Member Spotlight: Masoud Bassiri
Member Spotlight: Masoud Bassiri
“You have to have that fire in the belly. That fire is an energy and the source of it is passion—passion about anything that you want to become an entrepreneur for.”
That’s Masoud Bassiri’s advice to budding entrepreneurs—as well as his guiding mantra through life. That fire in the belly for him was always a deep desire to innovate and find creative solutions to problems and issues—fuelled by a curious mind from a young age. “Ever since I was six or seven years old, I used to take apart every appliance in the house, and put them back together,” Bassiri recalls with a mischievous glee at how it used to upset his mother as the appliances were mostly new. He attributes a lot of his zeal to his industrial engineer grandfather, who used to take Bassiri and his sister along to exhibitions and expositions — thereby “industrialising” them in their minds when they were just 10 to 12 years of age.
“You know, I’m 57 years old. So it’s not all about profits anymore and how to make returns on investment. Now it’s like, while we’re making money, can we make a difference?
Raised in the state of Indiana, USA, Bassiri graduated in software engineering from Purdue University and began his career writing code for operating systems, which were, back then, just brilliant ideas that were getting jump-started. Then, the telecommunications industry came calling. His stint with Motorola—and incidentally, what brought him to Singapore in 1991—made him part of a team that did the coding for the first and early generation of mobile phones, which set the ball rolling for a string of patents that Bassiri has to his name today. In many ways, his early career ventures helped uncover Bassiri’s innate nature to always think out of the box. Soon, Bassiri found himself saying “yes” to a role in the American telecom giant’s regional base in Singapore as head of its technical and systems division.
It was a bold call, considering Singapore was completely foreign to him—it wasn’t even on his radar at that time. But that apart, to say Bassiri’s immersion into Singapore was unlike most would not be an overstatement. Bassiri moved to Nortel Networks, becoming part of a team that was responsible for Singapore’s first digital network—and first-time systems of that calibre in the world—as well as the installation of a full mobile network in Singapore. So, if ever you need a lifeline in a quiz competition on Singapore’s telecommunications systems, you know whom to call.
Singapore was also ripe grounds for Bassiri to start his entrepreneurial journey. “I came to Singapore in 1991. So, quite a bit of the infrastructure you see today was not there at that time. But it struck me as a very well-positioned country with good resources, regional opportunities and engineering talent (some of whom he still works with in different capacities),” he says. Today, Bassiri is what one would call a serial entrepreneur, having a foot in a variety of industries, including healthcare under Jasper Capital, which he co-owns with friends. In August this year, the company, in partnership with New Jersey-based Angel Medical Systems Inc., launched a one-of-a-kind implantable cardiac monitoring device called Guardian® system. The device has the ability to detect a heart attack as early as two minutes from its formation, as well as any symptoms of it by initiating alarms whenever it finds any anomalies in heart function.
Four patients in Singapore were the first in the world to successfully receive the implants—renowned cardiologist Dato Dr Leslie Lam and a team at Farrer Hospital performed the medical procedures.
From a purely technical world and profit-based viewpoint to ventures tuned towards saving lives was almost a natural progression for Bassiri. “You know, I’m 57 years old. So it’s not all about profits anymore and how to make returns on investment,” he admits. “Now it’s more like, while we’re making money, can we make a difference?” In the same vein, there’s a change in direction post-COVID-19 from a predominantly lifestyle focus as well. “It used to be about enhancing the quality of life, but now my venture focus circles around life’s neccesities,” adds Bassiri. When it comes to his personal life, that “necessity” involves taking time to enjoy the good things in life.
Today, Bassiri and his wife are also savouring the island life at ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove—since their three grown-up children are well on their way to charting successful careers themselves. An avid golfer, Bassiri spent a good part of Circuit Breaker indulging some of his other favourite pastimes as well—watching movies, savouring good wine and grilling up a storm on his balcony with a view of the yachts in the marina.
“The lifestyle at Sentosa has very unique features. First of all, you have a resort lifestyle. Second, commute to the central business district is just two lights, ” he enthuses. And, as one would expect to hear from a self-professed foodie, he throws in a bit of trivia—“most people don’t realise that from VivoCity inwards into Sentosa, there are about 400 restaurants within to choose from.” “I think a lot about different ideas,” says Bassiri in closing, adding that to his list of favourite pastimes.
And that’s proof enough that he is nowhere close to retiring to domestic bliss—an upcoming venture and equally remarkable future launch should prove that.