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Inspiring Innovators: Leanne Kemp Founder and CEO of Everledger, On Transparency

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Inspiring Innovators: Neha Singh Founder and CEO of Obsess, On Listening to Your Gut

At SAP.iO, we work with innovative people and new technologies that positively impact our world every day, and we think it’s time to share their stories with you! In our series, “Inspiring Innovators,” we get to hear how leaders of cutting-edge startup technologies overcame, thrived, and pursued their goals. SAP.iO’s Alexa Gorman sat down to discuss the road to success and lessons learned with some of our most inspiring startup founders.

Meet Neha Singh

Her unique path to entrepreneurship included combining her experiences with her ability to listen to her instincts and trust herself to know what to do. Neha Singh combined her love of fashion with her knowledge of technology to create something entirely new for the market, finding her right fit as the Founder and CEO of Obsess.

Neha studied computer science during undergrad and then attended MIT for her masters. Her appreciation for computer science gave her a way to build the things she imagined, prizing the logical aspect of how inputting a set of instructions can result in predictable outcomes. Her accomplishments are many; for Google, she was on the team that created the first dashboard for Google Ad Words. She then spent time on Google News which she described as an amazing learning experience. At this point, she realized she liked the product side, specifically figuring out how to build something and defining it based on how users interact with it.

Neha took fashion design classes discovering she would excel on the technology side of fashion. When she joined an eCommerce marketplace startup, she realized that all eCommerce sites look the same and have a grid-of-thumbnails database interface. This was because that’s the template the eCommerce platforms provide brands and retailers to showcase their products.

After that experience, Neha was the Head of Product at Vogue and worked on projects for launching the Vogue digital properties, including Vogue.com and Vogue Runway. She saw how much luxury brands were struggling with their online eCommerce experience and especially their mobile experience.

As more brands move online and look to differentiate their experience to engage consumers, Neha knew things had to change. To spearhead this effort, Neha launched Obsess in 2017, creating the next-generation eCommerce interface for today’s consumers. Obsess is a Metaverse Shopping Platform that enables brands and retailers to create highly interactive, visual, and branded Virtual Stores on their websites and metaverse platforms. The Obsess platform creates HD-quality, beautiful, photorealistic 3D 360 experiences that increase awareness, engagement, and conversion. Her team combines expertise in platform engineering, consumer web, mobile tech, fashion, e-commerce, gaming, and 3D. Obsess customers include Coach, Ralph Lauren, Charlotte Tilbury, Mattel, General Mills, and NBC Universal among others.

“When your entire brand gets reduced to four to six thumbnails on a mobile screen, you cannot translate the brand experience you are creating in retail stores, fashion shows, and events, into a digital shopping format. That’s when I understood the need in the market for a better digital shopping experience.”

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Inspiring Innovators: Chicko Sousa Founder of GreenPlat, On No Time for Waste

At SAP.iO, we work with innovative people and new technologies that positively impact our world every day, and we think it’s time to share their stories with you! In our series, “Inspiring Innovators,” we get to hear how leaders of cutting-edge startup technologies overcame, thrived, and pursued their goals. SAP.iO’s Alexa Gorman sat down to discuss the road to success and lessons learned with some of our most inspiring startup founders.

Meet Chicko Sousa

It has been said that Chico Sousa is a Mechanical Engineer by choice, but a specialist in the acceleration of clean production by nature aptly sums up his journey to entrepreneurship. Starting as a mechanical engineer working for Volvo, Chicko was assigned to projects that produced scrap materials needing to be recycled or reimagined. He left Volvo after successfully managing those projects to start a company that built recycling plants in Brazil, creating 13 new plants over 11 years before selling his company in 2013. He then came to Sao Paulo to help the municipality with public projects, generating environmental improvements in the fight against CO2 emissions and plastic use.

From there, Chicko created a YouTube series where he did interviews inside garbage trucks, much like Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”, to raise recycling awareness. The wild success of this web series helped increase the municipality’s recycling rates significantly but created new issues. They started to see problems with permits as they began selling the recycled materials. At this time, Chicko realized a need to control and manage information to produce the proper flow of materials for licensed recycling and founded the company GreenPlat in 2016.

