When German Jordanian University (GJU) graduate, Abdallah Mola, reflects on his journey of becoming an entrepreneur, he gives anyone the inspiration and motivation to follow in his footsteps. Yet the founder and CEO of SIMCAR, the startup that focuses on bringing the Internet of Things (IoT) to the automotive industry to make cars smarter, started the company at just 23 years old during his final year in university. He has come a long way in a few short years and is now a postgraduate student at the Technical University of Chemnitz in Germany.
Mola’s inspiration for SIMCAR came when he interned at Eberspaecher GmbH, one of the leading automotive suppliers in Germany and the world, as part of GJU’s program, where his final project was to connect a vehicle to the internet. Mola was intrigued, fascinated, and inspired by this project as he explains, “As a telecom engineer, I learnt that there was more to the telecommunication industry. I discovered a new opportunity I never knew existed before. And I liked bringing back this technology to Jordan. I continued this for my end of year project, in cooperation with Dr.Omar Hiyari and Dr. Alaa Khalife where we built a basic prototype that connected vehicles to the internet. That’s how SIMCAR’s story started.”
From there, Mola was encouraged by his professors to apply to the IoT Hackathon competition. SIMCAR won third place and caught the attention of business incubator The Tank owned by Umniah, one of the leading telecom operators in the country. Mola says, “This is where I realized that I do have a great idea that I could potentially turn into a business.”
What is SIMCAR
SIMCAR is a combination of software and hardware. The device can be installed in any car model manufactured after 1994 and connects them to the internet. Mola says, “I wanted to bring a solution to people who don’t have a smart car or who can’t afford to upgrade their car.” The device gathers real time information about your car that can easily be viewed on the cloud or the app. Drivers can then easily control the functions of their car and monitor it.
When asked about the installation process, Mola said, “this is one of the main things I took into consideration when I was designing SIMCAR. It is simply a plug and play device with zero human interaction. So, all you have to do is install it in your car and let it do the work for you.”
Providing solutions for Smart Cities
Started only 3 years ago, after participating in a statewide hackathon in Saxony, Germany. Mola is now working on developing a fully finished product gaining the support of a German Government funded organization for student entrepreneurs called “Saxeed” which he hopes to launch in Europe and the Arab region by August 2020. Mola’s first target was Amman but after attending Mobile World Congress (MWC), the world’s largest tech exhibition in Barcelona with Umniah, he realized that there’s a potential market in Europe.
The great thing about the device is it does not only benefit drivers but governments and businesses alike. SIMCAR offers real time traffic and accident detection, so governments will be able to build better infrastructure to avoid congestion. Businesses on the other hand can benefit greatly from this device as they can connect fleet of vehicles to keep their drivers safe. For example, in the case of an accident, SIMCAR will immediately notify emergency services and insurance companies, saving the driver and surrounding witnesses time and effort to call for help. SIMCAR is really a piece of the puzzle to smart cities and the digital world.
Taking entrepreneurship challenges to the next level
“I never thought that I could start a startup in my life. The challenge was how do I proceed from now? I have a good idea, so what do I do after this? Another challenge I faced was how I can introduce my product to the market place.” Mola describes that he has an engineering mentality, but with The Tank’s help he got the mentorship and training he needed which was Business Development and Business training, as well international access through MWC. He explains, “I was placed on the global map through The Tank. This allowed the world to hear what SIMCAR is doing.”
To other tech entrepreneurs, Mola’s advice is simple. “A product has to solve a problem rather than offer many solutions. This is what people are looking for.”