Business Model: Selling unlocked cellphones Who Did It: Junaid Shams and Ahmed Khattak Capital Required: $150,000 How Much It Makes: $35 million a year
The name GSMNation is one of the most synonymous with the mobile phones. GSMNation is a well known seller of mobile phones but this is not why the website has become well known. What makes the phones that are sold by this website so special is the fact that the phones are first unlocked by the manufacturers prior to being sold. GSMNation is the brainchild of one Ahmed Khattak, a Yale student who noted during a brief stay in London that in Europe, mobile phone users would use their phones without having to take contracts with the carriers of the service. This was in stack contrast with the American population where most users buy phones that come with contracts. This is more expensive than the services that come minus the contracts and this is the pitch that GSMNation is now using and has been quite successful so far.
Surprisingly GSMNation was started with nothing more than 150 000 dollars that Khattak and his friend Junaid shams had gathered on their own and from their families. They also got support from the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute. GSMNation was officially launched in 2010, two years after the two friends had started selling the unlocked phones online. GSMNation sells a wide variety of mobile devices including the popular BlackBerrys and iPhones. Apart from individuals, the website caters to a wide array of clientèle including agencies of the government. GSMNation currently employs 12 people and has already achieved sales in excess of 50,000 phones. The unlocked phones can be used with any carrier and although most of GSMNation's are from other countries, the U.S. based customer base is expected to grow in the years to come.
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