Working with recycling technologies for over 20 years and with software for almost ten years, Chicko created GreenPlat, a clean production SaaS, which today has more than 690,000 companies registered on the platform. Since 2018, GreenPlat has been a part of the World Economic Forum in the Pioneering Technology category, as they were the first company to use blockchain technology for waste traceability. So far, 1 million tons of waste have been managed through their software; all disposed of correctly without polluting the environment. This means a cleaner and healthier environment for all and for businesses, increased visibility into recycling, compliance, and traceability.

“I think this is a worldwide situation where people are done talking and ready to act. We can see this movement, and it is encouraging. We are ready for action; there is no time for waste.”

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Inspiring Innovators: Taro Sasaki CEO and Founder of Hacobu, On being a little ‘crazy.’

At SAP.iO, we work with innovative people and new technologies that positively impact our world every day, and we think it’s time to share their stories with you! In our series, “Inspiring Innovators,” we get to hear how founders, CEOs, and presidents of cutting-edge startup technologies overcame, thrived, and pursued their goals. SAP.iO’s Alexa Gorman sat down to discuss the road to success and lessons learned with some of our most inspiring startup founders.

Meet Taro Sasaki

Taro Sasaki has always enjoyed inventing things, even from a very young age. It is no surprise that his path led him to entrepreneurship, where he uses his love of discovery and educational training to create new businesses. With a background in consulting, Taro decided he wanted a more international perspective, so he attended business school in the United States. After spending two years in the States as a consultant, he returned to Japan, where a colleague shared an opportunity for him to be the CEO of a new beauty discovery eCommerce platform. His next steps led him to launch a new company that also provided goods in the food industry. With a taste for entrepreneurship, Taro decided that he wanted to launch a business that would look to solve problems that could make a difference in his community.

With this goal in mind, Taro Sasaki founded Hacobu. Hacobu developed MOVO, a cloud-based integrated logistics solution and operations management system utilizing in-vehicle terminals. It allows users to connect with carriers and shipping companies online. The platform accumulates distribution data from various companies to optimize the physical distribution system. In doing so, saving time, money, and providing data for properly sourcing suppliers to make the process running efficiently for the end users in communities both small and large. Toyota Industries Corporation, Nestle, and Unilever are just a few companies that utilize Hacobu’s innovative technology.

“It is hard to be an entrepreneur because if you think too logically, you might not take the risk and miss something. You must apply some logic, be smart, but also something you need to be a little crazy.”

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Inspiring Innovators: Riana Lynn CEO and Founder of Journey Foods, On being a serial entrepreneur

At SAP.iO, we work with innovative people and new technologies that positively impact our world every day, and we think it’s time to share their stories with you! In our series, “Inspiring Innovators,” we get to hear how founders, CEOs, presidents of cutting-edge startup technologies overcame, thrived, and pursued their goals. SAP.iO’s Alexa Gorman sat down to discuss the road to success and lessons learned with some of our most inspiring startup founders.

Meet Riana Lynn

Starting as a biology student in college building websites on the side, Riana Lynn was unknowingly launching her journey as a serial entrepreneur. Even as a kid, she knew she wanted to work on health issues to impact her community positively. Using her background in biology, she took an interest in larger food systems and how food affects our chronic diseases. Coming from a family of food entrepreneurs and farmers, it was no surprise that Riana’s first food company became one of the top juice bars in the country. After this accomplishment, she had the opportunity to work at the White House and even spent some time in Silicon Valley working for Google.

With all this experience to pull from, Riana set her sights on a new horizon, developing solutions that solve food science and supply chain inefficiencies. Riana shared with us that consumers spend $3 trillion a year on packaged foods and that research shows evidence that eating packaged foods is related to the increase in chronic diseases and poor mental health. Confident that we could change these problems with better science and data tools, Riana founded Journey Foods.

Journey Foods is a portfolio intelligence and lifecycle management software for food development and innovation. Their approach puts nutrition and sustainability at the forefront of product development, helping formulate products according to specific consumer and company goals. To further their impressive progress, Journey Foods builds integrations with companies like SAP to drive widespread impact quickly.

