Please tell us about your journey into the tech world?
I started in tech at the height of the dot-com bubble, working for an internet startup. Unfortunately, like so many others at the time, the bubble burst, and my company went bankrupt. Still, I firmly believed in the future of the digital economy and at 23 decided to take the jump into entrepreneurship. I sold my last company to Singapore Telecommunications for $235M.
I founded 100.co because I firmly believe that the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry can be disrupted using artificial intelligence. As CEO of 100.co, I have made significant investments in acquiring technology that will pave the way for a new way of creating, developing and launching brands.
I’m also an active angel investor, and I look for companies where I can bring my own expertise in technology and AI to increase the chances of success. The focus on technology to drive disruption and innovation is the common thread across all my investments.
As an influential leader in the tech industry, what unique challenges did you face in your journey?
Early on in my career, I was usually the only woman in the room, and sometimes it still feels that way now. I’d say the biggest challenge as a female starting in the tech and investment space, was to remain confident in my ideas and opinions no matter how many times I heard a “no” from potential investors or partners. I learned to not be afraid to push the boundaries on something I felt strongly about and to be relentless in my pursuit or my vision regardless of what anyone else said.
Through my journey as an entrepreneur, I learned that rejection is not failure and in fact it means that you’re learning and adapting. Ultimately, the ‘nos’ brought me to where I am today.
Secondly, I learned to embrace the fact that I did not necessarily ‘fit in’ this male-dominated world. We’re all born with this innate desire to be accepted. The trouble is when you try too hard to fit in, you lose a part of yourself in the process. I began to realize that my thoughts and opinions were unique, not because I am a woman, but because I am ME. What the world needs most is for you to be you – bold, unapologetic, thoughtful, creative, you, female or male.
How did you cope with the recent challenges and disruptions caused by the pandemic? Which technologies helped you stay on top of your business game plans?
If there wasn’t a pandemic there wouldn’t be 100.co. It was during this time that 100.co was born. The disruptions caused by the pandemic have been a massive opportunity to reimagine and reinvent the way we do things in every aspect of our lives, including how, where and what products we choose to buy. My co-founder and I realized that the CPG industry and the creation of brands were ripe for disruption.
Right from the start we knew that technology would be core to our business and we set out to build CLAIRE, our proprietary AI platform. While building CLAIRE, we discovered and ultimately acquired two AI companies – CherryPick and AI.PARC.
The Cherry Pick acquisition bolsters 100.co’s proprietary AI capabilities, significantly accelerating our mission to reinvent the product creation and go-to-market processes legacy consumer brands have relied on for the last century. We now leverage the platform’s product identification technology and data gathering techniques that track consumer preferences for valuable product attributes, and are developing the next generation of CPG brands.
The addition of AI.PARC’s 13 patents will ensure the long-term differentiation and defensibility of CLAIRE’s unique market and customer insights, which are powering our next generation of consumer products for digitally native consumers.
Could you tell us more about your role and how it evolved during the pandemic months?
Before 100.co was founded, I was really focused on angel investing. While I was helping and investing in strong entrepreneurs, I realized I really missed building companies.
When I first set out to create 100.co in early 2020, the business model looked very different than it does today. It took a lot of listening to the market, identifying areas for disruption and finding the right team to create what 100.co is today.
We are witnessing the convergence of AI, Automation and IoT in the retail technology space. Could you provide some unique insights on how AI-powered brand creation would look like in the coming years?
Most CPGs like to believe they are data-driven, but product innovation is typically a manual process. “Market research” is frequently based on leadership experience, modest focus groups or or having interns put together summaries of social trends.
100.co’s platform CLAIRE, for example, completely transforms this process, and analyzes tens of thousands of data points and suggests market viability, product attributes and creative decisions even before a product investment is made. 100.co relies heavily on CLAIRE to suggest products, predict market fit and even make decisions on elements like packaging.
For example, with AI, 100.co can accelerate product development by 30% .
