Once homeless, now SUDU Founder and CEO Amari Ruff have come a long way. In his teenage years, he struggled to move between homeless shelters while managing his studies and part-time work to support his mother financially.
Now, SUDU, a trucking business, is a multimillion-dollar company that connects small businesses with larger companies like Walmart and UPS. At 16, his military father left his mother and his siblings, so he started working to support his mother while studying and practicing football. They stayed in shelters for the homeless, and Amari had to travel more than four hours to manage his work and study.
Later, he got a job where his responsibility was to negotiate major enterprise contracts. While working, he helped the company grow to annual revenue of $4.5 million. However, he didn’t get the higher post that was promised to him in the first place. Amari shared that he didn’t anticipate it to happen, which was quite an upsetting moment in his life. However, he took it as an inspiration and became a successful entrepreneur. In 2010, Amari decided to begin a telecommunications company with only $300 and a 1990 Ford Ranger. And soon, he successfully expanded to 200 trucks and 5 U.S. locations.
Meanwhile, he also got inspired to create a tech company that can connect underserved entrepreneurs like women, veterans, and minorities with bigger companies. And that’s when he built his own business with this goal. In 2015, he launched SUDU, an online marketplace that pulls technology to connect small trucking companies to big companies that ship goods. The reason behind the name SUDU is that it’s a Chinese word meaning speed and tempo. Amari shared that he believes that it presents the speed and efficiency they provide to the industry through their technology which is also considered as the “Uber” but for truckers.
Since the idea was unique, his business gained popularity at international technology and entrepreneurial conferences, and he was often invited to speak. Amari was invited to the Nelson Mandela Fellows Panel and the Build Your Own Brand conference and retreat. Moreover, his achievements include the 2016 NMTA Minority Business of the Year, the 2017 Georgia Trend Magazine Trendsetter, and the 2018 Atlanta Business Chronicle InnoVenture Award.
Amari Ruff was also featured in the Venture Atlanta Top 10 Startups to Watch list. It took only three years for him to expand his SUDU to include more than 300,000 trucking companies in its cell, focusing on small, female, and veteran-owned companies. In addition, he also has successfully made strong agreements with reputed companies like Walmart, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, UPS, and P&G.