He Battles Cancer While Making His Own Mobile App

By the way, he got cancer along the way.

When you find out you have a cancer, will you quit life or create an app.

There are two major paths that engineering graduates can pursue after graduation: get employed by big companies or start a career by putting up their own startups.

Early Formation

In the case of Khallil Mangalji, he had to make a difficult choice because he was torn for a while in between.

He and two of his college buddies, Zain Manji and Arif Bhanji, put up a startup called Fiix which provides a platform for licensed mechanics to be hired through house calls to do minor auto repairs like installing new brake pads and changing tires or oil. First called Tire Swap, the app was launched two years ago with great potential, already catering to 80 customers in Toronto in its first week. After one month, it had serviced hundreds of customers already.

The Founders of Fiix. Photo via Khalil’s Twitter

Photo via Tech Crunch

While this got relative success in Australia, Mangalji still applied for jobs in big companies. He got internships at Pivotal Labs, Apple, and Facebook, to name a few, which is why it is no wonder that he got job offers from Facebook, Uber, and Medium, among others.

Opportunity Knocks

Mangalji already accepted an offer from Uber when Fiix got a break that he, as one of its co-founders, could not just miss.

Justin Kan, who is best known as the co-founder of live video platforms Justin.tv and Twitch.tv, announced pitches for a Y Combinator Fellowship via Snapchat. The three decided to join, only to be voted by Kan’s followers as the best of the submissions.

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For this, Fiix got an interview for a YC fellowship spot, which went smooth for them. The next step was to fly to California from Canada the next day, which the three willingly did.

But this meant that Mangalji had to give up his job at Uber and focus on Fiix instead.

And so far, I bet there is no sign of Mangalji having regrets.

Fiix got $20,000 from the first YCombinator experience and a bunch of Amazon Web Services credits. About a month later, some guy who saw their YC pitch posted about Fiix over Product Hunt. The app easily became the second product of the day on June 6, getting them 6,000% more visits on their site and taking more customers.

Eventually, Fiix closed a $1.8 million round of venture funding after two years of being in the business.

Fighting Cancer

But along the way, Mangalji was faced with a health issue – the 24-year-old had been battling cancer for the past year. While operating Fiix, he had to balance work and health, with the latter as a priority. This meant that the two other Fiix co-founders had to step in for Mangalji’s work.

Photo by Kahlil

“I went in with the attitude, I’m going to be able to do this. As a co-founder, you have to have mental toughness. I thought, if you have a problem, as long as you mentally feel you can overcome it and never let that change, you will,” he told Business Insider.

Now Mangalji shared that the cancer tumor is in retreat and the prognosis for a full recovery is good. This is a good news for him, on top of Fiix becoming a billion-dollar startup.

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Source: Business Insider

Suad Alkhoury

Suad Alkhoury Speaks French, Arabic and English fluently. TV Host at GineersNow TV. Social media geek. Based in Dubai & Beirut. Follow me on Linkedin

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He Battles Cancer While Making His Own Mobile App

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