John Yanyali is the man behind multiple successful business ventures. John began his entrepreneurial journey by investing in the agriculture, education, construction, and marine industries. He further expanded into the Smart Industry, with a focus on the energy, finance, infrastructure, transportation, and security industries. He presently holds over 15+ years of experience in different industry verticals.
John is a visionary with a positive mind and a can-do attitude. In 2007, he formed a partnership with a California-based technology company that specializes in electronics manufacturing services. In 2008, he expanded his portfolio by partnering with Elektronet, a digital technology provider focused on Smart Industry. With his involvement, Elektronet soon became the largest manufacturer and developer of custom hardware and software systems in the Middle East and North Africa. In 2016, John launched Jova Digital, a North American provider of intelligent revenue management services. Currently, he is the General Partner of First Drop Ventures and serves on the executive board of Duuple.
When asked about his inspiration behind his journey John apprised, “Successful people have always inspired me. I’ve always believed that becoming an entrepreneur would allow me to become a part of a network that has already established great businesses. I was fascinated with the concept of finding the next profitable idea and changing people’s lives. Watching someone with nothing grow to become a successful businessperson was enough for me to save up money to start my businesses.”
A Glimpse of Duuple- The Challenge-based App
Duuple empowers individuals, brands, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to create their goal-based challenges. With a mission to provide a fun platform for social innovators and organizations to empower each other and their communities, Duuple provides a platform for users to donate to causes and advocate for issues that matter. Through user-generated videos, users participate in social good along with cheers, energy, excitement, prizes.
The user-created challenges provide discoverability and virality – with an immediate call to action for fun and social good amongst friends. Whether it is just friends competing with each other or a charity raising funds, it is a fun and interactive way to challenge your network and share hilarious and engaging content. Over the past few years, social networks have been turning a simple act into a movement – especially when aligned with charities and social initiatives. Thus, it’s an innovative way to challenge your friends while stepping out of your comfort zone into a world of good.
Overcoming Challenges Like a Leader
Start-ups like Duuple face lots of challenges from creating an app that users can connect with, to getting enough funding for development. It is easy to get overwhelmed and lose focus of where one’s energy should be directed.
It is no secret that there are thousands of mobile apps, on the market. Start-ups are coming up with new apps each day and the biggest challenge for John and his team was creating an app that stood out from the rest. Once they figured the strategy, they had to jump the hurdle of market penetration to gather enough data to prove the concept. They made it a priority to align themselves with their users; What do they need? What problem is Duuple solving for them? How easy is it for them to recommend Duuple to other users?
Funding is another great challenge that start-ups face. It may cost an average of $200,000 to develop a usable app and push it to the market. Most start-ups get stuck at the funding stage, with a great idea for an app but with no capital to catapult their dream forward. The strategy for funding Duuple was approaching the right investors. They communicated the three-prong approach, which includes individuals, non-profits, and brands, Duuple offers with the investors to create challenges for fun or social good.
Suggestion for a More Balanced and Equal Industry
Companies need to empower leaders who are more in tune with the workforce and recognize the importance of cultural factors such as pay transparency, the availability of family leave, and the freedom to be creative in helping employees thrive. While leaders think culture is important, most of them are not prioritizing it. Industries need leaders who are armed with an awareness of both the perception gap and the barriers to building more equal cultures. They can “say, do and drive” the behaviors and policies that will close the gap
and overcome the obstacles in their organizations.
A Day in John”s Life
“My days are not rushed. Instead, I take time to rest, recharge and make decisions carefully. I go to bed early; I get up early. Once I am up, I take some time for myself. I like to read the news while I drink my coffee and eat my breakfast. When I am ready to turn to business, I devote all of my focus to the companies I invest. I set my first meeting at 10 a.m. The first meetings of the day are the ones that require the most brainpower. Anything that”s going to be mentally challenging, that’s a 10:00 a.m. meeting. At the end of the day, I try to avoid making decisions. To be as effective at making decisions as possible, I also prioritize sleep. I get eight hours of sleep unless I”m traveling in different time zones. For me, I need eight hours of sleep because I can think better, have more energy, and be in a better mood”, said John while talking about his daily routine.
Favourite Book – The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
A Seasoned Leader Looking Ahead to Succeed
A lot is happening! Now, Duuple has become one of the most entertaining mobile apps that will soon be expanded globally. The company has an ambassadors program coming up that will allow the company to create its own influencers. Additionally, they have an augmented reality feature, which is almost ready to be released – and it will take engagement to the next level.
Overall, Duuple is on its way to becoming one of the most successful apps in its genre!
Awards and Milestones
One of the most memorable milestones was when Duuple hit 1 million downloads. Everyone on the team was so excited. This victory was celebrated with teams across three time zones for a whole day. Additionally, the company received the best mobile app award, the best design award, and the most innovative mobile app award. The co-founder and CEO, Abby Frimpong, was also recognized for her impact in the industry and for her efforts in leveling the playing field for female entrepreneurs.
Advice for Entrepreneurs
John’s message for young entrepreneurs is, “Challenge your comfort zone. You can’t achieve anything if you are always afraid of stepping outside. You need to prepare for financial shifts, so start small and snowball it.”