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- Leaving Apple for a Bigger Purpose
Leaving Apple for a Bigger Purpose
Dhaval Patel's Story + Invest in Lotus
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Watch Dhaval’s pitch on YouTube or listen to the full episode #117 Lotus: Hardware Hail Mary.
Imposter syndrome is real.
When I asked Dhaval to tell me the moment he knew he was an entrepreneur, he hesitated. “I don’t feel I’ve earned that title yet.”
It takes some brute force, but finally, Dhaval pushes down the imposter syndrome and says, “My strength may just be that I love learning.”
That love of learning has influenced many decisions in Dhaval’s life. Time after time he’s chosen the path that involves learning… and, now, he’s an entrepreneur because of it.
Dhaval Patel at The Pitch Recording Event
As a young boy, Dhaval took apart toy cars (and anything else he could find), and spent much of his time reading books. His parents actually worried he wouldn’t be able to interact with other humans (spoiler: he can).
While in college at Georgia Tech Dhaval interned at Apple, then got a job offer. But he almost turned it down for a job in Austin, Texas! Dhaval eventually accepted the role at Apple, specifically, because he knew they would teach him how to “do things right.”
After 8 years at at the tech giant, Dhaval considered leaving the company everyone else wanted to join. A conversation with his manager about a possible director position had him asking, “What is the purpose of my life?”
Dhaval found his answer in a question.
A line from the musical Hamilton set him on a path away from Apple and toward his life purpose.
“What is legacy? It's planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.”
Dhaval was proud of the work he did at Apple. But he wanted his legacy to be more than adding the eighth camera to the iPhone.
Dhaval wanted to build products that could make a massive difference in someone’s life.
Then one night Dhaval went to sleep with the lights on - too tired to get up and hobble on crutches to turn them off. That was the impetus behind Lotus and the mission to build technology that anyone can use by optimizing for disability first.
Building Begins with Learning
The unfortunate reality is that most startups fail. So Dhaval approached the challenge with a learning-first approach: research startups by joining one to ensure his company would have the best chance of survival.
Dhaval spoke with all the founders he could find in Silicon Valley (so, basically everyone) to learn as much as possible and avoid common pitfalls.
Then, he did his research for Lotus, conducting 9 hour interviews divided across 3 days to discover the biggest problems people with disabilities encounter.
Finally, Lotus was born. A hardware company that makes rings to control light switches using infrared technology.
When we invited Dhaval on the show, Josh told him, “Hardware companies rarely get funding on The Pitch.” That didn’t matter to Dhaval. He knew it would be a learning experience.
In fact, Dhaval was so eager to learn on The Pitch that he turned down an invitation to pitch the MIT Angels in Washington, D.C… despite knowing he had a slim chance of getting investment.
Dhaval’s desire to learn continues to serve him well as he perfects the Lotus ring. For one of his pilots he will live full-time at a retirement home to better understand his product and customer.
This entrepreneur’s love of learning has taken him far. He’s built an incredible product. His pre-seed round is oversubscribed. And he’s got so many customers in the pipeline… I’m still unclear on the number of pilots he has!
Lisa Muccio, Dhaval Patel, Josh Muccio
Dhaval’s round is oversubscribed so the only way to get in on this deal is to apply to The Pitch Fund.
Meanwhile, the Gemist syndicate is well underway with $190,000 committed of the $300,000 allocation. The deal closes at the end of September.
What People are Saying
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