Kopis Mobile is truly honored to announce that one of our team members, Dr. Henry Jones, has been appointed to the Mississippi Governor’s Military Defense Initiative Task Force effective immediately.
The Task Force has been set up by Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant to provide insights from experts around the State to develop a strategy “to protect, grow and diversify the defense industry in Mississippi.” Retired Colonel Greg Michel, Director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, will serve as Chairman and Jamie Miller, Deputy Director of the Mississippi Development Authority will be Co-Chairman.
“The citizens of Mississippi have consistently shown their support for our men and women in uniform,” said Dr. Jones. “That has created an excellent environment for businesses to innovate and create new solutions to help our neighbors who serve. I am humbled to be a part of this team of entrepreneurs, officials, and other leaders across the great State of Mississippi.”
Dr. Jones has almost two decades of experience in product commercialization, development of electromechanical systems, and software architecture and design. Prior to the founding of Kopis Mobile, Dr. Jones was the Director of the Center for Battlefield Innovation at Mississippi State University. Dr. Jones has a Ph.D. and M.S. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University. He also has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Mississippi.
Innovate Mississippi is a non-profit organization helping to drive innovation and technology based economic development for the State of Mississippi. They do this by working directly with new startups helping them develop business strategies and finding funding by using their pool of investor resources.
Every year Innovate Mississippi publishes their Innovation Report. This publication showcases various startups and innovative business’ success stories from around the state. We are proud to be included.
“Kopis Mobile is a Flowood-based company that works to enhance the communications capabilities of military and law enforcement by finding ways to integrate last-generation equipment with modern smartphone and tablet technology.
Kopis Mobile started in 2012 while founders Henry Jones, Joe McDevitt, Josh Lunn, Andrew Putnam and Hugh Middleton were working for a defense contractor. They noticed a strange lack of smartphone tech in the contractor’s gear. The company opened for business in 2013. “A lot of military and law enforcement bodies spend a lot on equipment, but they don’t have the money for wholesale replacement. Younger people who come to these jobs expect modern technology,” Jones said. “Kopis takes old equipment and ties it in to modern devices.”
Kopis Mobile’s products can be used in chemical and radiation detection, radio communication, cameras, lighting, and more. The company is Jones’s fifth successful startup, so he knew the ropes in Kopis Mobile’s early stages and put together the company’s pitch book to present to investors. First, though, he touched base with a few mentors at Innovate Mississippi who helped him fine-tune the concept into something that would be attractive to investors.
“Innovate Mississippi’s Angel Investor Network was a big help,” Jones said. “It made the process much more efficient and allowed us to pitch to a lot of people at once. Even if you don’t get funding from an investor, they usually have questions for you that help refine your pitch and your business model.”
Innovate Mississippi’s $100,000 investment through its Mississippi Seed Fund helped spur additional investment. As a result, Kopis Mobile was able to fully repay the seed fund.
Jones credited his partners, especially mentors at the University of Southern Mississippi, for pushing Kopis Mobile forward. With their help, the company has seen consistent growth.
“We’re building a reputation as a company who listens, who works quickly and keeps things simple. We thought beforehand that those were things any company would do,” Jones said. “None of us like to see it, but the world is becoming a more dangerous place. We build tools that help those who protect us be more effective and be more protected themselves.”
The Vet50’s rankings were announced on Saturday, February 17, 2018 at the Vet50 Awards event by First Data, a longtime partner of the IVMF, during the first-ever Veteran EDGE national conference focused solely on developing veteran entrepreneurs no matter where they are in their business journey, and the companies who want to do business with them. The dinner featured keynote speaker NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, Captain (USN, Retired)
and guest speaker Medal of Honor recipient Jack Jacobs, Colonel (US Army Retired).
The conference and awards ceremony brought together stakeholders, veteran business owners, regional and national veteran services organizations, as well as the corporate partners of the Coalition for Veteran-Owned Business (CVOB). EDGE is the first-of-its-kind coalition of large companies supporting the success of veteran-owned businesses, connecting them with entrepreneurial education, training, resources, and networking opportunities.
