Alumni Spotlight: Hazem Elshorbagy

Hazem Elshorbagy

Houston

Smart Environments

Founder

iFloors tx

Co-founder and Partner

TBHF Alum, Class of 2015

What inspired you to start your business Smart Environments / iFloors tx?

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial streak. As a teenager I would sell used GameBoys and Pokemon cards, tutor students, and even invented a new car steering system. That hustle – that desire to create, was always there. At my high school graduation, one of the speakers talked about the idea of setting “age milestones.” I knew that day my goal would be to start my own business by the time I was 30. I was interested in how to use technology to solve global problems of water, energy and waste. That passion resulted in my engineering and business degrees, ultimately leading me to 10 years of corporate experience across oil and gas, manufacturing and the IoT industries.

During my own time, I would research technology that could improve my home living experience. The home living experience is largely affected by the interiors and technology that occupants interact with daily. Due to COVID, people are spending more time at home and becoming more health and safety conscious than ever before.

As a result, today’s average customer is savvier than before. People are willing to invest in nicer kitchens to motivate them to cook together and eat healthier. Indoor air quality is sought after more than ever due to its long-term health implications. Bathrooms and outdoor areas are being looked at as havens of serenity to decompress. Home theaters are becoming an amenity to wind down and bring the family together. Monitored security systems are the new norm to provide a true sense of safety at home.

After starting Smart Environments for over a year, I realized that I was most successful selling technology to remodeling customers because I’m able to serve as a trusted technology advisor complemented by my talented installation crew. When I learned that Fadi, my business partner, was planning to open a flooring showroom, I saw the opportunity to create a one-stop shopping concept for homeowners and builders.

How did you know it was time to pursue your startup as a full-time business instead of just a side-business? 

When I reached my “age milestone” of 30, I was working for Honeywell as a Business Development Manager. I decided to start Smart Environments, a smart home solutions and installation business, as a part time side job and passion project. After 4 years at Honeywell, I gained solid experience in building automation and when COVID hit, I realized people were adopting technology at a much faster pace. That’s when I knew it was time to go full-time into my business.

How did you meet your business partner and how did you know you would work well together?

I met Fadi at the Palestinian Festival through a friend and colleague at Honeywell. We quickly got a long and shared similar interests in entrepreneurship and life. While I was starting my smart home business, Fadi was also growing his remodeling and general contracting business, so we supported each other along the way. Over time, it became clear that our businesses had the same client base, and the idea of a one-stop shop home remodeling showroom became prominent.

You recently opened your first showroom. Talk to us about that experience and your future goals for the business.

Opening the showroom has been the best part of my young entrepreneurship journey thus far. The start has been extremely difficult and draining, but the process of remodeling the showroom was both a training and manifestation of our business model of a one-stop home improvement shop. Our future goals are opening new branches and penetrating the commercial real estate market; specifically home builders, apartment communities, senior living communities and schools. Our long-term vision is to design and build wellness resort communities with optimal living experiences using innovative building materials and latest technologies.

One of TBHF core values is excellence. How do you define “excellence” in business?

I like to think of excellence as a culture. Excellence is the sum of satisfaction of all business stakeholders. The more happy customers, investors and employees the business has, the better it is doing.

What advice do you have for other early-stage entrepreneurs?

At an early stage, networking is crucial. When you meet other business enthusiasts and mentors, you learn fast and eventually find partners that will help kickstart the business.

How has TBHF helped you in your entrepreneurial journey?

TBHF gave me confidence that I have what it takes to make a positive impact. Beyond the recognition as a 2015 Future Texas Business Legend awardee, I am continually inspired and supported by TBHF’s Executive Leadership, Directors, Legends and the Scholar Alumni Association. Most importantly, TBHF exhibits the culture of servant leadership that I would like to instill in my business.

To learn more about iFloors tx, please visit https://www.ifloorstx.com and give them a follow in Instagram @ifloors_tx.

You can also visit the new showroom, located at: 3532 Hwy 6, Sugar Land, Texas 77478 USA

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