Manu Goswami is a 19 year old sophomore studying at the University of Toronto. He is an award winning serial tech entrepreneur and innovator, UN Youth Ambassador, early stage tech investor, LinkedIn campus editor, social media personality and TEDx speaker. Swish, as they know him, is one of the world’s youngest venture capitalist as a Business Development Associate at JB Fitzgerald Venture Capital. In his role, he has consulted with Fortune 500 companies on promoting investments in the digital media space. Swish has “already made a dent on the global entrepreneurial landscape” and has been notably featured on The Huffington Post, Canadian Student Business Review, and Influencive along with notably winning Startup Canada’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, Strategy Magazine’s Social Innovator of the Year, the United Nation’s Outstanding Youth Leadership Award, and Plan Canada’s Top 20 under 20 award. In 2016, Swish was recognized as the “Face and Future of Canadian Entrepreneurship” by UPS Canada.
Hey Manu, great having you here today. You have done quite a lot for your age, what are you currently focusing your efforts on?
I am currently focusing my energy on writing a book on personal branding for people who are in a job or college, as well as continuing to build my businesses. My main focus has been on Technotronics, a wearable tech startup I formed last November that is now partnered with NBA teams like the Brooklyn Nets and Utah Jazz. Our Chief Advisor Trevor Booker, Power Forward for the Brooklyn Nets has been instrumental in helping us research more about the needs of the market we are targeting. We are building a technology called AXIS that will truly revolutionize sports like basketball by bringing data-driven high high tech wearables to the court. Stay tuned.
What got you into Technotronics?
I’ve always been into sports whether as a player or fan. It was crushing to realize when I was younger (i.e. last year) that I would not have a career in the NBA (hahaha). That being said, I’ve always envisioned myself working in the space and helping athletes in a variety of ways whether it be through branding or technology. This project was not my idea but rather the idea of my co-founder Arjun Nair, a junior at the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton School of Business). Arjun is a genius and has developed various patented solutions in the biomedical space. When he came with an idea of building a wearable technology that could better track muscle movements, I immediately thought of various ways I could put my connections and operational skills to use. As my former debate partner, Arjun is used to working with me, and it’s been great fun building this company with him so far.
What is your value proposition?
Without giving too much away, our product will be able to track player muscle movements in game situations by deploying retrofitted trackers on various vital points (knee, ankle, elbow). Moreover, our technology will also combine predicative analysis with current metrics that show the likelihood for injury so that coaches and trainers can gauge if a player is more susceptible to injury. Lastly, our technology will serve as a self-learning system and will allow players to use the technology themselves to track their progress (i.e. how fast their jab step is).
Who are your clients? How do you plan to expand?
Our primary customers are professional sports teams in the NHL, NBA, and NFL. We are starting off with these sports because there tends to be similar injuries and performance needs between them. Moreover, we want to slowly move to amateur leagues (D-League, NFL and NBA Draft Combine, NCAA) once we know that our product is reliable and can be used at the highest level. The goal is that within 4-6 years we’ll have a product that can replace the FitBit and be used by the average consumer who wants to track their workout progress better.
What would you tell to other young entrepreneurs?
Start somewhere. Too many people care so much about how they are going to start their business that they never get started in the first place. If you’re scared of starting because of the potential for failure, note that failure is inevitable in any business regardless of who starts it. The people who succeed are not the people that do not face failure, but rather the people who respond to it the best.
How do you keep connected?
I use Slack for anything related to my businesses and day-day communication. To reach out to people, I use Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Twitter. These platforms, especially LinkedIn, have helped me grow a great community of entrepreneurs, artists, and athletes. Lastly, I still use Notes (on my iPhone) to keep track of tasks and things to do. Perhaps someone can build an app that can perfect the to-do list – food for thought!
Why do you love LinkedIn?
If I was a person who wanted to build a personal brand, I would definitely not underestimate the power of LinkedIn. I’ve been upping my game on the platform because the reach you’re able to get on the platform is staggering if you consistently put out good content that is targeted to a specific community. People tend to think of LinkedIn as a platform that can act as a substitute for a resume or as a platform that is only good when you’re looking for a job. It’s a social networking platform and many people don’t realize that if they want to build a personal brand that revolves around a professional field, the best way to connect with people interested in that profession is LinkedIn.
Has there been someone that has influenced you the most?
My family has been the biggest influence into shaping my entrepreneurial career. As a business executive, my father taught me about the importance of staying hungry and continuously asking what’s next. He was the person who initiated my first experience building and selling something, and has served as my first co-founder. As a teacher, my mother has taught me about empathy and the importance of looking past myself and caring about others and what they need. My mother teaches English to refugees and immigrants that come into Canada, and she does it because her passion goes beyond personal achievement.
Lastly, my brother is a person who embodies passion. He is passionate about everything he does whether it be studying the law or playing cricket. He has taught me to engage my mind only on things that I care deeply about and for learning to celebrate small successes.
Beyond my family, my biggest influences are my current mentors: Gary Vaynerchuk and Michael Hyatt. Despite not being in the same city or having the luxury of talking daily, Gary has taught me a simple lesson of playing to my strengths and not always caring about fixing my weaknesses. Gary’s narrative on self-awareness forced me to think more about who I was, what I want to do, and why I want to do it. Michael in the same way made me question who I am. His idea that people should be realists rather than optimists because realists can overcome struggles by recognizing they’re going through bad times, has had a profound impact on my mentality when going through times that were tough.
How do you see yourself in a few years?
I see myself doing what I am doing now at a higher level.
In other words, I’ll continue building businesses, and along with that, building out my personal brand in the form of writing, investing, speaking, coaching and providing content of value on social media.
In regards to AXIS, in a few years we hope it will replace the FitBit and be accessible to the general public. I am also hoping that AXIS can become the first of many products we develop at Technotronics to enhance a player’s performance and experience regardless of the sport they are in.
What do you plan to achieve with your startup?
I hope to continue to learn more the wearable tech industry in the process of building Technotronics. This is an industry that is waiting to explode, and the more people recognize that, the more likely this industry will be able to reward us all with products that can enhance the human experience in various ways.