Founders: Dan Novaes, Kiran Panesar
Company Description: Creating easy-to-use tools and applications to help others grow their mobile presence
Company Site: http://mobilexlabs.com/; Twitter; Facebook
Date of Interview: January 2015
Dan Novaes is the CEO and Co-founder of MobileX Labs. He loves to create businesses – and is one of the few people in their 20s who can say he’s been creating businesses and generating profits for over 10 years. He loves to travel – and gives a special shout out to Brazil and Thailand. He loves vegetables – and credits that good habit to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and his mom.
On growing into who he is today:
When Dan was 15, he started and still has a company that is now Elekteks, a wholesale distributor of worldwide electronics. He confesses that as a teenager his success and money went to his head. “When you’re younger, you can’t always comprehend certain things very well. I was making more money than my own father and my teachers – and that went to my head.”
A few years into his business, his best friend had an intervention with him and he had an epiphany about changes he should make in his life, and the type of person he was being. He began to “open his mind” to life, and to others. “I give a lot more than I used to. I feel good when I can help other people.”
With experience and attitude adjustments under his belt, he talks about how his goals and aspirations changed from being focused on money, to being focused on making an impact.
“People kid themselves and they think that money is what’s going to make them happy. They get there and then they realize it’s just temporary happiness. No material can give you something everlasting. Don’t get me wrong, I like nice things. But it’s not who I am”
During college he actually tried out 2 corporate internships, but by his senior year he knew that it was back to a life and mission of entrepreneurship for him.
“I just like creating. I like building businesses. I’m lucky because the stupid short-sighted things that people do – I already got to do as a teenager. ”
On failing to in order to succeed:
In a contributing Forbes article, Dan writes about forgetting fear and embracing the failures. He says that he “fails everyday” and often people get caught up in minor failures and beat themselves up over it.
“That’s not really you. That’s more your ego needing something to latch onto. Your ego is your biggest enemy. In the present you might not know why it’s happening to you, but those experiences lead you somewhere.”
He shares an extremely difficult period after college when he was “forcing” himself to churn out a business he didn’t fully believe in. At the same time, he experienced what felt like a storm of professional and personal bad luck and setbacks. As a result, he wasn’t taking great care of himself and it all culminated in serious health failure that required him to step back and re-evaluate.
“I realized all that material stuff just doesn’t matter. If that hadn’t happened to me I probably wouldn’t think the way I think today. Sometimes I forget, because you get so caught up in the day to day. It’s important to take some time every day to think about these things. If I hadn’t continued to see where the path took me, I wouldn’t think the way I think today. I wouldn’t have this amazing relationship with my co-founder, one of my best friends. We just wouldn’t be where we are today.”
On creative funding:
For the first time in his entrepreneurial career, Dan has investors for his company and believes it is the right time with the right investors for MobileX Labs. You can read about everything MobileX Labs accomplished as a bootstrapped company from Tech Cocktail.
He cautions founders that looking for and landing funding is extremely time consuming and can take a really long time, especially outside of Silicon Valley. “It takes time that you, the founder, has to spend.” Where possible, he encourages companies to think of creative ways to generate revenue that leverage their core framework. For MobileX Labs, they made a few apps for some celebrities to help get their name out. Their core business product is not actually making celebrity apps, but it helped them get the money they needed to grow their core products.
On long-term opportunities and vision:
“I think we’re living in a really interesting time. Imagine what’s going to happen in the next 30 or 40 years! As a creator, I can be a part of that. I can do something that people couldn’t even imagine 20 years ago. What gets me excited is that I can get to a certain point where I have increased my network with the leaders of the world and society, and can create something much larger. I just want to challenge the norm of what people do. I want to create a new way of investing in people – especially those who don’t have the opportunity that I had. If I wanted to extend the average life expectancy, I think it’s possible. If I want to have a trillion dollar impact in the world, I think it’s possible.
“My goal is to affect as many people as I can in my lifetime in a positive manner and do the things I need now to have those types of impacts in the future.”
Dan already has years of successes, failures and experience under his belt – and it only fuels the same optimism that he had as a teenager with his first business. “There are endless opportunities. The world is only as big as you make it.” You can learn more about MobileX Labs, and read more of Dan’s thoughts and articles on his personal website.