Q: What is the name of your startup?
Gerod Carfantan, COO
Q: What does your startup do? What are you working on?
We are a combination of startup, accelerator, and investment and innovation platform. We connect startups all over the world with corporations and institutions so they can drive innovation forward and scale it together. Startups, especially in the B2B world, need partners, customers and investors. Most corporations and institutions need to look outside their own organization for innovation. We see ourselves as the link between that. We do it purposefully, in just a few domains where we think humans are being impacted by changes in the world and where we think technology can help. These domains include mobility, human essentials (food, agriculture and water), and urban technology – which is the architecture, construction and building industries. The last domain is industrial IoT and includes the application of IoT, data and AI to industries like manufacturing and energy.
We are currently preparing to launch our next two programs for 2018. The first is with Enerjisa, a joint venture of a Turkish company, and the second is with E.ON, a German energy company. We will be looking for startups in the field of data and AI that can help these companies across their entire value chain, from the electricity grid to how they engage their customers. We are also launching our second annual mobility program, which will kick off in Paris on Oct. 15 and then continue on to London at the end of November. And, of course, we will be at CES in January and Chicago after that. These projects are keeping us really busy, and we are also planning more projects in the other domains named above.
Q: How long have you been working at the Chicago Connectory?
We have had an office at the Chicago Connectory since December 2017. However, we’ve been working with the Connectory team before it even opened.
Q: Why do you work at the Chicago Connectory? What are the benefits for you?
If you go back to the domains that we focus on – all of those things are B2B technologies that are all about the connection of people, process, data and things. We want to be a part of a community that can create opportunities for our startups and for ourselves with new corporate partners or investors. And the Chicago Connectory has done that. One example includes working with IOTA! We’ve been doing things with them in the distributed ledger technology community. Additionally, we ran the Connexion IoT pitch contest, which created new opportunities for ourselves and for our startups.
As we prepare for this Urban Tech program, we've been having conversations with a startup here, Spacebot, on how the built world is changing and who the big players are. The Chicago Connectory has so many synergies between startups and corporations that we knew going in would help us and our startups. The world of IoT and data is interconnected. There isn’t a space in Chicago that offers that same kind of connection.
Q: Do you have a website? Twitter? Somewhere where we can learn more about you and your startup?
Q: Random, fun question: If you could have a meal with any celebrity, alive or dead, who would it be, and why?
It would be Leonardo da Vinci. I like to be a person with balance. I have a creative and analytical side. No one in history has leveraged both sides of the brain so well and has created such an impact on the world. It's who I aspire to be like! Plus, he never had a real job. He always got to follow his passion and have someone sponsoring him to do so, which is pretty cool. I have a job where I can define what my responsibilities are.
As to which meal, it would depend on if it’s old da Vinci or young da Vinci. If it is young, I just want to have lunch because I don’t think I could keep up with his partying. With old da Vinci it would be dinner because we could sit back and eat a slow, leisurely dinner. And, da Vinci in his older days got to dine with the King of France, so that’d be a bonus too!