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GlobePreneurs Win: How Intrinio is Making a Difference in FinTech

Rachel Carpenter is the Co-Founder and CEO of Intrinio (www.home.intrinio.com) – a disruptive financial data and analytics firm based in St. Petersburg, FL. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BBA in both Finance and Management/Human Resources and minors in Spanish and European Studies. Rachel gained experience in HR, marketing, digital marketing strategies and digital advertising and managing teams through positions with Epic Systems Corporation (a healthcare software firm), UW-Madison and the Tampa Bay Lightning/Storm. She is an advanced front end web developer who created Intrinio with her CoFounder from scratch. Recently Hon. Pauline Truong (www.PaulineTruong.com) had discussions with Rachel regarding how Intrinio plans to make a positive difference in the financial data and analytics arena.

GlobePreneurs (GP): What are Intrinio’s aim and objectives?

Rachel Carpenter (RC): At Intrinio we leverage our proprietary standardization engine to provide a marketplace of open, flexible and affordable financial data feeds that power everything from websites to spreadsheets to quant models. We’ve eliminated seat licenses, redistribution fees, high prices, and all the restrictions that have made a commoditized product a premium one in a very ‘broken’ system.

GP: What makes you feel so passionate about Intrinio?

RC: The financial industry is very ‘broken’, and it’s arguably an industry that lags the most in innovation and technological advancement. Intrinio drives down into the core of the data that runs this industry and is solving problems from the bottom up. It’s incredibly rewarding to see how much value we can create in making this information accessible and affordable.

GP: How is Intrinio different from other ‘Fintech’ companies?

RC: What’s ‘sexy’ in Fintech right now are the consumer facing applications (roboadvisors, payments, etc.). What we do at Intrinio isn’t ‘sexy’ to most people. It’s raw data. It’s an open API, but we’re making it clean, easy, affordable and very accessible. It’s the backbone that is powering a lot of the ‘sexy’ apps in Fintech, and it’s the ‘lifeblood’ of the analysis that powers investment decisions.

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GP: What do you see as the biggest challenge for Fintech startups in the coming years?

RC: Besides typical regulatory challenges and the fact that valuations have gotten out of control and funding will be tougher, I think if we experience a recessionary scenario we’re going to find that investors and consumers will trust technology a whole lot less and will seek the comfort of professionals and traditional banking/investment systems.

GP: What is your advice for women who want to create startups in Fintech?

RC: Being the minority can be a power (not a curse) if you choose to view it that way. Know that you are a better communicator, more empathetic, and more comfortable with vulnerability, and therefore feedback and self improvement. Capitalize off of the fact that people are going to underestimate you and you’ll surprise them. It’s unfortunate we’re still dealing with this dynamic, but leverage those moments and remember that being different is your strength.

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GlobePreneurs Win: iSportconnect Makes a Difference in Sports Tech

Sree Varma (‘SV’) is 38 years old and lives in London. He is married with two children and has an MBA in Marketing. As a migrant to the U.K. from India with his family, Sree learned the importance of hard work. He worked conscientiously while his peers were partying. After seeing an opportunity to connect people in the sports arena, spending six month’s on a friend’s couch and a long period of research, he started iSportsconnect. Today iSportsconnect holds exclusive invitation-only events around the world for leaders in the business of sport. Hon Pauline Truong had interesting discussions with Sree Varma on how he is making a difference in sports relationships.

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GlobePreneurs (‘GP’): Can you share with us the story of how your family came to the U.K.?

SV: My family came to the U.K. from the southern part of India. When I say that we came with very little, I really mean next to nothing. We had 150 pounds in our pocket and that was it. We stayed in a room in a house with another two Indian families and we ate once a day until we started earning. I guess you could say that it’s the classic immigrant story. It taught me a lot from a young age about the importance of hard work. I paid off my university fees by developing websites for local shops when my all friends were out partying hard in the evenings and on the weekends. I’m still like that. I don’t take anything for granted. There’s no substitute for hard work.

GP: What was your inspiration for starting and launching iSportconnect?

SV: I worked in the publishing business and I became involved in the world of Formula 1 as a publisher. I saw what was happening with digital communities and I saw the business of sport growing and becoming more global and I decided to put them together. I didn’t just dive in. There was a long period of research and consultation. I saw that there were a lot of people in important positions who were desperate for a way to communicate with their peers and keep abreast of developments. I decided to risk everything and go for it. I spent six months on my friend’s sofa when I started the business. 

