From failing his first startup and returning to his job at Siemens, to launching a HoloLens company with a major development team in India and immediately attracting multi-million dollar investments. How did Jon Masters, an entrepreneur from the UK, make it happen?
DON’T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB
Only 2 years ago, Jon was feeling demotivated after the failure of his business that focused on building electronic sensors for Formula One. He had left his job at Siemens to pursue this entrepreneurial dream and was now struggling. Around that time Jon came across Roger Hamilton, a social entrepreneur and futurist, and his EntrepreneurTV, YouTube Channel.
“My business had gone horribly wrong and in the comment section on Youtube, I said ‘hi” to Roger, told him what had happened and that it had all gone a bit pear shaped, and he replied and told me I needed to get a job! I was gutted! Here’s this guy who can help people to realise their goals of being great entrepreneurs, and he thinks I should just get a job!”
Roger had recognised that Jon was struggling to make ends meet, and suggested a path to end the struggle.
“So I went back to Siemens, but told them I would be a freelance contractor rather than an employee, and reserved one day a week for my own thing. It was a path that worked for me!”
SUPPORT THOSE THAT ARE IN FLOW
Having again secured his income stream, Jon continued working on his other endeavour - Visyonr - a tech consultancy company. Looking for inspiration to expand, he came to Roger’s Fast Forward Summit, the world’s largest entrepreneur event. On the first day of the event, Roger talked about one of the future trends being HoloLens and augmented reality. It struck a chord with Jon:
“That night I went home, researched HoloLens, and discovered it hadn’t even been released in the UK. I realised I could be one of the first people to work with it, and I had already worked professionally with the development tools, so I was in a good position to do it. The following day I told Roger that I wanted to do a HoloLens project, but didn’t know exactly what, as I didn’t have a ‘problem to solve’. Then, in the Q&A, someone put their hand up and said they wanted to do a HoloLens project and I thought ‘oh no, that’s what I want to do!’ It turned out it was Anthony Chadwick, and I thought: ‘What?! He’s a vet?!’ ”
But instead of giving up on his idea, Jon approached Anthony and offered to work together on HoloVet - a startup using Microsoft's Hololens to create 3D models that would revolutionise professional vet education.
“I had a chat with him and suggested that I could do the programming and he could cover the comms, to which he agreed. We built the first demonstrator for HoloVet, Sheba the Dog, which I finished in Bali so Anthony could present it at a trade show. Off the back of that, Anthony was able to secure investment for HoloVet.”
The collaboration took Jon’s initial fascination with HoloLens to a whole new level, and he became determined to start a company, focused on using HoloLens in an innovative manner.
TURN YOUR MISSION INTO BUSINESS
Jon followed in the footsteps of Anthony Chadwick and joined Crystal Circle - a high-level mentoring group for entrepreneurs. He also signed up to attend iLab, a business accelerator program in Bali - both founded by Roger. Through these programs, Jon crystallised his ideas:
“In one of the mentoring sessions, I remember telling Roger that I wanted to work on something that brought people together. I wanted to enable people to experience other places more easily, through telepresence. Roger told me: ‘You’ve already got the technology, at the moment it’s expensive, but soon enough it’ll be affordable for everyone. Imagine if someone could sign up online as a local ‘guide’, you could connect to them through a platform, and they could share somewhere new with you.’ ”
With that, YouGoWorld was born.
“It’s a platform where you can sign up and connect with people all over the world, and through VR you’ll be able to experience the world the way they do. See through their eyes, hear with their ears, and explore the world through the comfort of your own living room!”
At the time that Jon did iLab, he didn’t yet have a clear company concept, yet nonetheless he received a lot of interest from both mentors and participants who were willing to invest once he had a clear action plan. One of the mentors, Chandresh Pala, an investor and venture building strategist, came on board as a partner, and once YouGoWorld was born (after a call with Roger) others jumped at the opportunity to invest too.
“We called it a pre-seed, we raised £80,000 through 3 different private investors, one of whom was Roger himself. That valued the business at £800,000 ($1.1 million US), and was another massive eye-opener for me. When Chandresh mentored me on pitch decks, he said: ‘You can create a pitch deck that’s worth 1 million dollars, and that’s all the company is’. Never in my wildest dreams did I think a few months later that that’s what we would have done. We created the pitch deck and the founding team, and created $1 million worth of value. I still have to pinch myself about that! That money enabled us to hire developers in India and provide them with a Hololens and the 3D camera”.
THE POWER OF A PERSONAL BRAND
Through creating a strong personal brand, Jon was able to integrate all the separate elements of what he was doing: a tech consultancy company, a job at Siemens, his collaboration with Anthony, and finally, his own HoloLens company.
“I thought (and many people do) that you have to quit your job to build your business. But that’s not true. It’s fascinating, for example, how Siemens aligned with my brand: on social media, I started talking about AR and HoloLens, and about some of the software I’d built, mainly to grow YouGo.World and Visyonr. Then, people within Siemens started following me, and I ended up building my personal brand within Siemens, and they’ve approached me to work on their HoloLens projects.”
Now, Jon spends 4 days a week on his cash vehicle - Visyonr and 2 days a week on YouGoWorld. Completely in his flow, Jon credits the Wealth Dynamics profiling system and test.
“Roger taught me that success and wealth are choices rather than luck. People look at successful people and think they’re super talented or they inherited it, but that’s not it; it’s a choice. His ideas about the Wealth Lighthouse turned on a massive lightbulb for me.”
Jon is on track to revolutionise the way that we travel and experience reality by taking YouGoWorld through upcoming investment rounds.
How can you integrate your current projects or job into your future dream business? How can you build a powerful personal brand that coherently represents all your endeavours?