In Good Company
Alex Moazed ’10 has some words of wisdom for aspiring entrepreneurs: “You cannot be successful without surrounding yourself with the right people.”
As the founder and CEO of Applico, a platform innovation and a mobile application design and development firm, Moazed knows firsthand the value of that advice. As Applico has grown from an idea hatched during his junior year to an award-winning company, he has continually surrounded himself with people who understood his vision and helped make it a reality. Many of those people came from Babson.
“Classes were great, but the free time—hanging out, talking about the businesses you’re starting—that was special,” says Moazed. “It’s something you only get at Babson.”
In 2009, he saw the rising popularity of mobile applications—Apple’s app store launched the previous year—as his opportunity. “I believed apps were going to be the next big thing, and people would need help building them. I wanted to get into that business.”
The first step in making his vision a reality: deciding to do it. “It’s having the confidence to say ‘I can do this,’” he says. “Then jumping in head first.”
Moazed credits watching his Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity brothers and friends—including Jeff Avallon ’06, co-founder of IdeaPaint—succeed with their own ventures with giving him the push he needed. “They helped demystify the aura of being an entrepreneur. They made it more achievable.”
Now, seven years later, Applico has offices in New York, Boston, and Los Angeles. The company has developed mobile apps for clients including Google and Disney, among others, and has consistently been ranked as a top mobile app design and development company.
While Applico started out making apps, the company has added another focus to its mission: platform innovation. Platforms are business models where a third party produces value (think: Uber, AirBnB). Rather than making things, these platforms connect people. Moazed’s new book, Modern Monopolies, details these platforms as the dominant force in our 21st century economy. While Applico’s work in platform innovation has already begun—their client list includes DirectTV and NASDAQ—in the future, when people think of platforms, he wants them to think Applico.
In recognition of this growing list of accomplishments, Moazed was honored as one of Babson’s 2016 Rising Stars. As the company continues to grow, he still surrounds himself with a team that pushes Applico forward.
“When you’re trying to build something difficult, it takes a fantastic team to accomplish it and achieve your goals.” For Applico, team members past and present have come from Moazed’s personal network, from boarding school to Babson.
“We want to hire entrepreneurs,” he says. For him, it’s a success if an employee spends a few years at Applico, develops a deep understanding of platform business models, then leaves to launch a platform startup. Many Babson alumni have done just this.
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At the end of the day, for Moazed, success does come from the people you surround yourself with. But, that lesson comes with a caveat: Surrounding yourself with the right people means nothing if they don’t believe in your vision. “At the end of the day it’s your vision.
“No one is going to see the opportunity you see,” he advises. “You need to convince people that the vision can be a reality. It’s hard to do, but it’s great to do it. And, Babson is the perfect place to try it out.”