Independent Software’s Entrepreneur Profiles celebrate people out there changing the world every day through their ventures. We ask each entrepreneur a few questions to give us a little insight into their vision of the future and their take on building a company. This month we feature Ankesh Arora. He is the Co- Founder of Mobile Universal, a startup that provides iPhone, Android and HTML5 apps for businesses such as restaurants, boutiques, schools, hospitals, etc. In addition to providing mobile presence to businesses, Mobile Universal allows anyone to start their own mobile app company. A lot of people have great ideas but lack the technical know-how to implement their vision. That is where we come into play. Mobile Universal provides a platform where anyone can start their own mobile app business with no technical or software skills required. This is a dramatic shift for an industry where businesses used to spend thousands of dollars and hire developers to build an app. Now, here we are, putting that power in the hands of the common man.
Mobile Universal is currently hiring interns for a marketing internship in New York, Pennsylvania and California. Apart from internship programs, Mobile Universal is providing a platform for anyone looking to start their own mobile app business. Interested web designing and social media companies are welcome to join the Mobile Universal reseller program.
Point of Contact: Support-at-MobileUniversal-dot-com
You can follow Ankesh on Twitter at @iAnkeshArora . Stay tuned here for updates about Ankesh and his work when they become available.
Questions for Ankesh:
A: Mobile Universal was started a couple of years ago when I was in college. At that time, mobile landscape was changing dramatically and it became apparent that mobile applications would play a crucial role in business marketing and consumer engagement. Very few businesses had apps at that point. Moreover, those apps were very rudimentary in nature, carried emotionless design and had minimal functionality. So, Mobile Universal was started to design the next generation of apps that would be elegant in design and offer a lot of features that would actually be beneficial for businesses to market themselves on mobile. More importantly, mobile apps are great carriers of information. Information is power. Being able to provide that information to masses in a way that arrives directly to their fingertips puts you in a very unique and exciting position.
Q: What are Your Funding Sources?
A: Fortunately, we broke even very early in the process. As such, Mobile Universal did not require funding to begin with. There was no need for self funding or seeking venture capital as company was profitable and had significant growth within few months.
Q: What Have the Top 3 Challenges Been in Your Startup Process?
A: One really important challenge I came across early in life, even before Mobile Universal, was to realize when to persevere and when to pivot. Every entrepreneur loves his or her startup idea way too much. So, it is extremely difficult for them to digest the fact that their idea sucks or they just don’t have the skills to execute it. That is why most entrepreneurs tend to persevere hoping they would soon hit the tipping point. That point never comes. It is important to give yourself a reality-check and pivot your startup if that is what the situation demands. What makes this problem really challenging is the fact that many startup ideas look really bad on first glance and for the first few years, before they turn into successful companies. Hence, entrepreneurs need to realize the difference between “bad” ideas and “good-but-perceived-bad” ideas which is a daunting task.
Another important challenge is that of growth. You know, most startups would love to grow rapidly. I was fortunate to see good growth very early compared to the norm for startups. However, I think every startup needs an initial period of slow or no growth just to figure out what it is exactly doing. When you skip that phase, you could still be profitable but you might not have strategized your startup to handle or take advantage of that growth.
Finally, one personal challenge, but something that is faced by other entrepreneurs as well, is that of “letting things go”. Some entrepreneurs tend to have a controlling nature and are involved in each and every aspect of startup operations. But once you hit a critical mass, it becomes extremely difficult to have such control over everything. So, it goes in direct conflict with your natural inclination and drive. The lesson here is that in order to create true leverage and have a great organizational structure, you need to delegate work and evolve yourself into a managerial role.
Q: Define Entrepreneur.
A: Ah, that’s a tough one. Everybody’s got their own take on it. Some call it a business term, some call it science. Personally, I tend to think of an entrepreneur as a creative force who sees an opportunity, pursues it relentlessly and creates value out of nothing. Someone who takes risks and just dashes into the future hoping it is going to be better. I believe entrepreneurship has a lot to do with your personality than anything else. It’s who you are that defines what you do.
Q: Read any Good Books Lately?
A: Ok, this is going to be embarrassing. During the past few years, I started reading a lot of books but never really finished any of those. The only book I ever finished reading is “Innovation and Entrepreneurship” by Peter Drucker. I’m glad I finished it. It’s a really good one.
Q: What is Your Advice for an Entrepreneur Starting Out?
A: I would say start out early. Don’t wait. You know why? When you are in your 20′s, you’re ignorant and ambitious. Ignorance works in your favor as you are totally clueless and have no idea how hard it is to start your own company. Plus, you have nothing to lose. But once you hit middle ages, you will have a family, a well established job, and would have gained significant experience. You would then be more logical and wouldn’t dare to risk everything. So, l think lack of experience works in your favor when you start out early.
Q: What is Your Favorite Entrepreneurship Quote?
A: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” – G.B. Shaw