Mouna Elkhatib is the CEO, CTO, and Co-Founder of AONDevices, Inc, a leader in edge AI for speech, sound, and sensor fusion. Mouna managed the formation of AONDevices, growing the team locally and internationally.
An industry expert in voice and audio processing, she architected and led the development of the AONDevices product line and won multiple agreements with tier 1 semiconductor companies.
Prior to AONDevices, Mouna architected and led the development of industry leading voice and audio semiconductor solutions for smartphones, PCs, smart speakers, and Internet of Things (IoT) at Qualcomm and Conexant.
Mouna is an active member of a number of industry organizations, serves on the Global Semiconductor Alliance Women’s Leadership Council, runs the WLI Entrepreneurial Committee, and contributes to the advancement of Edge AI. She holds an engineering degree from Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Electricité et de Mécanique (ENSEM), eleven US patents and eleven pending patents.
What excites you about entrepreneurship?
- Solving a problem that I am obsessed about
- Knowing that my product will be used by people around the world, helping them in their daily lives
- Architecting the company, including the formation, the business plan definition, and building a team committed to the mission and vision of the company.
- The freedom of innovation and the fast pace of execution (unlike in big companies)
What do you think are the most common mistakes novice entrepreneurs make? How can they avoid making them?
- The most common mistakes that novice entrepreneurs make is focusing too much on what to do rather than why doing it like identifying a real problem to solve.
- Then focusing on technology and perfecting it rather than customer needs and why the product will make a difference.
- They can avoid some of the mistakes by building relationships with customers and ecosystem partners that generously share industry experience and knowledge of the ecosystem, provide sound advice and market data.
What outside resources were helpful for you? Business incubators, SCORE, etc.?
- Industry connections
- Customer connections
- Business Incubators
- Advisors and Mentors
- SBA (Small Business Administration)
What have you learned about leadership, entrepreneurship and mentoring others?
- Your motivation should be a passion and obsession to solve a problem, this will help you overcome obstacles
- I can learn from my mistakes; it is how we grow and make things better
- It is ok to ask for help when needed
- Value your team. Provide work that is challenging. Help them, train them, make them feel ownership. Create an environment of inclusion, transparency and open communication. Celebrate each other’s victories.
What specific advice would you have for young women who would like to become entrepreneurs?
- Identify a problem that bugs you and you want to solve for the world
- Focus on how your product will help people rather than the immediate daily problems
- Persevere – don’t let obstacles stop you, keep moving and find your way no matter what
- Think out of the box. There is always a solution!
- Know when to ask for help and surround yourself with a supporting team
Questions for Mouna? Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org