Meet the Founders: Mukesh M. Patel

Mukesh M. Patel

I consider myself quite lucky to be working at JuiceTank – we have great resources, a great location and access to so much expert knowledge here in our coworking space. But the greatest thing about coming in to work here every day is meeting and working side-by-side with some truly incredible people.

Mukesh M. Patel
JuiceTank founder Mukesh M. Patel

Recently, I got the chance to sit down and chat with one such incredible person, JuiceTank founder and serial entrepreneur, Mukesh M. Patel.

Mukesh has had an extremely successful professional career that has ventured into many different industries, and after speaking with him it’s easy to see why he’s had such a tremendous level of success.

We spoke about many areas of his professional life before founding JuiceTank, but the one quality that came through again and again in our conversation was his insatiable desire to always push himself to the next level.

Speaking about his brief foray into the world of lifeguarding for instance, Mukesh recalled, “I didn’t know how to swim, I was terrified because I had almost drowned, and I said, ‘what better way to push myself than to become a lifeguard?'”

He ended up passing the lifeguard certification course despite having had no prior swimming experience, but as I quickly found out, Mukesh is not one to rest on his accomplishments, or spend too much time in any one area of interest.

After graduating from college, his first career was doing econometric work with AT&T, but in the spirit of Elon Musk and other entrepreneurial powerhouses, he found himself taking on as many different jobs in different areas as he could in order to “get the inside track” on those industries.

In speaking about his early careers, Mukesh said, “I was constantly being offered promotions, but I never stayed long enough to take advantage of them. For me it wasn’t about promotions, I never wanted to just be an employee, I wanted to create.”

This desire to learn and create would eventually lead to Mukesh’s large-scale success with entrepreneurial ventures, but his very first venture came when he was only 13.

As a middle-school student growing up here in New Jersey, Mukesh took charge of his school’s store when he saw that the margins on their candy sales were, in his words, “not good enough.” So he went out and found a distribution company in order to increase the margins on sales of candy bars and ultimately raise more funds for his school.

From candy bars, to lifeguarding, to working at Giants stadium, and even expanding a law firm after having only worked there for one year, it became clear for Mukesh that climbing the corporate ladder was not for him, saying, “I’d get bored if I was in any one thing for too long and I was no longer learning.”

Fast-forward through almost two decades of learning, creating, and entrepreneurial ventures and we arrive at a monumental figure: $40 million in equity raised over the course of his entrepreneurial career. What others may view as an exit point however, is more of a beginning for the next phase in Mukesh’s professional career.

Upon exiting his last venture, Mukesh was influenced by the emergence of incubators and innovation labs in places like San Francisco and New York City, and so he decided to bring his resources and expertise back to his roots and create an entrepreneurial community here in New Jersey.

The creation of JuiceTank, says Mukesh, was borne out of a desire to tap into the talent that exists in New Jersey and leave a lasting legacy by helping to create a culture of entrepreneurship.

But there is also a more personal motivation on Mukesh’s part as well. One of the key missions of JuiceTank is to provide younger entrepreneurs with professional, deliberate mentorship, something that Mukesh never had when he was growing up.

Mukesh frames the idea of mentorship as such: “If you had quality mentors when you were growing up, what could be? And the other concept that drives me is, if you knew then what you know now, what could you have accomplished?”

Already, his initiatives to provide young, New Jersey entrepreneurs with mentorship have had incredible success. Last summer, Mukesh organized a conference for 160 local high school and college students that featured speeches from high level executives at ABC, American Express, and even an Q&A session with an NFL player.

The result? According to parents of the students who attended the conference, their children have since made tremendous strides towards achieving their goals both inside and outside of the classroom because of the inspiration they received from the business leaders who participated in the conference.

The success of that conference became the starting point for what Mukesh calls “social entrepreneurship” – the intersection of business and philanthropy.

“Social entrepreneurship is where you can do business for profit and set aside a percentage of the profits to launch non-profits, do charitable work, foster mentorship, and give funding to those who need it. It’s self-sustaining and we’ll never have to ask for money, and we can use our profits to do good.”

On that note we wrapped up our conversation, but not before Mukesh took the opportunity to follow-through on his goal of providing mentorship to those around him, and giving me some of the best advice I’ve ever received from anyone – which I’ll have to save for another blog post.

If you want to find out more about Mukesh and his business goals, take a look at his bio on our Team page and also check out the Reddit AMA (ask me anything) that he did a few months back.

The level of detail and care that he took when answering questions from and giving advice to complete strangers in that AMA (which he did for seven hours non-stop!) is a testament to his vision of social entrepreneurship and a world where business and philanthropy can go hand-in-hand.