Entrepreneurial Rock Stars Making Virtual Things Happen
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because these smarty-pants men and women are using tech to make us all smarter, faster, better. And maybe richer.
How would you define “entrepreneur”? Try this: someone who sees an opportunity so clearly — something that everyone else has missed — that it becomes an obsession. Welcome to the world of Tomer Kagan, CEO and co-founder of Quixey, a tech startup that describes its business as “the search engine for apps.” Sounds modest enough — until you realize what Kagan really has in mind, which is nothing less than going after the search engine behemoth, disrupting its business and breaking its near-monopolistic hold over Internet search. Yes, this guy wants to take Google away from you. Read the story here.
Wences Casares is understated. “I often feel that being an entrepreneur is a fancy way of saying you are a doer. … Entrepreneurs are really good at getting things done.” And the 39-year-old Argentine has “done” a lot. He’s sold multiple companies for a combined total of more than $1 billion. His first company became Argentina’s first Internet service provider. His second company, Patagon, was an online brokerage firm acquired by Banco Santander, a Spanish bank, for $750 million. He also created Wanako Games, sold in 2007, and Lemon Bank, sold in 2009. But he doesn’t much like all this talk of serial entrepreneurship. Read the story here.
There’s a fairy godmother up in Harlem named Kathryn Finney. These days, she’s wont to describe herself like this: “Big hair, even bigger ideas.” What’s the big idea? It’s to take on the dirty white secret of a tech industry headquartered in Silicon Valley. It might pretend to be colorblind, gender neutral and meritocratic, but really, it’s very male, very white, rather Asian and hardly at all black or female. Finney’s remedy is to create networks and pathways to guide outsiders, especially women, into tech. You want a pipeline of kickass black female techies? Finney began building one last year. Read the story here.
Addicted to your smartphone? Well, Rapelang Rabana thinks that could be a good thing. The 29-year-old South African entrepreneur is the founder of Rekindle Learning, a company looking to improve education in Africa by turning people’s compulsion to check their phones into an opportunity to learn. Rekindle’s app works on a small screen, both offline and online — to account for unreliable connectivity — and enables users to take short, personalized tests designed to maximize memorization. If Rabana has her way, Rekindle will soon empower the tech-savvy generation by leveraging their mobile addiction and teaching them the skills they’ll need to design their own groundbreaking solutions. Read the story here.