Many times, people see titles like “CEO”, “CMO”, and “COO”, without having the slightest idea of what these initials mean, or their relevance within an organization. All of these acronyms stand for executive leaders in the “C-suite”, and they play an important role in achieving the macro objectives of a company in coordination with its overarching vision and mission.
As technology increases its prevalence in our lives, enterprises’ core principles are increasingly being steeped in data-driven decisions. This has a reason, as according to the Mckinsey Global Institute, data-driven organizations are not only 23 times more likely to acquire customers, but they’re also six times as likely to retain customers and 19 times more likely to be profitable
In the wake of the pandemic, the importance of C-suite executives staying at the forefront of technology and digital transformation has increased. Executive appointments in recent years suggest that companies are beginning to consider technology leaders as potential executives, contrary to how they were once chosen when technology expertise did not weigh as heavily on selection criteria.
What is certain, no matter if a company is technology-focused or not, is that digital advancement is accelerating across industries. In response, Portugal Startups is highlighting 20 global tech executives to look out for in 2023. Let’s take a look at these C-Suite executives who, thanks to their management, are positively impacting their respective industries across the world.
Farris Wu, Founder and CEO, DecorMatters
This is the world’s leading interior design app and website, powered by AI and AR, where more than 6 million users create and share interior design ideas while social networking and shopping with ease. DecorMatters is building the world’s first blockchain-based creator ecosystem to reshape the trillion-dollar interior design and furniture shopping industry. The company’s application uses the power of creativity to convert the stressful home renovation process into a relaxing social gaming experience.
CEO and Founder Farris Wu is a multidisciplinary entrepreneur with success in three industries: Consumer technology, venture capital, and commercial real estate. Farris was named among the top 20 cross-border venture capitalists by China Venture and Hurun Midas List in 2016. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, and a B.S. and M.S. from the Harbin Institute of Technology, China.
Srividya Gopani, Co-founder, Chief Marketing and Product Officer, Interviewer.AI
Interviewer.AI is an AI-powered video recruitment software that matches employers with the highest quality professionals—creating a platform with the best job opportunities worldwide. The process is unbiased and highlights the best talent suitable for any company; ensuring efficiency, ease, and inclusiveness in the hiring process.
Srividya has over sixteen years of marketing experience with business and product teams across geographies. Driven by her passion for technology, she embarked on her own path by co-founding Interviewer.AI.
She enjoys working on technology which is central to her role as the driver for marketing and product for Interviewer.AI. She also believes that technology is the fundamental engine for how rapidly businesses are evolving.
Lucas Bonatto, Founder and CEO, Elemeno
Elemeno is a next-generation platform that helps data scientists to build a highly scalable software infrastructure.
The company offers a fully-managed, highly scalable infrastructure and a standard serverless architecture so your team can focus on building models.
Lucas is a software engineer with a Master’s degree in Computer Science from PUC University.
His passion for machine learning has inspired him to work for trailblazing tech companies such as OLX and Hewlett-Packard. He is also the founder of Marvin AI, an open-source Artificial Intelligence platform.
Maitê Lourenço, Founder, BlackRocks
BlackRocks is a black women-led company that supports innovative, profitable, and tech-savvy people and businesses. The platform aims to promote better access to highly innovative and technological environments to Afro communities.
Their mission will always be to promote the increase of racial diversity in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. They hope to leverage opportunities and transformative connections that foster innovation through scalable and profitable solutions.
Maitê is a renowned psychologist, winner of the Diversity Award: Veja-See Award from Veja magazine, and a finalist for the Startup Awards in the Social Impact category in 2017. She is a contributing columnist for Forbes Brazil magazine.
Nick Kyriakides, Co-Founder and COO, netTALK CONNECT and netTALK MARITIME
netTALK Maritime is a multi-purposed telecom company that has developed a unique approach to telemedicine and traveler tracing in the cruise and hospitality industry.
Nick focuses on spearheading the development and implementation of innovative growth strategies and key initiatives for both netTALK CONNECT and MARITIME.
He leads a high-performance team to ensure netTALK continues to meet the demands of cloud-based communications and related technologies.
His focus includes operations, marketing, logistics, international trade, product strategy, and business development.
Alla Zhedik, CEO, Tempo Payments
Tempo Payments is a digital money transfer company powered by the latest technologies including Stellar blockchain. Built on the powerful idea that it is possible to make sending money worldwide convenient, tempo focuses on digitizing and developing an online money transfer platform to enable its clients to send and receive money internationally within a few clicks.