“Veteran business owners bring unconventional leadership and grit to succeed. They have a history of entrepreneurship that goes back decades. This list will not only inform but it will inspire other entrepreneurs – veteran and civilian,” said Syracuse University Vice Chancellor of Strategic Initiatives and Innovation and IVMF Founder, Executive Director Mike Haynie.
About the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University
The Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) is the first interdisciplinary national institute in higher education focused on the social, economic, education, and policy issues impacting veterans and their families.
The IVMF delivers leading programs all over the country and online in career, vocational, and entrepreneurship education and training, while also conducting actionable research, policy analysis, and program evaluations. The IVMF also supports communities through coordinated efforts that enhance delivery and access to services and care.
The Institute, supported by a distinguished advisory board, along with public and private partners, is committed to advancing the lives of those who have served in America’s armed forces and their families. For more information, visit ivmf.syracuse.edu and follow the IVMF on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The 2018 Vet50 list was created by using data gathered in the course of creating the 2017 Inc. 5000 list. Eligible companies have been identified with the help of the IVMF. Those companies are then ranked according to percentage revenue growth when comparing 2013 to 2016. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2013. They had to be U.S.-based, privately held, for profit, and independent—not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies—as of December 31, 2016. The minimum revenue required for 2013 is $100,000; the minimum for 2016 is $2 million.
Kopis Mobile is truly honored to be recognized on the inaugural Vet50 list.
This is the third installment of the Inc. 5000 conference takeaways. To catch up, go to Kopis Mobile’s website (just click our name) for the previous blog posts. Here is Henry’s final recap:
Beyond our interactions with Norm Brodsky and Brene Brown, Josh and I were able to have front-row seats for talks by Brian Smith, the founder of Ugg brand, Alan Mulally of Boeing and Ford and Daymond John, Shark Tank investor and FUBU founder.
Josh literally ran into Brian a few seconds before he was going on stage, and Brian was extremely polite – he clearly is a very laid-back person. His personal story reflected that attitude. Neither Josh nor I had a full picture of Daymond John before his talk, and we both came away impressed and fans.
A key impression from those talks was that companies have stages – you can’t skip them and probably don’t want to skip them (Norm had said this also). While we should all want to be the best in the world. The key is to understand that will mean you have to go through the process of becoming the best in the world; by learning from others and your own mistakes, by trying new things, and constantly evolving and getting better.
Brian’s four secrets to success were to 1) Feast Upon Uncertainty, 2) Fatten on Disappointment, 3) Invigorate in the Presence of Difficulties, and 4) Enthuse Over Apparent Defeat. His reasoning behind those secrets became clear in the end – that these four attitudes take away the mindset of Victimization. We will all have uncertainty, disappointment, difficulties and defeat but, our success comes from our response to them. Enjoy being where you are, do it well, and then over time look back over your shoulder and appreciate your successes. And, like Brene Brown said, “you decide what defines that success”.
The second day was also pretty exciting. I was interviewed by Microsoft and MSNBC .
If that interview makes it on the air, we will definitely be posting about it.
The conference wrapped up with a black-tie gala, which my father Frank and brother John flew out to attend with us. It was great to hear our company’s name called and see it up on the big screen. We hope to make the list again, and attend next year in San Antonio!!
All of us at Kopis Mobile are so proud of this achievement. We don’t look at it as a “feather in our hat” but more of a validation of the company moving in the right direction fueled by hard work and passion for excellence.
Henry here again this week, with some more insights from the Inc 5000 Conference. Feel free to read last week’s post to catch up if you haven’t already.
After talking with Norm Brodsky, the next best part of the conference was listening to two Brené Brown talks.
She is a world-class researcher of relationships, and it turns out she is a great speaker as well. (She’s also very pleasant off stage, as my business partner Josh and I found out when we found ourselves leaving one of the auditoriums alongside her.)
I HIGHLY recommend two of her TED talks as a way to learn more about her and about Vulnerability and Shame. She has written numerous books, and she spoke for about two hours. I’ll just note some highlights here so you quickly read though to get a sense of what she’s about.
