We’re seeing a real trend of zero-logistics e-commerce businesses scaling phenomenally well. Read Azim’s experience!
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start with the beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born and raised? What kind of educational path did you follow?
Azim Makanojiya:I am from India. My parents shifted from a village to Mumbai city for better opportunities. That’s where I was born. My father came to the US around 1984. My mom was still back there in India. Within two years, we came to Houston and settled down here. I was about a year old then.
Sramana Mitra: Did you do college in Houston?
Azim Makanojiya: I was accepted to multiple colleges but because of the business that I was running throughout high school, I settled for a local university–University of Houston. I graduated from there with a Computer Engineering degree. I didn’t do anything further beyond that because the business was booming.
Sramana Mitra: I have two questions. One is what were the years when you were in college? What was going on in terms of building businesses while still in high school?
Azim Makanojiya: I was in college from 2006 to 2010. I started my business probably in my junior or senior year in high school. I started off using a third-party platform, somewhat like Uber today. Their platform provides contract work. I found that site online and started my IT company through that. I landed a good number of clients through that platform. TechForce and Bank of New York were among my clients. It started becoming a pretty steady income for me.
Sramana Mitra: What was the service that you were providing?
Azim Makanojiya: For Bank of New York, I was basically providing IT support for their desktops, laptops, and printers. I was contracted to provide any hardware replacement that was required.
Sramana Mitra: How does a project like that go to a high school kid in Houston?
Azim Makanojiya: The platform that I was referring to is On Board. My credentials were pretty high. On Board had launched three years prior to that. I got in early on that. You get rated for the services that you do for all these other companies. The service order comes in and the person that’s providing the service order chooses from the credentials that are out there. The credentials don’t state the age. They only state credentials. I had Microsoft certification at that point. I would say I was top-tier credential-wise at that point.
Sramana Mitra: Was this a local job or was it something that you had to do remotely?
Azim Makanojiya: This is a local job in Houston downtown.
Sramana Mitra: But you actually have to show up there to fix people’s printers, desktops, and other hardware.
Azim Makanojiya: Absolutely. This was not remote work.