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11.5.13 5 questions with Omer Kiyani of Sentinl

Omer Kiyani is the founder of Sentinl and a graduate of TechTown’s Venture Accelerator.

What’s your business?

Sentinl is in the business of saving lives and ridding America of gun violence. We bring together Michigan’s heritage of innovation, ingenuity and tradition to redefine Michigan and America’s future as more secure and safer. We do this by designing and manufacturing American-made gun safety accessories that allow owners quick access when needed

Why are you proud of it?

I’m proud of Sentinl for multiple reasons. First, the gun debate is a hot-button issue in America, but Sentinl’s IdentiLock offers a solution that addresses concerns of both sides. We protect children by securing guns while allowing quick access during stressful situations.

Also, according to a New York Times article from Sept. 29, 847 children die each year due to accidental gun discharges. IdentiLock looks to rid us of this scourge.

Finally, I’m proud of our Michigan heritage. We’ve got the perfect balance of gun owners and non-owners to comprehend the problem from both angles, we’ve got the engineering talent to develop the solution, the design talent to convey it and the manufacturing talent to deliver it.

What’s your best advice for a fellow entrepreneur?

I believe the ability to do a lot of things at once makes or breaks a venture. Each problem requires its own unique solution, but the secret sauce is focus. Nothing gets done without focus, but how do you focus on the million different issues of work, family, health and relationships when everything is intertwined? This is my struggle, so I compartmentalize my thoughts and time into blocks where I focus only on the task at hand.

What local entrepreneur do you look up to and why?

There are so many people I look up to, but I’ll limit it for sake of space.

Alyssa Martina of Metro Parent is known for marketing, but I look up to her for the support she gives to metro Detroit’s entrepreneurs. She’s definitely one of the best assets we have. Another fantastic entrepreneur that I look up to is John Swiatek, the CEO of Coliant Corporation, for his connection with his customers. Knowing the customer allows him to build what his customers will want in the future, which is the same skill Steve Jobs is known for.

What do you do when you need a mental break?

My favorite mental break is taking a long trail run. It allows me cleanse my body and mind and allows me to think while enjoying the beautiful Michigan outdoors. Another approach is volunteering for variety of causes. It’s a great mental break because it allows me to realign my perspective, and it comes with the charming enthusiasm of giving back.