Meet WiSTEM C4: Heather Holmes of Genivity and Kara Scanlin of Lystr
14 businesses made up the fourth cohort of WiSTEM, which is 1871’s innovative and customized program designed to accelerate and cultivate opportunities for women in technology. The 14 women-owned companies began the 12-week program beginning in March and are fresh of the showcase event where they pitched to investors, business leaders and supporters.
Meet Kara Scanlin CEO and Co-founder of Lystr introduces her innovative IoT hardware solution and app that helps users quickly build grocery lists using the UPCs of common items already in their homes.
Q: Tell us a little about your company. What’s your elevator pitch?
A: Lystr is like the Amazon Echo or Dash Buttons for everything that you don’t want to get from Amazon. We have a small IoT device that lives in your kitchen and compiles your grocery list for you. You can use your list to shop at the store, share it with a household member, or send it to a third party for pick-up or delivery. Beyond convenience to consumers, we offer third party partners like retailers and marketers valuable insights and opportunities for stronger customer retention and engagement.
Q: What about the program do you think is helping your business the most? Are there any specific examples?
A: The program brought tremendous value to my business because of the diverse perspectives I gained. I was able analyze my initiatives and create a better strategy for how to communicate effectively to customers, this all being a result of feedback from my colleagues. In addition I gained so many diverse perspectives on not only my business but also into how others were running their businesses as well. For me, it is all about the WiSTEM community. It’s inspirational to be around so many talented women doing so many great things.
Q: What’s the greater good your company is trying to accomplish? How will it impact the community? What problem does it solve?
A: For families, we aim to streamline a process that, until very recently, had seen little change. Families today are evolving and we are seeing a growing need to distribute household responsibilities among adult members in dual-income households. There is also a growing need for improved communication, as either member might be responsible for different household tasks. For these families, we offer a solution that distributes the responsibility of grocery management and provides a more streamlined, efficient process for replenishing items as the household runs out of necessities. For dual-income families, there is no longer one member who can dedicate time to household organization – we offer a technology-enabled solution to enhance organization.
Busy consumers are adopting technologies faster than ever and are constantly seeking ways to bring more efficiency and organization to their daily lives. Millennials expect instantaneousness and efficiency in their daily life, and they expect it to be delivered by technology. For Millennials, a pen and paper list seems so outdated, and a routine chore like managing household groceries seems mundane. As Millennials begin to start families, emphasis on the home life increases, and we can offer them a streamlined way to manage their groceries.
Brick and mortar grocers face an even more significant challenge – projections estimate that they will lose up to $125 billion to new models of online shopping and delivery in the next five to eight years. For retailers and CPG marketers, we offer a strategy to stay engaged with their customers, as the needs and preferences of these customers change.
Meet Heather Holmes, CEO and founder of Genivity, an award-winning life-planning platform that better connects financial advisors to their clients’ medical history to better drive engagement, retention and growth.
Q: Here’s a little bit about Heather’s personal history and background.
A: I am the CEO and founder of Genivity, an award-winning life-planning platform for helping advisors deepen client relationships, generate referrals and connect with the next generation. After spending nearly a decade helping physicians and hospitals increase patient referrals and grow their practices, I have gained a wealth of knowledge on what truly drives engagement, retention and growth.
When a close relative was hospitalized in 2010 and nearly died, I realized if my family had known about the specific health threats he was vulnerable to, they might’ve been able to prevent his health crisis or at least have a plan in place. That crisis sparked my belief that creating relationships early with the key people in my financial lives was critical so our family would have a place to turn to for help. What’s more, every family needs that.
I founded Genivity to help advisors and their clients understand how the family’s health risks and overall wellness can impact a financial plan. By helping advisors connect the dots between health risks, care costs and life goals, Genivity brings the family together in a multi-generational life-based plan. Prior to founding Genivity, I led global market development strategy for a multinational medical device company. Working in India and China inspired me to explore ways to provide simple yet reliable health information and solutions that were fun and engaging for families. I am also a tireless wanderer, and have lived, worked and played across 6 of the 7 continents and am hoping to get to the final one, Antarctica, sometime in 2018.
Q: Tell us a little about your company. What’s your elevator pitch?
A: Financial advisors are in serious trouble and are losing clients at an alarming rate. 70-percent of widows fire their advisor after their husband’s death and 90-percent of adult children change advisors at the time of inheritance because of poorly developed relationships with the family’s financial professional. Genivity is an A.I, SaaS platform for financial professionals that helps them engage clients and retain next generation heirs through life-stage, health risk and care costs planning.
Q: How did you come to join the WiSTEM cohort?
A: I first heard about WiSTEM from a member of a past cohort who thought I would be a good fit for the program. At that time, I started to do some of my own research on the program and realized that it aligned well with the goals I have both personally and professionally. The idea of joining a supportive group of women with the same tech-minded business focus and goals was refreshing and inspiring.
Q: Give us a little insight into your perspective on diversity in the tech community. Why is it important? What do you hope to see?
A: For us, it’s important to see more women making strides in the predominately male tech spaces because nearly all innovation impacts all genders, so we cannot simply silo the innovation itself nor the decision-making onto one gender. I hope to see companies encourage female innovators to branch out into the tech space by supporting them with access to resources that they may not normally have and to ignite creativity for women in tech by providing outlets for innovation.