She found out that once she started her own growth business that it is much easier to study leadership, which she has been doing for a while, than to lead people.
The #1 reason for business failure is a lack of courage and leadership, which is most often manifested in an unwillingness to have difficult conversations. Our society believes that we shouldn’t be uncomfortable, and further that money or status or privilege would mean we would be comfortable.
This keeps us from tackling the hard things in life, which are inevitably uncomfortable. From my own observation, this means that we miss most opportunities to grow and mature.
Discomfort leads to being open to learning lessons, which leads to change and growth, which leads to maturity. This means that discomfort is a good thing, and trying to be comfortable all the time is not.
Four Pillars of Courage: Vulnerability, Clarity of Values, Trust, and Ability to Recover.
You can learn these skills, and thus learn to be courageous – but you will definitely get your butt kicked in the process. When you sign up to be brave, you sign up for the “certainty of failure”. So each day, we end up choosing: Courage or Comfort?
She mainly discussed the first topic, Vulnerability. Her definition that I noted was “a willingness to show up and be seen transparently without controlling the outcome”. Part of that is understanding and believing that other people don’t define success for you.
Joy is the most vulnerable emotion we can feel.
We also need to do a much better job with celebrating each of our personal and professional successes whatever their size. I could do a much better job with this, though attending the Inc 5000 Conference was a part of that. I also plan to take a long multi-day hike in the mountains to celebrate.
She quoted Teddy Roosevelt from his “Citizenship In A Republic” speech and extended it further: If you are not getting your (butt) kicked, I am not interested in your feedback. Who is in the arena? Who is paddling the boat with me? Those people, I will listen to.
The opposite of accountability is blame. Blame is just discharging your stuff, not owning it.
Clarity of Values: have we (at Kopis Mobile, or as individuals) written down our values and operationalized them by discussing what they look like as behaviors?
Regarding Trust: once you say “trust”, people go into their primal limbic systems . Once you bring it up, they may sense that you are attacking their sense of self, so be prepared to be dealing with more than just the issue at hand.
Consider the power of empathy to restore relationships. What’s empathy? Watch this insightful 3-minute video: Brené Brown on empathy .
The Ability to Recover: Everyone wants to see their story with a good guy and a bad guy to help understand it and how to make it feel better. Help people see that story, and learn how to cultivate that story for yourself.
Brené spoke more about the Ability to Recover in her second talk, which is the subject of her book Rising Strong . There is a process for that, what she calls “The Reckoning, The Rumble, and The Revolution”. She mostly discussed the first – The Reckoning. In general, this is the often difficult work of understanding what is really going on in your life and how you got to that point, and being honest about it!
Often, people have problems and that generates shame (a focus on the person) – which frequently causes addictive behaviors. Guilt (a focus on the behavior) is a healthier alternative, and it protects against addiction. Among the other takeaways from her talk were that most people can identify 3 to 5 emotions, yet there are 30 core emotions! Many of those emotions show up as anger or distance.
It’s tough to dig below that emotional shell, but she does have some great suggestions about how to go about it. Brené gave some powerful examples that start with asking the question: “What is the story you’re telling yourself in your head?” Once those get out on the table, clearer communication and a better relationship follows.
I know that I personally have a lot to learn about vulnerability, empathy, shame, trust, and many of the other topics that Brené writes and talks about. Hearing her in person was motivational for me to keep learning more.
I hope this diversion from the typical Kopis Mobile content was helpful! One more post about the Inc 5000 conference to come.
Hugh normally handles the blog writing, but for the next couple of posts it’ll be me, Henry. I’ll be sharing some of what we learned last week at the Inc 5000 Conference. In case you missed it, Kopis Mobile’s revenue growth between 2013 and 2016, qualified us for the Inc 500. That puts Kopis Mobile in the top 1000th of 1 percent (0.0001%!!) of companies in the United States – something to be very proud of!
