Mawji Ventures Inc.
Bijan Mawji is a technologist, entrepreneur, and bitcoin evangelist born in Vancouver, Canada.
His parents immigrated to Canada from East Africa, raising Bijan and his two brothers in Deep Cove, North Vancouver.
Bijan excelled in school, going through the Advanced Placement program for English and Math as well as a French Immersion Program while playing basketball at a high level.
Towards the end of high school, Bijan taught himself computer programming, inspired by his father who ran a family office that invested in real estate and technology companies.
Bijan was also diagnosed with Avascular Necrosis (AVN) a very rare disorder that affects 185,000 people in North America. This condition required Bijan to undergo six major surgeries, rebuilding the structural bones in his lower body including his tibias, femurs, knees, hips and pelvis. These surgeries resulted in a total of over 1,100 staples and over four months in a hospital bed.
The recovery for Bijan was rigorous. In and out of a wheelchair, he had to relearn how to walk and move functionally. The ages that this occurred 18-24) drastically changed Bijan's view on life. He experienced first-hand the importance of accessible, high-quality healthcare for the urgent treatment of disabilities.
The surgeries resulted in further complications for Bijan’s health.. He suffered kidney failure, necessitating the removal of his right kidney at the age of 19. Bijan also dealt with liver and pancreatic health problems during this time.
Bijan prides himself on what he has overcome in his life both physically and mentally. He became a disability advocate, speaking at conferences like SXSW, Tech Inclusion and Google Entrepreneurs.
Bijan started his career as a software developer during the summer of Grade 11 at Bluedrop Performance Learning. He continued this work during the summer of Grade 12, expanding his skill set, collaborating with a large team.
At the age of 17, Bijan founded LocalFixFinder, a platform connecting landlords and property owners to local contractors. The model was similar to HomeAdvisor or Thumbtack but focused on the Canadian market. The company employed six people full-time and closed angel funding, eventually shutting down due to technology development challenges surrounding scaleable, digital background checks.
In 2014, Bijan was hired as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at OHotelSuites (which later became Ostays) to rebuild their technology platform and expand their online business.
Bijan and his team developed an API that enabled Online Travel Agencies to facilitate and manage short-term, condo rentals with algorithmic pricing. In addition, Bijan leveraged on-demand workers to complete housekeeping and maintenance tasks for the properties, setting up remote access to all units.
He scaled the business from $1.2M in revenue to over $11M within two years as CTO. Most importantly, the company was very profitable.
Bijan left Ostays in 2016 to focus on Next Billion, a platform that helps organizations hire diverse technical talent with disabilities. To date, the team has completed over 250 mentorship programs for students and professionals with disabilities. Next Billion has worked with the likes of Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Slack, and Vodafone.
The company was started due to the difficulties Bijan faced after his diagnosis with AVN and the drastic lifestyle change that came with it. The company won the Stanford Social Entrepreneurship competition in addition to 29 other awards, including an Award of Excellent from the Queen of England. The team also, presented at SXSW.
In 2017, Bijan joined Mycelium, the world’s most secure bitcoin wallet as a Member of the Board of Directors and CEO. He helped scale the company to over 1M users with $12B worth of bitcoin stored on the platform at its peak.
In 2019, Bijan left Mycelium to focus on two projects that have been growing quickly.
1) Frequency: A platform that converts text into high-quality audio podcasts, seamlessly distributing the content on the publisher’s preferred channels.
2) Alt Fashion: a white glove solution that helps influencers, celebrities, and musicians start and scale their fashion brands using 45+ years of expertise Bijan’s family posses in the clothing manufacturing industry.
Investments + Projects:
Bijan has remained an active angel investor since 2014, investing in various businesses with the focus being on the founders, their values and vision. Bijan is an active angel investor. He invests in founders that have clear values and meaningful visions.
Bijan's portfolio is available on Angel List.
Bijan's Areas of Focus:
1) Artificial intelligence and human in-the-loop computing
2) B2B SaaS
3) Consumer first products and technology
4) Recording Masters specifically hip-hop, rap and r&b/soul
5) Fashion manufacturing and urban streetwear startups
Bijan has worked on various products and projects during his time as a software developer.
Here are a few of the projects and their brief descriptions:
1) OpenGuilds: A platform that enables the creation and growth of on-demand workforces that transform data for rewards.
2) Concierge: A digital hotel assistant. This company went through Techstars Berlin 2017 and was backed by Techstars Ventures and Metro AG's investment arm, HoReCa Digital.
3) Gifty: A platform that lets consumers share anything via text.
Fellowships + Awards
Bijan has received many recognitions and awards. Here are a few:
1) Techstars (2017)
2) UnReasonable Institute Fellowship (2016)
3) Kairos Fellowship (2017)
4) SXSW Top 5 Companies (NextBillion.org)
5) Stanford Social Entrepreneurship Competition 1st Place (NextBillion.org)
6) Palo Alto Hackathon by Techstars Winner (OpenGuilds)
7) Queen of England's Young Leader Award (NextBillion.org)
8) Top Innovative Startup by StartupGrind LA (NextBillion.org - 2018)
9) e@UBC Fellowship (2014)
10) Berkeley’s Social Entrepreneurship Competition 3rd Place (NextBillion.org - 2018)