Green.org believes that ambitious entrepreneurs are the future of the planet. By building a business that employs the smartest people, while simultaneously providing products and services that help the planet, sustainable entrepreneurs are paving the way for the future. We had the chance to sit down with Jamil Shinawi, founder of Ahoy, to learn about his passion for being an entrepreneur and how he has built and sold nine companies.
Tell us a little bit about you and your background:
I am a serial entrepreneur, polymath, engineer, avid innovator, change maker and rebel. I had my first exit at 16 years old, and have had 9+ exits since. I have invested in many startups during my college career, and I had an opportunity to explore a new space in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Technologies which I mastered during my educational program coupled with my previous knowledge in coding, where I quickly realized the gap in the technology offering that led to the creation of my latest startup “AHOY” , a new-age technology giant that competes with Google map & Esri’s ten years later.
Driven by my personal interest, I have considered knowledge as the most important resource for achieving a competitive advantage amongst others, for that reason I started a number of ventures all commercializing novel technologies as startups and got funding from private and institutional investors globally and even more notably from Aramco in my previous startup “Volucon” that helped in building the iconic “Master System East/West Gas Pipeline” that connects the east and the west of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to pump natural gas to Yanbu from the Eastern production hub; and more recently post my exit, the company have been supporting in the building site of NEOM with it’s A.I. driven remote and green concrete mixing technology. Volucon was started at 2013 prior to the startup and entrepreneurship boom in Saudi Arabia and the region and is still ongoing after I exited my majority stake in the company.
On the personal development level, I have always opted-to invest my savings and exists from all my previous business ventures and startups in more than 70 innovative companies around the world and have learned a lot about M&A, Investment, Finance, Securities, Funding, Legal Frameworks, Tax, IP/Patent laws and much more and in multiple geographies including North America, Africa, UK, various GCC countries and the EU. I have had 9 notable exists with a record of $400M as my highest single exist transaction so far, I then started consulting in and working with global companies that uses the infrastructure of GIS as a service to understand their business model and create a test technology that can be used globally.
In the year 2018, I invested all my life savings along with 2 of my acquaintances to start a new venture, that was inspired by the gap I realized back in 2008, they name it AHOY, an English old call sign that was the old “hello” in the language and the first thing Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, ever uttered on the first phone call that happened. AHOY aims to have a similar impact to the world, to that the telephone have done to the world.
What is a fun fact about you?
I love the show Rick and Morty.
Why do you think climate change and sustainability is such an important topic today?
On an essential level as humans we are more conscious about humanity and it’s impact on our surroundings more than ever. And as such we are more and more responsible and accountable on a global level to the betterment of humanity.
What do you envision your industry looking like 10 years from now?
Industry goes into convergence and specialization cycles as technology does. I believe we are in an era of convergence that will yield a short slow down and by 10 years we will see a very rapidly accelerating pace towards new leaps of innovation and technological advancement beyond todays standards. I believe that we will move, communicate, learn and experience the world very differently. The concept of labor, money and society isn’t stay the same and my industry will be in the heart of it.
What can the average person do to make a difference?
Different people can contribute differently, I believe everyone could embrace responsible practices and tolerance. We all need to embrace change and treat our surroundings and environment with care. We also could keep an open mind to changes and new regulations and ways of life.