Our team has worked long hours, sacrificing time and energy, and poured enormous amounts of creativity and thought into moving the company in the right direction. We are the fastest-growing technology company in Mississippi! Kopis Mobile co-founder Josh Lunn and I attended the two-day event as representatives of the company. I wish the whole team could have been there.
Attending the Inc conference as an Inc 500 awardee was enormously fulfilling to me professionally. I have been a subscriber to Inc magazine for about 20 years. It has been the best source of insight and information for growth companies – those that keep pushing to be bigger, better, and making more of a difference to its customers and staff.
A longstanding goal for me was to be a part of an Inc 500 company. You can imagine my elation as a co-founder, part of the leadership team, and then to see my name in the magazine – that was more than I ever thought was a realistic goal.
It’s really tough to make the list! Perhaps for that reason, the atmosphere at the Inc conference was very positive. All the other attendees had a great attitude – no one was competing, and we all knew we shared the same experiences of finding and attracting great people to join your team, wooing customers, building a meaningful culture, trying to figure out smart processes without losing flexibility, and managing the inevitable cash flow stress.
The highlight for me was meeting and talking with Norm Brodsky , who is the Street Smarts columnist and a senior contributing editor to Inc.
I’ve been a faithful follower of his columns and books for years. More than just meet him – we were able to have a few conversations, and as I was hoping, he quickly had some useful insights into what I could do to help our business out the most.
The key takeaway from the conversations was that I needed to seriously increase the attention I have paid to making projections for our business – revenue and expenses and the cash flow relationship between them. I need to share those projections as widely as possible, as one of the key communication tools for the entire company to use.
The more I’ve thought about it, the more I see many of the company’s current challenges (such as distributing responsibility and accountability as we grow, making investment decisions, and reducing my role as Chief Bottleneck) could be mitigated by distribution of a best-effort projection for at least the next 12 months. If everyone doesn’t know where we are trying to go, how will we all work well together to get there?
There will be a few more posts on the Inc.5000 conference, other speakers and insights. But, for now, I’ll end it here with this Dance time at the Inc 5000 gala.
Kopis Mobile is excited to announce that we have been ranked #384 in the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies in the U.S. This is truly an honor for the Kopis Mobile team. Additionally, we ranked third in the Computer Hardware category nationwide and we are the second fastest growing company in Mississippi. This honor could not be achieved without all of the hard work, dedication, late nights and lots of travel done by Team Kopis. When I say Team Kopis, it’s not just the men and women who come into the offices every day, it also includes our employee’s families. Our folks missed a lot of family events and quality time with their kids over the years.
This honor solidifies our endeavor to develop and deliver the best products to those that keep us safe! It fuels us to work even harder to improve their efficiency, safety and awareness.
Kopis Mobile is gearing up for the 2017 ADS Warrior Expo East, happening 13-14 July at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. General Martin Dempsey (U.S. Army Ret) will be speaking from 900-1000am on the 13th in Ballroom C. The main floor opens at 1000am and will remain open until 430pm. The main floor will also open at 1000am on the 14th, but will close at 330pm.
We are displaying our full product line in booth 121. Additionally, we are walking the show floor with our ERSA and NTtv products showing how they are used in a real life HAZMAT situations.
If you don’t catch us walking the floor, we are presenting two operational demonstrations titled, ‘Situational Awareness in CBRN Emergency Response’ in booth 121. The first demo will be at 200pm on Thursday. We are presenting a second one at 1100 am on Friday.
We look forward to seeing everyone at the show. Please stop by and say hello. As usual, we want to hear what makes your daily job miserable. We can’t do anything about *hitty bosses. We do however have several ways to make you more efficient and eliminate time consuming paperwork.
Your regularly scheduled blog post has been interrupted by SOFIC 2017.
Hugh also uploaded a short video to Kopis Mobile’s Facebook page showing just a bit of the crowd. We will be back on our regular schedule next week with some word on how the show went. The operator vs. engineer series will start in earnest next week as well, so stay tuned. Thanks for your continued support at these trade shows and of the company in general.