In recent years, entrepreneurship has become an increasingly popular choice for people all over the world as they seek to attain financial freedom and achieve a lifestyle more fitting with their dreams. While anyone can start their own business, it takes special people to get it off the ground.
When it comes to succeeding in the adventure that is entrepreneurship, assets like passion and determination are essential but so are networking and mentoring. Unfortunately, this is one of the areas in which most aspiring entrepreneurs tend to fail as they focus on more comfortable areas of their business. Many investors and entrepreneurs have made it their mission to help beginners during the early stages of entrepreneurship. Ahmed Reza is one of them.
If you are an entrepreneur thinking about launching or investing in a startup on Florida’s Space Coast, Ahmed Reza is a name that you probably have heard before. A self-described AI geek and a successful serial entrepreneur, Ahmed is the man behind one of Florida’s biggest entrepreneurial communities on the east coast: TrepHub.
Founded in 2012 by Ahmed and Brandon Schmitt, TrepHub is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building entrepreneurial communities all over the world. The organization offers services like co-working space, a community event space, and connections to technology, venture, and mentor capital. So far, it has helped over 21 startups launch with an 80% success rate while building a community of over 1,000 members and hosting more than 300 events.
TrepHub was the result of Ahmed’s own experience with entrepreneurship, as he himself had to deal with the lack of support networks and opportunities that plagued the entrepreneurial landscape years ago. Today, TrepHub has made a significant impact on the local entrepreneurial space and is widely considered by locals as one of the most important hubs of the tech entrepreneurial community on the Space Coast.
“The success of TrepHub is a testament to the power of community and the importance of supporting each other in our entrepreneurial journeys. We founded TrepHub with the goal of providing the resources and support that we ourselves lacked as entrepreneurs, and I’m incredibly proud of the impact it has had on the local ecosystem.”
“Through TrepHub, we’ve helped countless entrepreneurs turn their ideas into successful businesses, and we’ve helped create a culture of innovation and collaboration that has brought together some of the brightest minds in the Space Coast tech community,” says Ahmed.
Ahmed’s journey as an entrepreneur began out of necessity. While completing his Bachelor of Science at Cornell back in the early 2000s, he found the money he could make from student jobs was not enough for him to fulfill his projects. Not being one to stand around, he decided to risk it all by investing his savings and profits from selling his car into opening his own store at Cayuga Mall in Ithaca.
Ahmed’s bet eventually paid off. Having already had some entrepreneurial experience from his time selling incense and oils in high school, he did the same at a kiosk. He was quickly able to hire employees to man the booth which he had been operating after classes. This in turn, would allow him to take business classes to learn the skills he would need to make his business grow even further.
What started as a means to earn money while in college, eventually became his passion. After working for NASA and several successful software startups, Ahmed was bitten by the startup bug. He eventually would participate in Startup Weekend and organized a local chapter, all while also founding his first startup in 2012. Today, in addition to his work at TrepHub, he also runs his latest entrepreneurial venture: Yobi.
Yobi, the company, was founded in 2019 and recently closed a successful seed funding round which raised $2.37 million. The Yobi product uses AI and computer vision to make customer service more accessible and efficient. It is designed to help small- and medium-sized businesses manage their customer service by centralizing all their interactions. This provides powerful and actionable analytics, translates messages, and evaluates customer and employee sentiment while giving the owner or manager of the business instant oversight of everything pertaining to customer interaction.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of my friends, colleagues, and community. They believed in me and my vision, and their encouragement and guidance were instrumental in helping me succeed. That’s why I’m committed to giving back and helping others achieve their entrepreneurial dreams. Building a strong ecosystem of support is critical for any founder or startup to succeed, and I want to do my part,” said Ahmed of his journey.
Ahmed’s journey as an entrepreneur is a testament to the power of community building and the importance of giving back. He has now helped countless entrepreneurs launch their startups and achieve success.
Those who have met Ahmed are well aware of his infectious energy and drive, as well as his unique ability to inspire and light other people’s entrepreneurial spirit.
“Ahmed’s unique ability to inspire and light other people’s entrepreneurial spirit is truly remarkable. Not only is he a successful entrepreneur himself but also an incredible mentor and leader, the perfect blend to have a significant impact on the local community,” says serial entrepreneur and award-winning journalist, Jordan French.
“With TrepHub’s success and Ahmed’s leadership, the future of the entrepreneurial community in Florida’s Space Coast looks bright and promising.”