By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
Those who are active in the Knoxville start-up ecosystem would not be surprised that Haseeb Qureshi would show-up as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) with some organization, but few would guess the sector where he has landed.
Consider that he earned a double major in business and psychology from Carnegie Mellon University, came to Knoxville to attend the University of Tennessee’s College of Law, has a passion for music, is a self-taught coder, and served this past academic year as lead instructor for the Knoxville Chamber’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!).
What’s your guess? If it is anything other than law, you would have been incorrect. Qureshi started in late May as a half-time EIR with the Morehous Legal Group PLLC, a firm well-known in local entrepreneurial circles.
“My focus is business development,” he says. “David (Morehous) says I’m a good doorknocker. I’m kind of like a loaded shotgun,” a reference to his legal knowledge coupled with the challenges of being an entrepreneur.
While 80 percent of his time will be on business development, Qureshi says the remaining 20 percent will involve legal assistance, helping entrepreneurs grow their business.
“I worked with David as one of his clients over the last three years,” he explained. That experience led to the relationship that they have formalized in a new way.
“We’re going to be totally accessible,” Qureshi says of their approach. “We want our clients to know that we are people they can grow their business with.”
While the focus starts with Knoxville, it will expand across the Southeast.
We first met the high-energy, engaging entrepreneur three years ago when he joined the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center’s inaugural “MediaWorks Accelerator” cohort. His company was then known as ArtistGig and has since morphed into Audiohand.
Qureshi has learned a great deal about entrepreneurship through his diverse endeavors during the ensuing three years.
“It’s technology, but not a business yet,” he says of the status of Audiohand. “I now really understand where the market is going and will be spending the next few months validating several strategic partnership opportunities.”
That’s not all that Qureshi has on his plate.
“I’m launching a new brand named That Startup Law Podcast,” he says. It will be a periodic podcast on legal issues, many based on questions he frequently is asked by other entrepreneurs. While the podcast initiative will be sponsored by the Morehous Legal Group, it will be separate from the firm.
And, as if his plate is not already full, Qureshi is getting married in October.
“A lot is happening,” he says in a mild understatement. “What’s really different is I can really see the long-term. I’m energized on a day-to-day basis and very positive about the future.”