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GP: What are some challenges with iSportconnect and how do you overcome them?

SV: There’s a common misconception that an online business is all about technology. It’s not. It’s about people. That’s even more the case in the sports business. One of the big challenges is to keep sight of that when you are working hard to build a digital platform. I saw early on that essentially I was in the business of building relationships, and that offline interaction was the key to adding value to the online community. That was a turning point. A big part of what we do now is around the many exclusive invitation-only events that we hold around the world for leaders in the business of sport.

GP: How does iSportconnect engage with gender diversity in sports?

SV: This is an area that I’m very conscious of because the gender gap is so obvious in the sport business, and also because I’m personally so aware of diversity in general given my own background. iSportconnect events are actually a lot more gender diverse than the business itself. The attendance is always very mixed. We try hard to feature women as thought leaders on the website and at our events. Getting more female involvement in our business is hugely important, not least because the female side of the market is so ripe for development and offers so much opportunity.

GP: What is your advice for @GlobePreneurs who want to create start-ups in the sports arena?

SV: Wherever there are fans, there are opportunities.

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GlobePreneurs Win: Svaha Challenges Gender Stereotypes in Clothing

Jaya Iyer wanted to live the American Dream, so she moved to the US from India carrying only a backpack full of ambition. She worked hard to obtain a Ph.D. in Fashion Merchandising (Iowa State University), taught Fashion Buying, and wrote a textbook on Fashion in Emerging Markets. After Jaya was unable to find an astronaut shirt for her space-obsessed daughter and had to buy one from the boys’ section, she saw a problem in the apparel industry and wanted to fix it.

Jaya teamed up with Eva Everett, a former Molecular Biologist who got fed up with people telling her that she did not ‘look like’ a scientist. Together they created Svaha apparel to challenge the gender bias that exists in the apparel industry.

‘Gender stereotypes exists in clothing at every age and our mission is to get rid of it – one piece of apparel at a time,’ says Jaya. Svaha believes that women should not have to choose between loving Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) and being feminine. The Svaha apparel line shows that ‘brainy is beautiful.’ Hon. Pauline Truong recently had discussions with Svaha regarding their traction and growing popularity in the U.S.A.


Where do you see Svaha five years from now?

Our goal is to be the go-to place for people who want to find clothes that defy gender norms. We started with children’s apparel, then very successfully moved into women’s clothing. We have big dreams for the expansion we are going to do next! Along with apparel, we hope to continue building our community and getting momentum behind our movement to fight for gender equality. 

 

Where is the clothing currently manufactured and what processes do you undertake to ensure your customers are satisfied with the end result?

The clothing is currently manufactured in India. We truly believe in using organic cotton and eco-friendly dyes and paying the people who make our clothes a living wage. The quality of our products is amazing, but this comes with a higher price tag than buying clothes at places like Target and Walmart. It can be difficult to convince people to pay a little bit more for clothes. However, we know from experience that once people buy from us, they come back for more! We think there are enough consumers out there who care about what we’re doing, and care enough about making ethical purchases to support companies, like us, who are trying to make a difference.

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What resistance and/or challenges have you faced with Svaha and your ideas?

With a limited marketing budget, reaching our customers has been our biggest challenge. But, now that we have so many customers who have bought our products, word of mouth has been a great one for us! We have the best customers and we want to continue making Svaha into a brand they adore!

If you started your company again, what would you do differently?

We believe that we have created a company that we always wanted to. We want to continue listening to our customers and make what would make them happy. There is nothing really we would have done differently. We will continue to make changes based on our customer demands.

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What is your advice for women who want to create change in the start-up arena?

Our biggest word of advice is to keep your eyes open and let your imagination run free. There are so many completely untapped markets out there in the apparel industry just waiting for the right entrepreneur to come along and find them. If you work hard and don’t give up on your dreams, the sky’s the limit in what you can achieve!

What is your advice for GlobePreneurs who want to live the American Dream?

You are lucky to live in an environment where anything is possible if you set your heart and mind into doing it. So, find an idea, stay focused, work hard, and achieve your American Dream!

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