Wed, 28 January 2015
Overview: Hasan shares with us the struggles of immigrating from Iraq to America and the ups and downs of doing what you love. He had to be very patient along the way until he could create the company he was so passionate about. We learn all about SphereSpace and their sister companies, and how a co-working space can help any entrepreneur.
Background: Hasan’s story goes back 25 years or so. He comes from a family of entrepreneurs. The first business that he started was a chicken farm located in Iraq. The chicken business didn’t do so well, so he opened up a stationary store, but due to circumstances in the country, it ended. When he came to America, he worked for a company in the tech industry, but wanted to start something of his own. Once he got residency in the country- he quit his day-to-day job to finally start his own company. The company was called capture.com that was related to artists and photographers. However the company soon failed. So, in 2010 Hasan launched SpherePad despite negative criticisms about the company being successful.
Struggles: Throughout the 9 years of working at his tech job in the US, he wanted to leave and start his own company but he couldn’t quit do so because he didn’t have residency. Hasan shares how he had to be completely patient until he could start the company of his dreams. Despite his anxiousness, Hasan shares that his experience at his 9-5 job taught him about corporations, human management, and finances.
What is SpherePad: A co-working space that provides startups with the type of connections and community that a new company needs. Hasan has met many different types of people through SpherePad that has provided him and others with assets at their disposal. It’s not about high revenue for SpherePad, it’s meant to be more like a compliment to a secondary company. Currently there are co-working spaces in the US, the UK, France, and Australia.
Importance of Being Involved in a Co-working Space: You know a lot about the people around you and your community. When you see a company come to your space and become very successful, it’s good to know that they started in your co-working space. You maintain strong connections with many people all across the board.
What is SphereMail: The space at SpherePad was being used, and people using the space wanted an email that they could use while there. It’s a white label application, that SpherePad gives a link to those using the co-space. SphereMail is not a flat monthly fee, it’s all free. They only take 10% of whatever the revenue is for that user in the co-working space. It has been up and running for 2 1/2 years now. It was completely bootstrapped by Hasan himself.
Why is it All Worth It: Hassan shares that he loves building things and being responsible for something great. His passions have allowed him to push through the struggles.
What’s Next: SphereTrack is a mail tracking application and expense reporting for companies.
The Advantage of Being in San Francisco: It's all about having access to startups and funding. If you want to go fast, and be around the right kind of people, this is the place to be. There’s always room for more startups here. Based on his experience of opening their co-working space, they filled up fast.
Advice for Entrepreneurs Immigrating to the US: Stick with it. Even though it is gut wrenching and can throw you for a loop, just stick with it. Don’t take negotiations personally. It’s important for you to understand the US system and how it works. Strive to learn the language, especially if you want to start a large-scale business.
Take Away: Although being an entrepreneur can be a long road, it's worth the wait. Even if you have companies that fail, you are never a failure by continuing to pursue your dream.
Connect With Hasan:
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