Brad Keywell, co-founder and CEO of Uptake Technologies and, perhaps most notably, the co-founder and director of Groupon, joined Businessweek’s Tom Giles for the second installment of the Cornell Tech @ Bloomberg speaker series Wednesday, January 13.
Uptake differs from other of Keywell’s co-founded start-ups in that he employs collaborative disruption: “We are disrupting the blind spots,” Keywell says. In other words, “We are choosing to be disruptive with a partner who has a strong edge, rather than what we’ve traditionally done – which is be disruptive from the outside.”
Uptake Technologies is a Chicago-based software platform that captures data from sensors, and provides predictive insight that can optimize machine performance, minimize downtime, and help companies with safety and regulatory compliance in industries like rail, mining, and construction.
Keywell stated he doesn’t get involved in politics. However, he does believe that government should play a role in enabling an ecosystem for risk-takers and entrepreneurs – much like the ones that exist in Silicon Valley and New York City. “Venture capital, entrepreneurs, big companies, a little bit of government, and a lot of education; those five things get together, and you’ve got an ecosystem,” he said.
In the era of the clichéd unicorn, Keywell turned the focus away from valuation and toward (or back to) consumer value:
“Whatever the valuation, I’m focused on creating value. What I’ve learned in 25 years in building businesses is if you create value that provides your customer tangible, serious value you’ve got a great business on your hands.”
Watch highlights of the event:
You can view the entire interview here.