Alla is a highly-skilled financial professional with experience in financial risk management, and asset and liability management. In her position at Tempo, she works with the treasury team to help with the facilitation of electronic payments with the largest FinTech payment institutions, bank institutions, and start-ups.
With over 20 years of experience, Alla has led international teams for some of the largest and most important companies in Europe, Africa, and Asia.
John Bohlmann, Founder and CEO, HawkenAQ
HawkenAQ is an air quality monitor software that offers health solutions for schools, offices, and commercial buildings. HawkenAQ’s mission is to make healthy buildings achievable and affordable for business owners worldwide.
They combine real-time monitoring and the latest health standards to give every visitor confidence in the air quality of the facilities they enter. John and his team have built and deployed modern building automation technologies in over 100 million square feet of built environment in more than 100 cities around the world.
Founder and CEO John Bohlmann is also the founder of HawkenIO, a technology consultancy that partners with startups and Fortune 500 companies in multiple industries to build innovative new products from scratch.
He is a general partner at SpaceFund, a venture capital firm with investments in SpaceX and other startups in private spaceflight. His educational background includes the study of computer science and entrepreneurship at Purdue University and Princeton University.
Shree Mijarguttu, Director of Customer Success, BOS Framework
BOS is a comprehensive cloud enablement platform that brings cloud provisioning, cloud management, and cloud compliance together into one platform—making all of these offerings available from a single interface.
BOS provides a comprehensive solution for growing companies that are looking for help with CloudOps/DevOps, Security, and Compliance. They aim to help companies reduce the time and cost to build Cloud Native products by migrating their products to a well-architected Cloud setup and helping to reliably maintain them.
Shree started her career as a Software Developer. Her 10 years of multifaceted experience in technology have shaped her into a leader that effortlessly brings together engineering, business, and people skills.
She’s always up for a compelling discussion that combines technology, philosophy, and business. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics Engineering and a Master’s in Data Science.
Jason LaBaw, Founder and CEO, Social Bee
Social Bee creates synergy between the physical and virtual worlds in one fun place. The application is a shared experience tech community that allows its users to take advantage of new destinations and activities from wherever they are.
An AR and VR-powered app, Social Bee allows its users to experience virtual activities while enjoying the physical world.
Founder and CEO Jason LaBaw has 13+ years of experience creating and refreshing ideas on how you can use emerging technologies to solve today’s business problems. Over the past eight years, Mr. LaBaw has immersed himself in the metaverse. His current work with Social Bee is providing a glimpse into what will be possible, as well as strategies brands can take today to begin the process of becoming metaverse ready.
Mr. LaBaw has led the development of in-person digital experiences (IDEs) from 3D product configurators, AR apps, and branded scavenger hunts, among other things, for clients around the world.
Kelly Thees, Co-founder and COO, Komodo Covers
Komodo is a company that makes covers that guarantee the best storage conditions for boats in all types of weather conditions.
Connected to its resistant covers, is their technological gadget titled the “Kommander” and an app known as Komodo helps to monitor and preserve ideal conditions and prevent the deterioration of boats when they are out of the water.
Kelly is a lifelong water sports enthusiast who learned to clean, cover, and tube behind a boat before entering kindergarten. Her passion for boats led her to pursue a career as one of the only few female executives in the tech-boating industry.
George Grama, Founder, Atlas Navi
Atlas Navi is a navigation app that uses Artificial Intelligence and image recognition software to avoid traffic by detecting road conditions, accidents, traffic, police vehicles, and much more.
The app analyzes the road 25 times per second, generating 100 times better data than any other navigation app—helping drivers to be re-routed to avoid areas on the road with problems.
George is an experienced entrepreneur with a demonstrated history of launching startups in AI, ride-share and transportation, video analysis, and blockchain industries.
With a BSc (Hons) in Business Management from the University of Surrey (UK), he thoroughly enjoys tackling complex technical problems which lead to innovative solutions in the fields of AI, the future of transportation, and blockchain.
Priyanka Srinivas, Co-founder and CEO, The Live Green Co
The Live Green Co. is a company that is changing the way the world approaches plant-based eating.
The company blends the latest biotechnology and machine learning with the ancestral wisdom of plant nutrition, helping to replace chemicals and additives in food products. The food-tech company is committed to accelerating the world’s transition to healthy and sustainable food.
Founder and CEO Priyanka is an entrepreneur with over twelve years of experience in retail management and trend analysis.
She is a true believer in “living green” and the nutritional power of eating healthy, and her company’s proprietary technology is a shining example of this.
Rima Seiilova-Olson, Founder and Chief Scientist, Kintsugi
Kintsugi refers to the art of repairing fractures in ceramics with gold.
