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Monthly Archives: April 2015

Companies usually collect, measure, and analyze big data in order to improve their services or create new services that would benefit their customers. Dr. Rand Hindi took this one step further and founded a company that uses big data to help people make the most out of their daily lives.

Hindi is a data scientist who does not only dwell on theory. He once purposely gained weight in order to find out if data he collected about his daily activities could help him drop the pounds he gained. He also created a software which analyzed the data and gave recommendations. The experiment was successful and he is taking data analysis to a whole new level. His company, Paris-based Snips, has created an app that is meant to reduce stress in urban life and aims to make living in the city much more efficient. Using data collected from a variety of sources, the app can recommend better routes to and from work and other information that may be valuable to the user.

Hindi has been into computers since he was a child. He was only 10 years old when he first learned to code. By age 14, he had already founded his first startup and a year later, he already had his very own web development agency. Hindi earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science at the University College London. He went on to get two graduate degrees from Silicon Valley’s Singularity University and THNK in Amsterdam. He returned to the University College London at the age of 21 where he began earning his PhD in Bioinformatics.

His innovative approach to big data has also earned him recognition from the MIT Technology Review, naming him one of the Innovators Under 35 in 2014 and from Forbes Magazine which named him as one of the 30 Under 30 in Consumer Technology in 2015.

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Jan Rezab saw Facebook’s huge potential both as a branding opportunity and as a way to measure the efficacy of advertising programs but it was the Wild West – rough and tough – for marketers in its early days. He then co-founded Socialbakers to bring order to the chaos of Facebook and, thus, to maximize its potentials.

Socialbakers is a social media analytics company that aids brands and their companies monitor and measure their impact on social media sites. It has currently the biggest social media data pool among social media analytics company. It has over 300 employees staffing 11 international offices and handling 2,500 clients including Lenovo, Nestle, and Western Union.

Rezab considers himself a lifelong entrepreneur. He established his first business, Redboss, when he was only 15 years old; he was its CEO and President from February 2002 – July 2008. He is also a co-founder and non-executive board member of Lokola since August 2008 and an investor and board member of Stealth Mode since July 2014.

Azita Ardakani observed that the most challenging part of being immersed in digital technology is maintaining one’s humanity. She then established Lovesocial, a digital marketing and communications agency that applies its “grain of truth” process; the process involves asking questions that help clients like Tory Burch, Nike and Converse understand the value of their core essence and communicating it to their target audiences.

Ardakani asks questions that are commonly asked by therapists to make clients understand their existence. Her approach toward digital marketing is not surprising considering her degree in sociology from the Simon Fraser University.

She established Lovesocial in 2009 with the goal of combining digital technology with the human aspect. She is committed toward strengthening the company’s mandate of formulating, implementing and evaluating authentic marketing strategies for its clients. She is well-known in the industry for her ability to mix profit with a purpose and a passionate attitude.

Ardakani is an overachiever in her own right. She holds the distinction of being the youngest female founder of the benefit corporation model, which combines the positive impact on the environment and society with its profit goals. She is also an advisor to BeeSpace NYC, Hootsuite, and I Am That Girl as well as a mentor at the Tech Stars NYC Columbia University Core Program.

Of course, Ardakani’s most notable achievement so far is the success of Lovesocial. The company is a pioneer in the so-called anti-agency model where it seeks to create clarity and value in branding for its clients.

It has a wide range of influence from the corporate sector to the impact sector with its clients including Tribeca Film Festival, United Nations, and Michael Kors, among others. Its works have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and NY Times.

What’s next for Ardakani? She wants to spread Lovesocial’s philosophy and the world may just welcome it with open arms.

When Mark Daniel started on his Thiel Fellowship in 2013, he was not planning to make shopping a fun activity again. Instead, he wanted to create Status Hawk, an employee communication tool that he soon realized was a terrible idea.

And then inspiration for his innovative app struck and his life has changed since then. Daniel, who dropped out of Babson College, co-developed Strut, an app designed to make shopping for apparel fun again. The app allows its users to browse and buy apparel based on his personal style as well as encourage sharing between friends and make recommendations to others.

Daniel has certainly become a force to reckon with in the digital industry. He has raised approximately $1.5 million in seed funding. His company now has 7 people on board with the team planning to roll out a version 2.0 soon. After all, why stop when there is always room for improvement?

When you are an heiress, you can choose either to wait for your inheritance or make your own mark. Louisa Burch wisely chose the latter by co-founding Trademark, a high-end clothing brand with a focus on minimalist separates and accessories, with her sister Alexandra Burch. The Burch sisters are, after all, the daughters of Christopher Burch, the co-founder of Tory Burch and the founder and CEO of Burch Creative Capital.