“I work on solving the most significant problems in food that effect my family, our communities, and the world.”

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Inspiring Innovators: Chris Motley Founder & CEO Mentor Spaces, On remembering “Who do you do this for?”

At SAP.iO, we work with innovative people and new technologies that positively impact our world every day, and we think it’s time to share their stories with you! In our series, “Inspiring Innovators,” we get to hear how founders, CEOs, and presidents of cutting-edge startup technologies overcame, thrived, and pursued their goals. SAP.iO’s Alexa Gorman sat down to discuss the road to success and lessons learned with some of our most inspiring startup founders.

Meet Chris

Chris Motley grew up on the South Side of Chicago and was fortunate to be a part of organizations that helped put him on a path to access educational opportunities. That access led to graduation from Columbia University with a B.A. in History, and the Kellogg School of Management, with an MBA in Entrepreneurship. Chris founded a global textile manufacturing business where he spent six years leading its expansion into Ghana, Africa, and building its apparel division.

When we asked Chris about what he wanted to be when he grew up, he smiled and listed all the things he thought he might be, ranging from a basketball player to a judge. The takeaway was that Chris wanted to be the things he was exposed to as a child. What he saw, the people he met, and his connections contributed to his journey and gave him a unique way of looking at the world. He would come to learn how important all this was, and it would guide his future focus and desire to give back.

Previously, Chris spent four years at Goldman Sachs as a Commodities and Interest Rate product trader. Upon reflection on his journey, he thought about what people do when they are not exposed or have access to the same opportunities he was afforded. How do you reach your potential if you are not exposed to opportunities? How does one find support, mentors, and resources to learn about what could be?

When Chris asked these questions, he realized there was a need to provide these resources on a much larger scale. After learning a lot on Wall Street and building a company in Ghana, now was the time to launch Mentor Spaces to address the need in the marketplace for mentorship of underrepresented populations. Mentor Spaces is a venture-backed, community-driven mentorship platform designed to help companies scale DEI efforts while advancing the careers of underrepresented talent. The platform facilitates career conversations between employees and prospective candidates to streamline diverse talent acquisition and retention. This technology allows you to have conversations with people who can help you get where you want to go.

“What I found as we did a tremendous amount of research, in addition to my personal story, was that part of the issue is a lack of confidence among underrepresented populations, and part of that lack of confidence is driven by simply not knowing people and vetted resources that would help. We concluded that mentorship is a good way to build confidence and expand one’s network, and what’s unique about our approach is that we look at mentorship as a strategy that helps our customers accomplish their goals. Most companies have shifted to focus on a strategy around talent attraction, advancement, and retention.”

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Inspiring Innovators: Paula Paw Co-CEO of VersaFleet, On Being Tenacious

At SAP.iO, we work with innovative people and new technologies that positively impact our world every day, and we think it’s time to share their stories with you! In our series, “Inspiring Innovators,” we get to hear how founders, CEOs, and presidents of cutting-edge startup technologies overcame, thrived, and pursued their goals. SAP.iO’s Alexa Gorman sat down to discuss the road to success and lessons learned with some of our most inspiring startup founders.

Meet Paula Paw

Just four days after submitting her last exam paper, Paula Paw was offered a job at VersaFleet. Paula joined VersaFleet as a pioneering team member and played a central role in its growth journey. Graduating from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Arts and Social Sciences, she started her career at VersaFleet in Sales and Marketing. Over the course of 6 years, she was promoted to Senior Sales Executive, Regional Sales Manager, Head of Sales Strategy & Operations Planning, and now leads the company as Co-Chief Executive Officer.

VersaFleet is a transport management software that optimizes route plans and fully digitalizes supply chains, all the way to the last mile. At VersaFleet, Paula now focuses on accelerating VersaFleet’s growth and synchronizing essential company functions, from sales & marketing, product design, and engineering, to finance and people operations. The company’s mission is to provide technology for all transporters — in any industry, market, or country. They built VersaFleet in hopes that the technology would enable the unsung heroes of logistics to get home in time for dinner.