The company Kintsugi plays on this concept through its voice biomarker software whose function is to detect signs of clinical depression and anxiety from short snippets of free speech.
Founder and Chief Scientist Rima is a former competitive programmer who has extensive experience in developing and productizing machine learning (ML) models.
Rima believes that everyone deserves access to quality mental health care, which motivated her to develop this proprietary technology.
Mike Hoey, President, Source Meridian
Source Meridian is a company focused on providing its clients with cutting-edge technology to help solve frequent problems in the healthcare space.
The company offers solutions in Big Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, and Healthcare Interoperability. It operates in three cities in Colombia (Medellin, Rio Negro, and Cali) and in Philadelphia, USA, in two different offices.
Mike is a Chief Technology Officer with experience working in the technology industry, large-scale systems, enterprise search, pharmaceutical and healthcare technology, and start-ups.
A strong IT professional with a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Syracuse, Mike specializes in parallel processing and neural networks.
Mildred Idada, Founding Partner, Open Web Collective (OWC)
OWC is a blockchain and investor company that supports builders of the multi-chain and decentralized web.
A venture firm focused on blockchain and digital assets, the company was launched by and spun out of NEAR Protocol.
The open web collective’s aim is to primarily offer assistance to early-stage startups in this up-and-coming industry.
OWC is deeply rooted within the crypto and blockchain ecosystem and is partnered with some of the industry’s leading Web3 companies and entrepreneurs.
Founded in 2020, the OWC Accelerator is now in its 4th batch and its 26 alumni companies have raised over $360M in capital.
Alfonso De Los Ríos, Co-founder and CEO, Nowports
The startup is the first and largest digital freight forwarder in Latin America, which facilitates import and export procedures for companies in the region, Asia, the United States, and Europe.
The company digitizes logistics processes, finances products, and automates daily tasks to bring shipping and handling to the next level—helping it to meet the unprecedented demand being seen in 2022’s supply chain.
Due to his initiative, Alfonso has earned recognition as Forbes’ “30 under 30” in the category of Manufacturing and Industry 2022, going from designing his own world in Minecraft to being invited by Esther Wojcicki to Silicon Valley. Soon after, he went through a Y Combinator and started his first round of funding for Nowports.
Verónica Silva, Founder and CEO, Apprendo
Apprendo is a technological platform that connects private tutors with students studying all types of subjects.
The company includes offerings such as classes, language courses, programming, music lessons, workshops, and much, much more.
The initiative arose when its founder, an Argentinian national, needed a tutor to reinforce her knowledge, but her online search was not yielding results.
Verónica is a technology entrepreneur in education and social impact, with a university background in Marketing, Business Administration, and Business Analytics.
During her time in Argentina’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, she’s given back as a speaker at conferences for NGOs, companies, and institutes, both for professionals and young people alike.
Stefan Collins, Metaverse Partnerships Director, Venly
Venly is a blockchain technology provider that creates tools and products to help companies benefit from blockchain technology. Being recognized as a digital pioneer, the company delivers groundbreaking innovations to companies like Atari, Ubisoft, Bondly, Shopify, and other industry leaders.
The overall vision for Venly is to build both developer-friendly products and an intuitive interface for end users.
Stefan is a strategic technology professional with a great passion for the Metaverse, blockchain gaming, NFTs, and new technologies.
He believes that creating the right Metaverse strategy will be one of the biggest challenges for many companies and brands in the future.
Carolina Huertas Garcés, Co-founder and CEO, AgrodatAi
AgrodatAi offers information services about the agriculture industry to farmers.
The platforms help to share data on weather, prices of agricultural products, marketing locations, as well as basic information about the tool in order to facilitate the best sale opportunity for farmers’ products.
The application also gives access to financial credit and inputs, all based on data, artificial intelligence, and other digital technologies.
Carolina is a Zootechnician from Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Medellin, a specialist in Finance from Universidad EAFIT, and a Master in Financial Administration from Universidad EAFIT.
Asparuh Koev, Founder and CEO, Transmetrics
Transmetrics is an AI platform that is redefining logistics through optimization, and transportation planning by harnessing the power of predictive analytics and machine learning.
Asparuh is a successful serial entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in the transportation and logistics industry and a combination of technical and business expertise.
Previously, Asparuh successfully founded several companies, including IntelliCo Solutions, focused on the freight forwarding sector.
He holds a degree in Computer Science from the American University of Bulgaria (AUBG) and an MBA from the Vlerick Business School in Belgium.
Disclosure: This article mentions a client of an Espacio portfolio company.