“I trained as a scientist and realized I needed to do something that created a product that would make a difference in people’s lives.” Sahin explained.
Sahin says he has been Boston-based for most of his life, receiving his Master’s and PhD. at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Medical School, respectively. During this time, he also did clinical research at the medical school and at Mass. General Hospital.
He ventured out of the area for four years to do his post-doc in San Diego, Calif., where he started exploring business and entrepreneurship. After his time in San Diego, Sahin traveled to 23 countries with no phone in one year. “My wife and I sold everything, took off and left our phones in America and went everywhere else,” the avid traveler explained.
It was on this trip and upon his return to the U.S. that he came up with the foundational ideas for his future startup, Brain Power. Before developing the company, which produces an augmented-reality wearable for those on the autism spectrum to teach themselves social-emotional skills in a series of games, Sahin said he wanted to create an impact, but had many ideas — “maybe too many ideas.”
After talking to those on the spectrum, he further solidified the idea of helping people with autism in ways that were “uniquely possible” and practical because of modern-day technology. “It related to the complaints people gave me about life on the autism spectrum and wanting to build towards happier self sufficiency.”
“Smiles — unique, new smiles that these children display to their parents that they’ve never seen before,” are the most rewarding parts of the CEO’s experience.
When he isn’t working, Sahin is planning even more trips abroad. In the future, he and his wife plan to visit areas including Thailand, Colombia, Poland, and Germany.
James Gardner, Pamela Bump, Olivia Tardif, Sarah Schroeder and Shreya Iyer all contributed to this year’s 40 Under 40. Learn more about their work in the “About the Authors” section!
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