Louisa oversees Trademark’s business development, operations, and distribution. Her business ideas have resulted in the company’s combination of wholesale business with retail sales via its flagship store in SoHo and its website. Her business savvy has resulted in early successes for Trademark, which has built a reputation for offering contemporary-priced, largely unadorned yet impeccably tailored pieces for men and women.

The Burch heiress and her sister/business partner have adopted a unique approach: Offering well-designed, well-cut basic pieces that can be mixed and matched in countless stylish combinations to address the wearer’s own personal style. Their concept is just as unique: A uniform with individuality in mind such that the wearer’s everyday style becomes extraordinary.

Louisa may well be an old soul, too. Her Trademark designs are characterized by a 1970s feel while the pieces have a spare aesthetic with distinctive color and geometric patterns.

Her price point also reflects her philosophy of reflecting the way that people actually shop, thus, the $34 to $500 price tags on their jackets, tops and pants as well as personal accessories. Fashionistas highly recommend the Trademark jeans with its perfect fit and high waist design.

If being featured in several glossy fashion magazines on an almost regular basis is a proof of success, then Louisa has certainly arrived in competitive fashion industry under her own steam. While the Torch name has helped – she is the stepdaughter of Tory Burch – she is slowly but surely making her own distinctive mark.

Tanya Menendez, a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, is an achiever. She studied technology and its socioeconomic effects on rural economies at the University of California, San Diego. She also co-authored a book (The Economics of Migration), which was published by the University of California.

But the academe was not her forte. So Menendez soon joined Google Strategy and Integration, the group that provides advice on internal system operations. She also became a Goldman Sachs analyst.

In early 2011, Menendez co-founded Maker’s Row with Matthew Burnett and Scott Weiner. She came up with the innovative idea of creating an online resource that can provide factories in the United States into a single online marketplace, thus, making them more accessible.

The trio then launched Maker’s Row in November 2012. On July 2013, the company announced $1 million in seed funding. Today, the site has approximately 50,000 brands and 5,000 factories – and counting – on board.

Menendez oversees the sales and operations aspects of Maker’s Row.

Carrie Hammer knows firsthand the struggle of finding beautiful yet affordable and practical dresses for women in the workplace. She then launched her eponymous line of customizable clothes that debuted during the 2012 New York Fashion Week, which epitomized her passion for connecting with women on a more realistic level.

Her theme for her fashion debut: Role Models, Not Runway Models. Her models wore beautifully tailored clothes that ordinary women can wear, not to mention that her models included successful women entrepreneurs and CEOs.

Hammer was a career woman before becoming a fashion designer and owner of her own company. She was once an advertising sales executive in various companies, such as Tremor Video, Selectable Media, and Vantage Media. She was often told to dress for the job she wanted in the future, not for the job she already had at present – truly, a tough advice considering the limited selection of contemporary professional women’s clothing.

And thus was Carrie Hammer, the company, born. When she first launched her clothing line, Hammer did not expect it to be such a resounding success but it was both a critical and commercial success. Today, she is considered as one of the foremost designers of beautiful yet affordable and practical clothes and accessories for career women of all ages.

Hammer’s passion is boundless, furthermore, that it extends beyond women’s fashion. She is committed to empowering women in and out of the workplace, thus, her commitment to featuring unlikely models on the runway – or as she calls them, role models. She has been featured on several shows, such as Fox Business News and Good Morning America, as well as numerous publications including Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, and Elle.

Hammer has her fair share of formal education, including a degree in Economics and Women’s Studies from the University of California; a Fashion Business and Marketing degree from the Parsons Paris School of Art and Design; and a certificate in Fashion Law from the Fordham Law School’s Fashion Law Institute.

Many people in the venture capital industry have either entrepreneurial or business management backgrounds. There are, however, a number of people who enter the world of venture capital coming from other industries and are equipped with a different set of skill sets. One of these people is CeCe Cheng, Director of the Dorm Room Fund at First Round Capital, a venture fund run by students which invests in companies founded by student entrepreneurs.

Prior to joining First Round Capital as an associate in 2011, Cheng led the public relations and marketing side of Qwiki, a company that provides automated video productions to its customers. Cheng also honed her public relations skills by working at Dan Klores Communications, a boutique PR agency in New York City. She also worked at former Missouri Senator Kit Bond’s press office in Washington DC.

Cheng graduated from Princeton University with an AB degree in Politics / International Relations and French.