After 25 years in the wireless industry, Aroon Tungare spotted a “perfect storm” of market and regulatory changes that created a new opportunity in the broadband space. He set out to ride these waves while meeting the pressing need for better, more affordable broadband access across America, and NODABL Networks was born.
Read on to learn how Aroon and his experienced team plan to capitalize on this new opportunity while improving the lives of millions.
What inspired you to start this business?
Working in the wireless industry for 25+ years, I developed unique insights into the evolving technology and market dynamics in the industry that inspired me to found NODABL.
My co-founder, Steve Wilson, and I noted that there was a “perfect storm” created by three factors, namely, the advent of 5G technology, favorable regulatory changes in how the FCC licensed spectrum, and the urgent need for enterprises to leverage the power of data through analytics and artificial intelligence. This perfect storm created a new-to-the-industry, “Blue Ocean” opportunity for NODABL to offer private cellular networks to enterprises and local governments as an affordable service.
What’s your mission?
Our altruistic mission for NODABL is to be the nation’s preferred provider of LTE and 5G networks and services that enable people, communities and businesses to flourish.
My personal mission is to guide NODABL from what started as a figment of our imagination to a profitable enterprise that delivers significant economic value to all stakeholders, namely, our customers, employees, partners and investors.
What’s your background?
Interestingly, I am a chemical engineer by training with a PhD in that field. Through a series of fortuitous events, I spent most of my professional career in the wireless industry. I spent 20 years at Motorola mostly at the corporate R&D labs developing technologies for miniaturization of the cell phone to its current elegant form factor and for its eventual morphing into a smartphone. Along the way I secured 19 U.S. patents.
Motorola gave me career-building experiences in leading cross-disciplinary, cross-functional and geographically diverse teams. I also gained experience in building strategic partnerships with global supply chains and an astute understanding of Intellectual Property management and licensing.
Have you founded other companies? Any exits?
I’ve explored startup opportunities in disparate technologies and had the exhilarating experience of helping my previous employer IPO on the NASDAQ in 2019.
With NODABL, we’re planning for long-term value creation where we can make a significant impact in the LTE and 5G market and in people’s lives.
What experiences along your career path help you most in your current role?
Two specific experiences come to mind.
- Having spent a good part of my career in research at a company that invented cellular telephony, I am trained to see over the horizon. My task leading research was not just to anticipate change, but to create change. That is one attitude I bring to my current role.
- Having commercialized several technologies that started as a figment of imagination in the laboratory and ended up in hundreds of millions of cell phones, I learned the importance of partnering not just within your own company but also across the entire supply chain. We’re putting that learning into practice at NODABL with extensive partnerships.
If you have a co-founder, how did you meet? How did you come together to build this business?
My co-founder, Steve Wilson, is a successful CEO of a company he founded 20 years ago operating in the deregulated electricity and natural gas markets. He is also a visionary.
We met serendipitously almost six years ago with the intention of commercializing a scientific breakthrough in wireless power transfer that Steve had supported through early stage development. That opportunity faced significant technical hurdles compounded by management team missteps.
Rather than wait for things to turn around on wireless power, we started exploring other opportunities which led to the birth of NODABL Networks three years ago.
|The NODABL Networks team |
at the company's headquarters in Texas.
Tell us about the team you’ve built.
We have assembled a leadership team of veterans. I have spent 25 plus years in wireless and telecom. Co-founder Steve Wilson was a pioneer in the fiber optics industry in the late ‘80s. Tom Zurawski, our CTO, brings over 20 years of network design experience from wireless network operators, and Marc Metteauer, our director of marketing, has 35-year deep roots in marketing. As a NODABL team we have foresight derived from 75+ years of cumulative experience in wireless, fiber and cellular networks.
When I look at teams, I am not only focused on the internal team but the larger partner ecosystem we have created. We have established technology partnerships with world-class OEMs like Motorola Solutions, Nokia and Celona. We also have go-to-market partnerships with advisory groups that help us engage customers in our target verticals. Lastly, we have partnerships with specialty vendors to whom we outsource tasks like building communication towers and installing radio equipment on towers.
Describe your company culture.
While we are headquartered in Waxahachie, TX, we are a geographically distributed organization. As such, trust between team members is an important element of our culture. As a company we believe not just in creating shareholder value but also in doing social good, which is ingrained in our mission statement.
What brings you the most joy on the job?
Patiently engaging with customers and “holding their hand” as they work through digesting the value proposition of our solution is very satisfying. We are focused on having a delighted customer when we complete the sale.
What are you most proud of?
At a personal level my wife and I are both proud of our two daughters who have followed in my engineering footsteps and are carving out successful careers in technology for themselves.
At NODABL, I am proud of the large number of customers we have engaged in a short period of time with a lean internal team and an extended partner team.
What are the top factors influencing your industry or company right now and how are you managing them?
Smart City Networks - The need for state-of-the-art broadband infrastructure is not just the talk of the town but is the talk of the nation. Congress and the federal government have allocated vast sums of money to cities and counties to build out the broadband infrastructure in their communities. NODABL has, therefore, prioritized local government as a target vertical and is offering state-of-the-art, custom-designed, rapidly deployable and affordable community broadband networks for small- to mid-sized communities as a managed service.
Distance Learning - The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the inequality that exists for broadband access in rural and unserved urban/suburban communities across the nation. When school districts were forced to close schools and implement distance learning, they realized that many students in poor communities did not have adequate broadband access in their homes. Schools looking to remedy the situation are turning to NODABL for private wireless 4G/LTE and 5G networks to extend the secure and excellent broadband access available at schools into the students’ homes.
Industry 4.0 - Enterprises today face indeterminate risks, uncontrolled costs, and unmanageable operational complexity because their broadband connectivity is a hodge-podge of cellular connectivity. Connections are often provided by nationwide wireless carriers, wired services provided by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), enterprise-owned wired and WiFi networks, wired IP security cameras, and walkie-talkie style two-way radio communications.
Enterprises that want to leverage the power of data through analytics and artificial intelligence look to NODABL for secure networks that provide mobility; real-time visibility to operational data; and the ability to instantly communicate with “man or machine” via voice, video and data.
|The NODABL team plans network deployments.|
Why did you decide to raise capital through crowdfunding?
We did not want to go the VC route as we would have to give up too much equity and control. The VCs would then largely dictate our priorities with an eye towards a rapid exit.
The SAFE (Simple Agreement for Future Equity) instrument of Regulation Crowdfunding gives us the opportunity to raise the amount of money we need for our current growth without the time and expense of additional audits that VCs often require. The experts at Fundify were a great resource for NODABL every step of the way from planning and executing the Reg CF offering.
What are three adjectives you’d use to describe yourself?
What is the most important habit of a startup founder?
Perseverance. Believing that against all odds, in the end, you will find a path to success.
What do you enjoy in your spare time?
- Reading (particularly books by respected public figures)
- Golf (particularly with my daughter who beats me every single time) and
- Hiking (with my wife when at our winter home in Scottsdale, AZ)
If you were on stage in a spotlight before a packed audience, would you rather teach, sing, dance or accept an award? Tell us about that scene.
Teach, because I cannot sing or dance. Over my career I have been fortunate to have been invited to give keynote addresses at industry events in the United States and abroad. I prepare diligently for such speaking engagements because I recognize that my peers in the audience are either as smart as me or smarter than me. To have the privilege to speak to such an audience, you better have something new, useful or intelligent to say.
👉 Learn more about NODABL Networks and see how you can become an early investor here.