“The goal for the coming years is to establish a stronger market presence so that we can serve the brands that face difficult challenges. When we help them, it will have a trickle-down effect, and the drivers will ultimately benefit; we are hoping to create a better work-life balance.”

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Inspiring Innovators: Daniela Schiffer Co-founder & CEO of Changers.com on nerves of steel

At SAP.iO, we work with innovative people and new technologies that positively impact our world every day, and we think it’s time to share their stories with you! In our series, “Inspiring Innovators,” we get to hear how founders, CEOs, presidents of cutting-edge startup technologies overcame, thrived, and pursued their goals. SAP.iO’s Alexa Gorman sat down to discuss the road to success and lessons learned with some of our most inspiring startup founders.

Meet Daniela Schiffer

Daniela Schiffer started studying art and worked as an artist until 2007 with the hope that art would be a tool she could use to influence change in society. After some time, she realized to achieve her goals she would need to find another way to influence behavior change. Working with an advertising agency doing a lot of communication primarily for high tech and renewable energy companies, she saw a different path forward. Daniela grew changers.com to address the issue of behavior change in terms of climate control, looking to incentivize and motivate sustainable and healthy behavior. Not a small undertaking by any means, this task takes perseverance and, at times, nerves of steel.

Today, Daniela Schiffer is Co-founder and CEO of Changers.com, a company that looks to change behavior through its CO2 Fit app. This app motivates employees to use a bicycle instead of a car, walk more often, use public transport, and participate in eco-friendly and healthy activities. Here employees learn more about waste reduction, healthy nutrition, energy-saving, and address green mobility. Changers is doing so by building an ecosystem for climate currency, meaning that by saving CO2, you earn climate coins to spend in their marketplace for products and services with partners. Changers was recognized as a EUPD TOP BRAND in workplace health promotion and by the Solarimpulse Foundation for efficient climate protection.

“I want to motivate people, not by showing them all the threats to the future, but by showing them how they can positively impact change by simple changes in behavior.”

Read more and watch highlights of Alexa and Daniela’s discussion here

Inspiring Innovators: Dustin Feld Co-Founder & Managing Director of adiutaByte on turning science into solutions

At SAP.iO, we work with innovative people and new technologies that positively impact our world every day, and we think it’s time to share their stories with you! In our series, “Inspiring Innovators,” we get to hear how founders, CEOs, presidents of cutting-edge startup technologies overcame, thrived, and pursued their goals. SAP.iO’s Alexa Gorman sat down to discuss the road to success and lessons learned with some of our most inspiring startup founders.

Meet Dustin Feld

When he was a child, Dustin Feld loved computers. He started programing before he learned another language, using his family’s old computer. “I can honestly say I wanted to grow up to be what I am today,” Dustin said, reflecting on what he thought he would be when he grew up.

Dustin studied mathematics and computer science at the University of Cologne, specializing in graph theory and layout, discrete mathematics, and numerics. Calling himself a “professional nerd,” Dustin focuses on efficient implementation and development of algorithms — especially mathematical optimization algorithms — in time-critical scenarios. He spent 10 years as a research assistant at Fraunhofer Institute for Algorithms and Scientific Computing, then a Ph.D. student, and finally as a Post-Doc & Senior Scientist. This path set Dustin up perfectly to take on the role of algorithm lead and managing director of adiutaByte.

At adiutaByte he is responsible for the algorithmic backends and the algorithm design architecture. adiutaByte develops optimization algorithms for tour and personnel planning, digitizing processes, and reducing planning time and costs. The platform combines the best of both worlds: specialized human knowledge with algorithmic strength in mathematical optimization. A notable adiutaByte customer is the City of Berlin, which uses the technology for waste disposal and recycling, relying on adiutaByte for their optimization and powerful AI.

“We saw this crisis in the healthcare industry and knew our solution was really unique, patented worldwide, and has something special that can help in high tech areas like CPU manufacturing and here in the healthcare sector. And that’s how we started, with four founders, in one office, and with no clients, but with this inspiring core technology.”

