At Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO), our vision is to build the world's most influential community of entrepreneurs. One way we encourage young entrepreneurs is through the EO Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA), EO's premier competition for students who own and operate a business while attending college or university. The intense, international competition culminates with the Global Finals, where "studentpreneurs" from 50+ countries compete and make connections with both seasoned entrepreneurs and their fellow competitors. We asked the 2018 EO GSEA third place winner, Max Mohammadi from Sweden, about his entrepreneurial journey. Here's what we learned:
The unexpected loss of a loved one can shake you to your very core. And, the subsequent grief can bring you face to face with harsh realities. However, few people are able to harness that pain and harsh reality into a revolutionary product. Max Mohammadi―co-founder of Hippogriff AB and its signature product, Heartstrings―is one such remarkable person.
A serial entrepreneur who started his first company at age 16 and sold it at 19, Max founded his third company with his brother, Allen, after their grandmother's sudden death from a heart attack at a family party. It was especially shocking because she showed no previous symptoms of heart disease.
As he grieved, Max wondered how her condition had gone undetected and if her life could've been saved by earlier diagnosis. Max set out to answer that question and found nothing on the market that would have alerted his family to her dire condition. So, embracing the entrepreneurial spirit, he decided to develop a product to prevent others from having to endure similar heartache.
Max invented Heartstrings, an accurate, non-invasive and low-cost technology that pairs artificial intelligence (AI) with a wearable device for screening and early diagnosis of coronary heart disease. It has been tested and validated with more than 700 patients through two successful clinical trials and has reached more than 46,000 patients so far.
As a "studentpreneur," Max notes that the rigidity of academia can stifle entrepreneurial instincts. However, he avoided that pitfall by shaping his educational pursuits around the focus of his business. As a result, its growing success is now garnering international recognition.
In the first half of 2018, Max has racked up notable accomplishments: EO Global Student Entrepreneur Award global finalist, Startup Open winner among more than 1,000 startups, and the youngest person ever named "European of the Year."
But he's not in it for the accolades. Max started the company as a social enterprise to improve global health and generate benefit for every person on the planet. The company's mission is to democratize access to high-quality healthcare by taking complex disease diagnosis to a much smarter level. These goals directly align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) No. 3, Good Health; and No. 10, Reduced Inequalities; which contribute to a wider global effort to reduce poverty and improve lives.
Max credits his ingenuity and entrepreneurial drive to his upbringing: "My parents sacrificed to provide their children with the best possible support. However, given our financial situation, I didn't want to put more pressure on my parents," he said. "I developed a proactive mindset that equipped me to find unique, creative ways to become independent and gain the freedom to become a better version of myself. I've always loved to create, build and innovate; I want to leave my mark on the world."
His innate drive to leave a legacy pushed Max to publish his first book at age 14, get his first patent granted at age 15 and start his first company at age 16. By age 19, he managed 30 employees (mostly fellow classmates) and eventually sold the business to focus on his university studies.
The ambition that has fueled his trajectory is propelling him forward rapidly. Named one of Forbes magazine's 2017 30 Under 30, Max's stated goal is to save at least one million lives each year. He is confident that Heartstrings will do so because "Heart disease is a number one killer worldwide, killing more than 17.5 million people each year. However, in many cases, late detection is the cause of death. This necessitates early diagnosis of heart disease, but the current screening tools are not accurate enough, are invasive, expensive and not easily accessible to the general public."
With an approach which is two times more accurate, 10 times faster and 49 times cheaper than current methods, his technology has the capacity to serve millions of people each year. The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business model makes it possible to deliver the platform to both developed and developing countries at an extremely affordable cost.
"The Saas platform will help us easily scale, disrupt the current technology and realize our vision of saving at least one-million lives each year."
His ambition to create a better, healthier world truly pulls at one's heartstrings.