Not born into business, Gabriel Ghavami has his diverse background and strong personal traits make him a successful entrepreneur. He started his first endeavor with a friend when he was still in high school and after university studies in the United States and several years of diligent work he’s today one of Sweden’s top marketing entrepreneurs.
– Being an underdog became my Superpower. Looking back now it all feels so very natural, but ever since my family came to Sweden back in the 1980’s my journey has been all about Dedication, Sacrifice, Hard work & Resilience, says Gabriel Ghavami, founder and CEO of GO MO Group.
Where do entrepreneurs like Gabriel Ghavami get their energy from? His power and relentless drive might originate from his childhood in the pulsating ten million-plus metropolis of Tehran. Or maybe his upbringing in one of Gothenburg’s most entrepreneur-friendly boroughs shaped him the most. To grow up as an immigrant trying to fit in has definitely been a massive source of drive for him.
– I came to Sweden with my family in 1984 and we were meticulous about fitting in, that was the key to be accepted according to my mother. But already as a young boy I had two identities, one Persian and one Swedish. Early on I found motivation in exclusion and always having to fit in, in a strange way this became the strongest and earliest driving force I can remember. Still today I think about how strong and courageous my parents were to move us and pave the way for me in a free country. I remind myself of the huge price my parents were willing to pay to move to Sweden. The currency they paid with is called careers, homes, families, friends and everything else they had built up around them.
Despite leaving all their social connections and standings behind in the move from Tehran to make a fresh start in Sweden, Gabriel has always felt that his family has been the safe haven in his life.
– We always took care of each other in my house and despite not being affluent I grew up in a home that was very generous. Not growing up with economical means has encouraged me to become self-sufficient and given me a natural drive to build a safe and strong financial foundation for my own children. But my ambition has always been to have a great work-life balance so my family can live life to the fullest every day.
– I have a memory of my first journey abroad when I was a little kid. I saw men in suits at the airport, they had a natural swag about them. That’s what I wanted my life to be like. I have come this far because I know what I want, and living in so many different worlds have made me succeed in finding and bringing energy to whatever I do in business.
Studies and work in the US
After completing his high school years in Gothenburg Gabriel moved to Honolulu, Hawaii to study at Hawaii Pacific University (H.P.U.). After completing his double major degree, a B.S.B:A in marketing and finance, he moved to his favorite place on earth, Manhattan and New York City, to work for a year as a stockbroker at Wall Street, a world where only the strongest survive.
– That was by any scale the most insane, but the best, sales education in the world – that’s at least how I saw it! One could never relax or slow down, there were 5 000 people ready to replace me at any given moment. Those who didn’t perform were fired at a blink of an eye.
In 2005 Gabriel moved back to Gothenburg to work as a currency broker, but by then he had already had a strong desire to start and build a business for himself. The dream came true within the next few years when his newly launched finance business was doing very well.
– We made a lot of money but eventually I found that my heart, nor my ethics, wasn’t in it. Finance wasn’t my true calling even if it was the first chapter in my book, my career. Instead I noticed that our sales processes started to change and I got very intrigued by that.
The new business for the future of sales
Gabriel decided to do an analysis together with the Swedish Trade Council (Business Sweden) on the future of sales. That would turn out to be an important step in creating his business plan for a brand new company. So, in late 2012 he left the world of finance and started GO MO Group with a few like minded people, a spearhead in the evolution of digital marketing.
– I changed careers at 34 years old, the first step towards completing the famous 10 000 hours to master this field. I wanted to understand search-marketing and Google’s algorithms to close the gap between sales and marketing. It took us about a year to really get started but it wasn’t until 5-6 years later that the understanding and the need for digital marketing exploded. Today we employ over 75 people and work with some of the top companies in Sweden.
In a move to strengthen the offering to his present and future clients Gabriel recently sold his shares of his business to Collaboration Art, an owner backed venture capital company and an agency network whose mission is to build a House of Brands for performance marketing companies together with Europe’s most passionate entrepreneurs. But the deal doesn’t mean Gabriel is leaving GO MO Group.
– As the founder I see this as a new era for GO MO Group. Moreover, this is the dawn of a new beginning in the digital marketing industry. My dream was always to build a company that could disrupt an industry and add immense value.
– It was crucial for me when building the company, to give people at GO MO a chance to be part of something that created a ripple effect of change and innovation. Dreaming big, I went on a hunt for like-minded people that dared to strive for greatness and could join me in pursuing this dream.
Dedicated to raising the bar – Gabriel Ghavami
Gabriel is convinced that what we see now is only the first steps in a massive realignment in consumer behavior for the future. This is the biggest change in history when it comes to corporate digital communication.
– The changes in consumer patterns now is so monumental that we need to be pioneers to achieve greatness and success.
And his ambition has always been to raise the bar, to develop himself and others.
– My ambition for us is to be part of building the next digital marketing conglomerate. I’m a huge believer in getting out of your comfort zone, which I believe is the key to any real growth. The partnership with Collaboration Art and Spiltan is a game changer not only for us, but for the industry as a whole.
The author is Magnus Sjöbäck, a journalist and senior PR consultant at Greatness PR, transcreator is Gary Landström, journalist and freelance writer.