is.

The new company uses artificial intelligence to produce more accurate risk assessments, quicker decisions and more standardized business credit scores by assessing underwriting and risk management.

Now, the critical questions from the nieces come in different forms.

“They’re asking, ‘Where’s the office? Will it have snacks? Why isn’t it there already and big?’” he says, with a laugh.

If the track record is anything to go off of, they won’t have to wait long.

In the second part of Orlando Tech News’ chat with Sal, we dive deeper into Worth and building a business with a sibling.


Did you ever manage to reflect and appreciate what you and Suneera did with Stax?

When you first go through it, you actually don’t know, right? We had to have a moment of pause to be able to reflect on this last time around, like, “We had a good run.” When it really started to kick in was when other people acknowledged it more than anything. When someone’s like, “Oh, man, I can’t believe you did X, Y, Z.” When we get invited to speak on this stage or that stage, we’re like, “Oh, this is real.” It’s still humbling. At the end of the day, we are still the same people at heart.

How does Worth AI benefit from that experience?

We have difficult conversations quicker than we historically have. We know what to avoid, too. We know the things that work, what to focus on and what not to focus on.

Where did the drive to tackle big problems come from?

We have always dreamed big. It’s in our DNA. We want to push, drive and be the best versions of ourselves we can be. Those things make up our character. There isn’t a day that goes by that we want to pinch ourselves and say, “Man, life’s really good.” But we are also the hardest workers you’ll meet. Whether it’s an investor, a past employee, current employee or a vendor partner, they will tell you that.

What about that aspirational personality?

Everyone in today’s day and age want to aspire to be something. I think back in the day, if I introduced myself as a 10-year-old, I’d tell you I wanted to be the starting point guard for the Dallas Mavericks. We all aspire for something but what’s really cool is we are starting to inspire a new generation to be entrepreneurs so that they can build businesses, make an impact on communities and leave something good behind.

What is your role in representation and entrepreneurship?

You don’t see a lot of people like us, you know? You don’t see, frankly, a woman as CEO like at Stax. You don’t see two Pakistani kids, Muslim-Americans doing this. You don’t see a brother-sister duo. That stuff really does inspire and push us. We are thrilled to be able to do that.

How much of that is also being an example to your nieces and nephews?

For my nieces and nephews and for all, all the kids and children out there, it’s just fun. Be able to have people know that they can do something different and build and leave an impact you know, that maybe they didn’t think that they could do based on general conformity as a society.

How, exactly, does Worth AI work?

Worth is available for enterprise customers. We bring in more than 1,100 data points in less than two minutes to be able to actually underwrite a full customer through generative AI. The digitization that happened in the small and medium business world combined largely with models and AI is what really makes this possible.

It’s an intersection of tech and a market.

A lot of people ask this question of like, “Well, why business credit scoring? Why has it never been done?” It’s hard and being able to do it all together in the speed that we’ve been able to do, and then we have our Worth score coming. So we want to empower all the small, medium sized businesses.  We’re excited for the Worth score to be live toward the end of Q2.

Did Stax ever consider leaving Orlando?

There were plenty of times that we thought about it. At the end of the day, somebody has to pioneer (a new tech scene here). But we also want the community to champion and support us. We have to support our own here. We want every person here to be a large customer, not just for banks and credit unions. Anybody that owns credit risk. So, anybody that has trade financing, supplier financing, we have a lot of large companies here.