Maulik Sailor, an MBA graduate from 2011, is the CEO and Founder of Innovify, a company that helps entrepreneurs, businesses and startups to create innovative products and services in the digital sector. He started working with fellow alumnus Jeffrey Sinick in 2014 after he invited Jeffery to write a business plan for Innovify as part of his final MBA project. They spoke to us about their journey from students to startup supporters.
Maulik, how did Innovify come about?
My main aim for doing the MBA at Imperial was to
create my own startup. However, during the year I learned a lot about the venture creation process and used this knowledge, together with some newly found connections to find a niche in the market. I’m also passionate about helping others achieve their business dreams, so the idea of creating an incubator business that nurtures businesses and startups was the ideal career move.
How did your collaboration with Jeffrey first come about?
Maulik: I first took Jeffrey on to do a specific piece of work which would form part of his MBA consulting project. We structured this project in a way that it could be practically applied to Innovify. After he finished his MBA, he continued to work on this project and he now plays a leading role within the business and really makes his mark with executive decision making.
Jeffrey: Maulik needed someone to write a business plan for the incubation side of Innovify. He gave me the opportunity to do this for my final MBA project. I never expected to be offered an actual job, so I was delighted when he offered me a permanent position as a product partner after I graduated. Maulik is very ambitious and has great ideas which makes Innovify such a dynamic place to work. Our shared experience of doing the Imperial MBA has strengthened our relationship and impacts on the way we conduct business.
Describe your experience of studying at Imperial.
Jeffrey: Imperial has a thriving entrepreneurship community across the College which gave me lots of inspiration and opportunities to gain practical experience through the various student projects taking place on campus. These projects included a competition for forming an accelerator with the Create Lab, run by the Faculty of Engineering. The MBA programme also provided great opportunities for networking with outside speakers and forging connections with like-minded people. I also loved being in a class full of people from all over the world and from different industries. The experience, insights and friendships were the best part of my experience.
Maulik: I was the President of the Entrepreneurs’ Interactive Society, through which I networked a lot to identify new contacts. The MBA gave me the confidence and knowledge to found Innovify. Since starting the business, I’ve found that the degree makes a difference in enabling potential clients to place faith in me and my team to deliver results.
What advice would you give to other students looking to set up their own business?
Jeffrey: I’d advise students to proactively seize the unique opportunities offered at Imperial, including external talks at the Business School, Tech City and entrepreneurship events taking place on campus. You won’t get these opportunities anywhere else!
Maulik: Focus on developing a small but carefully selected founding team of people who can help you develop your unique selling point. Believe in yourself no matter what people say. There are a lot of unknowns on your journey and the best way to overcome those is by ‘Failing fast and learning quickly’. Being an entrepreneur can be difficult and lonely so you need to have a strong support network of people who will stay with you if you don’t succeed.