He took his company public for $1b

Kenny Hawk

In Episode #323 Nathan interviews Kenny Hawk, the CEO of Mojio. Kenny made millions from iGo, a company he started in his dorm room in the 1990s. He’s now turning his expertise in wireless technology to good use at Mojio – a company backed by Amazon and Deutsche Telecom that uses cloud-based tech to link your car to the internet. Listen in to hear lessons from the dotcom boom, how Mojio can slash your garage fees, and why Kenny’s expecting to sell almost 2 million units in the next 2 years.



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Famous 5:

  • Favorite Book? – Built to Last
  • What CEO do you follow? — Larry Ellison
  • Favourite online tool? — Evernote
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— No
  • If you could let your 20 year old self know one thing, what would it be? — The most important choice in life is the people you choose to be around you

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:09 – Nathan’s introduction
  • 01:37 – Welcoming Kenny to the show
  • 01:45 – iGo was Kenny’s first CEO gig – he started the business in his dorm room before graduation
  • 02:30 – iGo created universal charging adaptors for mobile devices
  • 02:50 – Started in 1993 and bootstrapped, followed by angel investment and VC rounds
  • 03:30 – Raised $10 million and went public in 1999
  • 03:50 – Acquired 3 companies and were then acquired themselves
  • 04:40 – Moved from Silicon Valley to northern Nevada
  • 05:20 – Top market cap was almost $1 billion
  • 05:40 – Market cap was below $100 million – but they came out on the right side of the bubble
  • 06:25 – Revenue was around $80 million when they sold
  • 07:15 – Gross margin was around 30-40%
  • 07:20 – iGo was profitable when it started, but VC investors were focused on growth rather than profit
  • 08:30 – People who came in late in the dotcom boom tended to suffer
  • 09:30 – Kenny did well out of his company sale
  • 10:00 – People went bankrupt by paying tax on optioned gain – then losing everything
  • 11:00 – The people who lost the most were the public market
  • 11:26 – Mojio was launched in 2012 in Vancouver, backed by Amazon and Deutsche Telecom
  • 11:50 – Kenny started in late 2015
  • 12:05 – Mojio provides a cloud service to connect cars to the internet – track drivers and know where a shared car is at any time
  • 12:53 – “When you’re not in your car, your cellphone’s not in your car”
  • 13:23 – The device connects through the onboard diagnostic port – meaning that you know exactly what’s gone wrong
  • 14:10 – Work on a revenue-share basis. Sell units and store data.
  • 15:08 – Hoping to join the autonomous car ecosystem once it takes off
  • 15:30 – Under 30 full-time employees
  • 16:10 – Sales will be within the millions of units in the next 2-3 years
  • 16:35 – Why did Kenny come on board instead of starting a new business?
  • 17:12 – Kenny grew up in Detroit and loves cars – he also knew and respected the VC investors
  • 17:55 – Deutsche Telecom has been a fantastic strategic partner
  • 11:13 – Connect with Kenny through the Mojio website
  • 20:22 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. Surround yourself with the right people. The most important choice in building a successful life and business is who you join forces with.
  2. Find a strategic investor who brings more than just money to your business.
  3. Growth is not everything. The dotcom boom happened when growth outstripped profit – it’s important to know that your business can work.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for cheapest price possible.
  • Freshbooks – The site Nathan uses to manage his invoices and accounts.
  • Leadpages  – The drag and drop tool Nathan uses to quickly create his webinar landing pages which convert at 35%+
  • Audible – Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5 hour drive) to listen to audio books.