The Jasper Wireless StoryGaurav Garg | July 27, 2014
Jasper is a SaaS company that enables enterprises to turn their Internet of Things (IoT) products into successful connected services businesses. More than 1500 global enterprises in 22 industry verticals rely on Jasper to power and scale their connected device businesses, including GE Jet Industrial EnginesMachines, GM and Telsa cars, Coca Cola vending machines, Sony PSP Vita, and Amazon Kindle.
The Jasper Control Center Platform is used to launch, manage and monetize IoT businesses with Service IT functionality and is deeply integrated into over 20 large Mobile Network Operator groups including AT&T, NTT DoCoMo, America Moviles, Singtel, and Telefonica as the Enterprise IoT Service platform with deployment in over 120 operating mobile networks located in more than 100 countries.
Investing in a Big Idea
I first met Jahangir Mohammed, founder and CEO of Jasper in 2002 when he was the CEO of Kineto Wireless. I was struck by his clarity and audacity. We did not invest in Kineto, but I was fortunate to have built a relationship with Jahangir that would lead to him calling me a couple of years later to discuss his early Connected Things concepts.
We met on June 6, 2004 to discuss his idea and spent the following eight months developing it, recruiting the initial team, visiting potential customers, and developing the business plan and investment presentation. I then took Jahangir in to see my partners at Sequoia and made an introduction to Benchmark Capital, where Bruce Dunlevie took to the company, and co-invested with us at Sequoia in the company’s first financing – Series A.
The Ups and Downs (with Lots of Downs) of the Early Days
In the early days, our world was quite foggy and undeveloped. There were no catchy phrases like IoT and applications were limited to critical (expensive), relatively low volume assets such as tractors and commercial elevators, with only hints of what was to come with just a few credit card readers and home security systems connected over the mobile network. Consumer devices such as the Kindle did not exist. Development of a software platform that could serve the extraordinarily diverse requirements of applications from dog collars to jet engines was a challenging task that took many years.
At the time, the only business model available to us was to be a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) – where we leased network capacity from the operator and delivered our service using this capacity. It’s not an economically viable model as demonstrated by many high profile failures including ESPN and Disney. By the time we got to 2008-2009 as the world started to fall apart around us, things were looking grim.
Making a Big Bet and Transforming the Business
In 2009, Jahangir decided to transform our business approach, and indeed the approach for the cellular IoT industry. He went to the mobile operators with a technology and business model that no one had ever considered before for connectivity service – SaaS - and convinced them that this was was the best way for them to build out their IoT businesses.
It’s taken five years to get to where we are today. By all measures, Jasper is hugely successful. Our 1500 customers across six continents is testament to Jahangir’s vision and his ability to execute.
Working with a World-class Leader
As an entrepreneur, Jahangir is one of the best. He can distill complexity and identify first order issues. He presents to the board with utter clarity and does not feel compelled to hold forth with a monologue. He listens carefully and then makes his own decisions after careful consideration. He also has the uncanny ability to understand his audience and talk to them at a level and about issues that they care about.
Jasper has become the de-facto product to manage the IoT, with an annual available market across many billions of Connected Things in the tens of billions of dollars. For me personally, it’s been utterly gratifying and rewarding to have worked with Jahangir for over 10 years from conception of the idea to where we are today: poised to become an independent enduring consequential public company, driven by his audacity, tenacity, and long-term vision.
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