HYLA CEO Spotlight: Getting to Know Biju Nair

Posted by Cindy Sewell on Sep 19, 2017 9:00:00 AM
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HYLA CEO Biju Nair headshotOur CEO, Biju Nair, recently received the IEEE’s Chairman’s award for Communications Quality & Reliability. This prestigious accolade was given to Biju for being an extraordinary role model, as well as his sustained contribution to the telecommunications industry.

We’re extremely proud of Biju, and unsurprisingly, we believe that this award is very much deserved! Not only has he worked tirelessly to advocate HYLA Mobile’s role in the used device market, he has helped to maximize the sustainability efforts of companies through the application of new technologies like machine learning, process automation and predictive analytics. As a result, HYLA Mobile works with some of the world’s leading operators, retailers and technology players to bring device trade-in services to more than 250 million mobile customers around the world.

In fact, nothing better illustrates the work HYLA Mobile is doing to improve sustainability and create a difference to the world, than through its work with Facebook. The Smart Restart Program uses renewed smartphones to bridge the digital divide. It’s an initiative that is making a real difference by transforming the lives of remote communities in Africa. You can read more about the project here.

So, in light of this award, and the substantial efforts and contributions Biju has made to the mobile industry, we wanted to share with you some facts about our CEO.

  • Biju’s first ever job was while he was growing up in India, and at 14 years’ old he manned a milk delivery booth. The milk would be delivered in a gigantic tank, by truck, every day to Biju’s neighborhood. Biju was responsible for taking money from customers, giving them the right change, and measuring out the exact amount of milk for them; and cleaning up the tank to receive milk the next day.

Biju learned the importance of forecasting accuracy from this job, because there are few things worse than ordering an excessive supply of milk in 96-degree heat of New Delhi!

  • Biju’s love of telecoms began when he was doing his graduate work at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Back then, he was looking at object orientated programming and C++. Biju knew he wanted a job that would allow him to practice his work, as at the time, it was all very new and very few people knew how to program in C++.
Biju Nair speaking at Mobile World Congress Americas 2017

His first telecoms job was at a company called SAFCO, that created software for testing and analyzing mobile networks. He bagged the job as during the interview, he managed to convince them that object orientated programming was the way to build the new software they were looking to create for a technology that will continue to change at a very fast pace.

That was how it all began – and Biju hasn’t looked back since!

  • One of Biju’s most memorable experiences was on a business trip he took to Hong Kong, many years ago. Him and the sales team took some customers out to dinner to a restaurant of their choice. While it was a very run of the mill restaurant (think plastic tables and chairs), Biju and the team were assured that the food was going to be “off the chart” good. And although they were somewhat dubious about the restaurant, the customer insisted on ordering for everyone. And what did they order? Well, one of the dishes was roasted pigeon head. There was six of them, beak and all, on a plate, staring back at them! 

Biju didn’t want to be offensive, so he decided to try one – but it went straight into his napkin with all due apologies!

  • The proudest moment in Biju’s career was launching the start-up Sapience. Sat around a kitchen table, Biju founded the company with Sumeet Paul, as well as with HYLA Mobile’s very own Sanida Bratt. This is one of Biju’s proudest moments because, after starting the company from scratch, within a year and a half, it had been acquired.

In fact, building the company in such a small amount of time, to the valuation that Biju and the team did, and the respect commanded from the investors and the acquiring company, was one of the proudest moments of Biju’s life!

Biju and the team had to do some pretty creative things to make ends meet while trying to build the business. At one point, they needed to scan and send something back to a customer, but they didn’t own a scanner. So, what did they do? They bought a scanner, used it, and returned it before the 28 days return deadline was up!

Rebuilding HYLA, along with his colleagues, to make it a technology powerhouse in the mobile handset world, is also a very challenging yet rewarding experience.

  • Biju still has some years left in the world of telecoms, and definitely isn’t one of the rocking chair retired types. But in a few years, he hopes to be spending more of his time on the deck of a boat, with a drink in hand, than sitting behind a desk! 
Millennial taking picture with iPhone inside of an Analytics Paper call to action.

Topics: Device Insurance Solutions

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The HYLA Mobile blog is a place for thoughtful dialogue that will ultimately change the perception of “used” phones around the world. Visit the HYLA website to learn more.

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