From our fellow, Cátia Narciso of Lisbon, Portugal
2 February – 2016
Today I met Alejandro Guardiola at the Vault; Alejandro has his CFA and CAIA, is the Partner and Director of Institutional Sales at Seed Change Capital Partners. The Vault is a collaborative workspace and innovation hub founded on the principle that people work better together. They offer state-of-the-art workspaces, resources, talent, knowledge, and networks to help startups grow better and faster. Alejandro took me on a tour of The Vault, and introduced me to three companies they house.
First I met with the company Girls Who Code, led by Shantina Jackson and Natalie Bonifede. Girls Who Code engages engineers, developers, executives, and entrepreneurs to teach and motivate the next generation so that we can close the gender gap in technology. They provide computer science programs to high school girls in the USA, giving them the hard and soft skills needed to become the technologists of tomorrow. It was really great to learn about Girls Who Code in depth, because it’s also applicable to the state of the technology culture in Portugal, and across the board in many Portugese industries. I felt so inspired. It’s an interesting sociological perspective, and perhaps in the future I’ll be able to make this kind of change in Portugal. For example, by being in the human resources of an important Portuguese company, I can impact the selection and recruitment process to decrease the gender gap. That’s something I will undoubtedly keep in mind.
I then met with Stany Yeh of Product School. Product School creates product management classes which are offered on the nights and weekends in tech hot spots across the United States for working professionals. They have instructors, mentors, and guest speakers who are experienced product managers from renowned companies, with diverse backgrounds.
Lastly, I sat down with InkShares, where I met Jeremy Thomas. InkShares is a publisher for books selected by readers, which I find to be a really interesting concept. The process is intriguing. Writers first sketch out their book idea, and create a draft. They then upload a sample chapter of their draft page on InkShare’s website.
InkShares’ platform collects reader’s feedback by asking them to improve the initial draft. When the author is ready to turn the draft into a book, InkShares sells pre-orders of the manuscript. When 250 copies are pre-ordered, InkShares will publish the book, at no cost to the writer. By asking for engagement by the readers, the publisher can give the reader’s what they desire. What’s beautiful, is that this process produces a win-win result, where all parties benefit.
All the companies where interesting, but overall I really liked Girls Who Code, because of their mission and vison. I found The Vault to be a deeply interesting place helping to curate lots of interesting companies.