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Jahangir Mohammed

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Growing up in Ammapattinam, India, Jasper founder Jahangir Mohammed knew he wanted to own his business, just like his grocer father. The first person in his 10,000-person fishing village to graduate from college, and the first in his family to graduate high school, Mohammed stayed with relatives to continue his education after completing the village’s 6th-grade level school. After high school, he continued his education at Coimbatore Institute of Technology. In 1991, after graduating with a degree in engineering, Mohammed immigrated to Montreal to begin graduate work at Concordia University.

Master’s degree freshly completed, Mohammed stayed in Montreal for a few years, working at Nortel Networks on developing “the first digital cellular systems.” Later, he took a position at Bell Labs, followed by a stint as a systems engineer at Philips. While he was developing into a cellular telephony expert, however, Mohammed never forgot his entrepreneurial dreams. In 2001, he founded Kineto, one of the first companies to enable transfers between cellular and Wi-Fi systems. Fueled by $3.5 million in funding from Sutter Hill Ventures and Venrock, Kineto created innovative Generic Access Network solutions. While successful, the company would not be Mohammed’s final chapter. He would eventually be pushed out by the board in favor of a more experienced CEO, leaving him searching for the next opportunity.

That opportunity would arise from a literal light bulb moment. When the check engine light came on in Mohammed’s car on a return trip from Tahoe, he called the company for more information, only to be told the light could indicate a wide range of issues. Sent by the company to Reno for service, Mohammed found himself frustrated with how quickly the diagnostic process transpired compared to how inconvenient it was to procure. Why, he wondered, wasn’t the car connected, allowing someone to diagnose it automatically?

The answer to that question was Jasper. Already in the business of connecting people, Mohammed now turned his attention to connecting things. His team developed a SIM card technology that allows companies to secure a signal from almost anywhere, using whichever carrier was most convenient and affordable at a particular moment and place. Viewing the Internet of Things sphere more from a service than product standpoint, Jasper supports companies as they launch, manage, and monetize IoT service businesses. Since signing their first client, Telogis, in 2005, Jasper has helped more than 1,600 businesses in over 20 industries enter the IoT space. Mohammed continues to serve as CEO, heading an organization of over 400 employees. He lives in the San Francisco Bay area with his wife and two daughters.

Companies and Investments

Jasper (Founder, CEO), Kineto (Founder, former CEO), Philips (Systems Engineer), Bell Labs, Nortel Networks

Lessons Learned

There is no point obsessing early on about what is going to generate revenue or what is going to be profitable. Ninety percent of all of that will be grossly wrong. You still need to do it, but the real purpose is to iterate and get better. (Jahangir Mohammed on prioritizing product development over early revenue generation, in Inc.)

You go talk to them, and they have so much empathy for this entrepreneur who has left his job and is busting his tail to make something work--they tell you what you want to hear instead of what you need to know. It's just not helpful at all. (Jahangir Mohammed on the danger of nice customers and the importance of criticism, in Inc.)

This whole bloody thing of building a company is nothing but a whole sequence of chicken-and-egg problems. That's all it is. My greatest advice for entrepreneurs is, 'Your success simply relies on your tenacity--and your resolve to break that egg and get the first chicken out.' (Jahangir Mohammed on solving the chicken-and-egg conundrums of entrepreneurship, in Inc.)

Inspiring Quotes

Jahangir Mohammed's Quotes

One of the things Im really blessed with is, Ive seen such a spectrum. Now, when I come across somebody thats born really rich, I go, Its not a fortunate thing, because you miss out on lifes spectrum. You want to see the colors. You want to see the variety. You want to see the extremes.

Jahangir Mohammed

I loved the independence. So I said, Geez, I really dont want to work for anybody. I want to be my own company.

Jahangir Mohammed

Influential Books