Thinking of starting your own business? Then take inspiration from Our Own English High School- Fujairah alumnus Zaid Rahman. His story is hugely inspiring and should be celebrated by all would-be entrepreneurs.
Zaid has been fascinated with how things work for as long as he can remember. However, the 2007 launch of the iPhone took this fascination to an entirely new level, encouraging him, at the tender age of just 12, to fully embrace the world of technology. He first launched an online publication in which he predicted Apple’s recent move into online payments, before going on to create his own digital agency, whimzig.al, with a friend.
As Zaid matured, he began to regularly tour the Middle East and beyond with the school debate team. Although a highly successful and enjoyable experience, he did struggle with class attendance and the knowledge gaps that resulted from this. Rather than complaining though, Zaid created a solution to his problem by co-founding Pilot Labs, an interactive digital learning platform designed to give deeper insights to teachers on how individual students are learning in real time. It achieves this by analysing the answers to certain questions, allowing teachers to recognise if a student is lacking understanding in a certain subject.
Today, at the still young age of 22, Zaid lives in Silicon Valley in California where he is the co-founder and CEO of Volley.com, an artificial intelligence company that helps anyone learn anything. Founded in 2015, Volley had some pretty impressive seed investors too, including Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder of Facebook, and GEMS Education! So it’s no surprise that Volley has become so successful, putting knowledge within reach of everyone whilst improving learning engagement, driving growth, and slashing costs for clients.
As if all this were not enough, Zaid is also the first person from the U.A.E. to be awarded the prestigious Thiel Fellowship, presented by entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel, the founder of PayPal.
Building a start-up is hard, because as a founder you don’t just have one job; you’re leader, recruiter, product developer, salesperson – the list goes on. So you need to be flexible, a quick learner, and be able to put into practice sound business processes. And this underlines the lesson that all budding entrepreneurs need to take on-board: great ideas don’t just knock at your door; you have to pursue them. Zaid has done just that.