Read more and watch highlights of Dustin and Alexa’s discussion here.

 

Inspiring Innovators: Rashi Gupta Co-Founder and Chief Data Scientist Rezo.ai, On Wearing Multiple Hats

At SAP.iO, we work with innovative people and new technologies that positively impact our world every day, and we think it’s time to share their stories with you! In our series, “Inspiring Innovators,” we get to hear how founders, CEOs, presidents of cutting-edge startup technologies overcame, thrived, and pursued their goals. SAP.iO’s Alexa Gorman sat down to discuss the road to success and lessons learned with some of our most inspiring startup founders.

Meet Rashi Gupta

Earning her PhD from the University of Helsinki for data science, Rashi Gupta’s experience equips her for her role as an entrepreneur. Co-Founder and Chief Data Scientist at Rezo.ai, she finds herself taking on multiple functions. Rashi focuses on data science, but she also plays a significant role in sales as the product is very analytical and she thrives on pitching the product. If that’s not all, she currently assists with deliveries, among other tasks. She embodies the idea that you have to wear multiple hats on your journey to entrepreneurial success as a founder. In doing so, she is well on her way to becoming a disruptor in the contact center industry.

Rezo’s AI-Powered Contact Center augments human agents by automating repetitive processes, allowing them to focus on high-value tasks and enhancing customer experience. Rashi founded Rezo.ai with her husband, Manish Gupta, who she says challenges her every day, “he has pushed me beyond what I thought I was capable of, he always encourages me to make the next right move. You need someone to push you, and that helped us get to the next level.” Rashi credits that support and their teamwork at Rezo as part of the reason for their success.

“I was working with a large contact center, and I saw how things happened on the floor. With limited information about the end customers, the callers use to drive conversations taking time while details are checked on multiple 3rd party systems. This led to delay and frustration at the customers end, there was a clear need for process automation. That’s when I realized it was time to elevate the customer experience to the next level.”

Read more and watch highlights of Rashi and Alexa’s discussion here.

 

Inspiring Innovators: Christine Moon President & Co-Founder of BlueSpace on Staying Curious

At SAP.iO, we work with innovative people and new technologies that positively impact our world every day, and we think it’s time to share their stories with you! In our series, “Inspiring Innovators,” we get to hear how founders, CEOs, presidents of cutting-edge startup technologies overcame, thrived, and pursued their goals. SAP.iO’s very own Alexa Gorman sat down to discuss the road to success and lessons learned with some of our most inspiring startup founders. Today we spent time with Christine Moon of BlueSpace to discuss how she used curiosity as a guide throughout her entrepreneurial journey.

Meet Christine Moon

Christine Moon is a perfect example of when life takes you to a fork in the road to look at it as an opportunity. Born in South Korea, she moved to the US as a child for her dad’s work. Not able to speak English and a new culture shook up her world, and she started to look at life differently as she learned new customs. A short time later, her family moved back to South Korea, and she faced another period of readjustment. The influence of other cultures allowed Christine to be curious and learn to enjoy the ride.

In 2019, her world changed once more. Apple purchased the company where Christine was working. As part of her curious nature, she sat back and asked herself, ‘what have we learned? What do we wish we had?’ the answer to that question was certainty. She wanted the certainty to safely deploy software that allows an autonomous system to “see” the velocity of all objects in all directions and scale it across geographies. This question led to a very different approach and inspired her to start a new company, BlueSpace.

Today, Christine Moon is president and Co-founder of BlueSpace, a company leveraging 4D sensors to provide a safety layer for self-driving vehicles. Their dynamic predictive perception software allows an autonomous system to “see” the velocity of all objects in all directions and won them the 2021 NASA iTech Cycle I award. Starting with Christine’s quest for certainty, they built a company that enables safety performance independent of any training data, a technology that allows for immediate reaction to new objects and scenarios.

“Be curious, and this is what I would share with my children or anyone who wants to think about this entrepreneurial journey and take the critical approach. Don’t be afraid to take a different approach to think outside of what you’re used to come up with a solution.”

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