MPOWER was founded in 2014 by Manu Smadja and Mike Davis, two former international students with a shared dream: to remove the financial obstacles students often face when pursuing an international education.
To do this, they would make loans based on a student’s future potential — not their past. Since then, MPOWER has been proud to have helped thousands of students achieve their dream of studying abroad. International students work hard — they deserve a partner who will help them access the education and opportunities they need to achieve their dreams.
On this episode of the Grit Daily Startup, Manu said before starting MPOWER, he had never raised money in his life. he was very much an operator with zero fundraising experience. With that being said, he met an angel investor in Virginia many years back, he and his co-founder took a trip from DC to see him, which takes about an hour. They got to his office, and they had a promising conversation with the angel investor and at the end, he asked them one simple question: “Are you raising?” Manu immediately jumped in and said “no” about three times in a row, emphatically reiterating “not now.” he could see his co-founder steaming and, on their drive, back to DC he said to him, “Manu, when someone asks if you are raising, the answer is always ‘yes!”
Their Uber driver started laughing hard as he realized what had just happened. He jumped into the conversation and counseled: Listen to your business partner man, he knows how it’s done!” It was then that he learned the fundraising ABCs: “Always be closing.” That transformative learning experience remains deeply anchored in his head.
As an entrepreneur, you do not choose when the timing of key events happens. Whether funding is being offered or you win over a big client, you must always remain open to seize an opportunity at any given moment.