Suzan Briganti is a working mom and another great woman in tech who sees the value of leveraging innovation talent within the workplace to get the best out of the individual and the business. She has used her background in innovation consultancy and software technology to create a harmonious marriage of the skill sets to produce Swarm Vision, her global software innovation firm which can take your business to the next level.
What did you eat for breakfast? My son’s leftover waffle!
What’s your workout? I walk 3 miles a day before I sit down to work. And ride my steed on weekends into the hills above Stanford to lose track of time.
What picture is on your phone’s home screen? Share it with us. My son and me on the beach on Hawaii last Xmas. It was a big thing to be able to go there, despite being in startup mode.
Tell us about your work. What inspired you to start your business? Where did you start and where are you now? When I had my son, I started my first company, Totem. It was an innovation consultancy. Working with many Fortune 500s, I saw a big opportunity and started my current software company, Swarm Vision.
What do you see for your future? Growing Swarm Vision exponentially, making innovation talent visible in the workforce, and tapping it to fuel global prosperity.
How large is your business? How many employees do you have? We are at $500k trailing revenue. We have a team of 7.
Tell us a success story about funding your business. We have bootstrapped the company so far. That is a bigger achievement than I realized.
What do you see as challenges for you and your business? What are some opportunities? Being a female CEO in Silicon Valley is sadly, a challenge. Our big opportunity is to make the business a huge success and to model that to investors here and to other female founders. We just have to mount up overwhelming evidence.
Tell us a story about a success in your business or a mistake you overcame? We built our MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and bet all of our cash on a trade show. We met what has become our biggest customer there. Revenues from their first engagement enabled us to build our 2.0 and 3.0 releases.
What do you love about being an entrepreneur? The ability to imagine and build products that delight our customers, with no “noise”
What about your business matters most deeply to you? How does it engage your values? I believe that innovation talent is priceless and that the Fortune 500 suffer not from a lack of it in their workforce, but from the failure to see and leverage it. I love freeing up an under-utilized asset and making people’s lives happier and more fulfilling by letting them bring their true selves to their work.
What would you say is your “entrepreneurial superpower?” Our ability to bootstrap the building of gorgeous and intuitive software. Thanks in large part to our lead developer who is also a girl and a mom!
Who is the entrepreneur you admire most right now? Why does s/he inspire you? I met a cool founder who has a technology to embed sensors in yarn. Her first product is a sock that helps diabetics.
What’s the best and the worst thing about being an entrepreneur, as a woman? The best: that we can do this, and are doing it. The worst: how men underestimate us. And role fatigue: I am still 100% in charge as a parent PLUS running the company and raising money!
Do you think male entrepreneurs are “different” from female entrepreneurs, and if so, how? If not, why not? Yes, guys’ higher testosterone levels make them more cocky, even without evidence. That can be powerful with investors who want to fall in love with a grandiose vision. Whereas women tend to underestimate what we think we can achieve so we don’t disappoint. Guys can single-focus on business whereas women tend to still carry a larger share of the work of home and parenting. In the end, though, women founders and investors are often more successful. I think that is because we consider more factors in decision-making, and lose less money than guys.
What the best advice you ever got, and from whom? To develop software so as to have a scaleable business that can be acquired. My advisor and dear friend, Steve Gatfield, said that to me about 8 years ago. It took me a few years to find the opportunity I wanted to go after with software. Now we are doing it!