However, 100.co is not just using AI to identify products and speed time to market, we are using it to drive authenticity. By using AI to listen to the market, we can develop authentic and relevant products to specific areas of the market. We believe that listening to customers via technology will ultimately breed trust and loyalty.
What role do AI and Automation play in influencing data privacy frameworks concerning online shoppers and consumers? Have we slowed down on GDPR /CCPA adoption / compliance due to the pandemic?
Whether data is collected by humans or AI it doesn’t really impact regulatory frameworks like GDPR and CCPA – they are, and will always be, about giving consumers more control over the personal data collected about them. With that said, it’s important to pay close attention to the increasing use of AI, as these tech developments make it easier to glean more data about consumers at a quicker pace.
100.co fundamentally believes in being consumer-first, and in the importance of consumer privacy initiatives like GDPR and CCPA. Our approach is very different from other companies in that we are focused on using AI to better listen to, and understand, what consumers are choosing to say publicly. They already make their preferences known on a daily basis via ratings and comments on product review sites and a brand’s social pages.. So really the opportunity is not about working around these regulatory frameworks, but rather doing a better job of listening to what consumers are already telling you!
Your opinion on the idea of reskilling needed within the technology industry for high-growth industries such as Cloud computing for E-commerce, retail, marketing and advertising?
For the last 50+ years CPGs have used the same key dimensions; traditional brick-and-mortar relationships and indirect relationship with consumers with a “one size fits all” model. However, as technology has evolved and become more prominent in business models due to the pandemic, we learn media is fragmented and CPGs can’t reach consumers as they used to, and they do not have the tech to look into the tastes of consumers to close that gap.
It is important for top-profile companies who are hiring, as well as, job seekers, who are looking to make an impact with purpose-driven brands, to look at the benefits of technology and its application in business operations in order to remain competitive. At 100.co, for example, we are currently hiring data scientists, data analysts, a UX/UI designer amongst other roles to ensure we are not only collecting the right data but also reading it and understanding how today’s consumers want to be served new products.
Your favorite podcast / webinar that you have listened to in recent times?
As a tech entrepreneur and investor I am always looking for out-of-the box ideas or data findings that debunk the ways we are used to seeing or thinking about socioeconomic situations. Freakonomics has become a favorite amongst many other podcasts, where I am able to learn more about what information or data is already out there that can be disrupted or debunked.
Tag a person in the industry whose answers you would like to see?
Jessica Alba – Jessica is one of the few female CEOs in retail that are thinking outside the box and catering to today’s parents who are eco-conscious, aspirational and affluent. Jessica founded Honest Co. in 2011, motivated by the death of baby products that were free of harsh chemicals. Today the Company is valued at almost $2.45 billion – that’s significantly more than its $860 million implied valuation in a 2017 funding round!
Thank you, Kim! That was fun and we hope to see you back on itechnologyseries.com soon.
Kim Perell is an award-winning entrepreneur, bestselling author, CEO, and angel investor, who has made headlines for her transformative story from a startup entrepreneur to leading tech CEO and prominent angel investor. Kim is the top US female angel investor, with over 20 exits to leading brands including Apple and Intuit and was an early investor in TheTradeDesk Kim graduated magna cum laude from Pepperdine University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Based in California for over a decade, Kim recently moved to Miami with her husband and two sets of twins.
Kim’s achievements as a leader, entrepreneur and passionate advocate for women in business have been widely recognized. She has been named one of AdAge’s Marketing Technology Trailblazers, Business Insider’s Most Powerful Women in Mobile Advertising, Adweek’s Women Trailblazers, a John Maxwell Transformational Leader, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and an Entrepreneur of the Year by the National Association of Female Executives.
100.co is an AI-powered consumer brand group that is disrupting the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) market, with purpose-driven products co-created with the world’s most influential founders. With insights from digital-first consumers and direct-to-consumer e-commerce distribution, the Company is reinventing the product development process that legacy CPG brands have relied on for decades. 100.co‘s proprietary AI platform CLAIRE™ uses artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data to predict product needs and market fit, reduce risk, and influence product attributes.