An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Jackie Finn (co-founder and VP of Marketing) of VIA, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of VIA – what problem were you trying to solve and why?
The story of VIA’s brand and marketing strategy reveals much about our origins.
In 2016, when we founded VIA, we knew the energy sector needed us the most. We were really focused on data science solutions, but every time we worked on a project, getting the data was a challenge. That’s when we developed our Trusted Analytics Chain™ (TAC™) platform, the bridge between confidential data, distributed across locations, and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions. With this new way to securely share and access data, everything changed.
We were no longer just a startup data science company, but transformed into the AI and blockchain leader we are today. When reflecting on how we grew as a company, technology-wise, we felt that our brand needed to catch up. That’s when we hired my partner-in-marketing-crime, Annvie Nguyen. Through a company-wide “all hands” brainstorming session and numerous breakout sessions, we landed on officially branding ourselves “VIA.” In the dictionary, VIA means “by way of”, and to us, it means so much more. VIA is the journey we take with our partners, the way we solve the toughest problems in the energy space, how we achieve our mission to help clean energy adoption, and the company culture we have poured our hearts into creating.
Our logo and website went through a major overhaul to help make our story resonate with those also committed to clean energy and struggling with data issues. We told better stories through our blog, news, and social media. We also gained a deeper understanding of how we were helping our partners and prospects with their goals.
Today, through our branding and leadership in energy, VIA is positioned as a critical player in the clean energy revolution.
What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?
With any new technology, especially ones that are buzzworthy like artificial intelligence and blockchain, everyone has a different level of understanding of those terms. It’s always a challenge in marketing to describe what we do in a way that’s simple for those new to the area and not superficial for those with more experience. We try to balance our content with these challenges in mind.
What does the future hold for VIA?
At VIA, our mission is to increase the adoption of clean energy to help make our communities healthier and safer with cleaner air and water. This is a long-term goal, so there will be a lot for us to do to make this a reality.
We recently raised $10M through a Series A funding round to support this mission, and will continue to hire best-in-class talent, expand our customer base throughout the United States and Western Europe, and fast-track the delivery of our groundbreaking software platform.
What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Somerville?
Over the last year, it’s been a lot quieter in Somerville given the pandemic, but we’re seeing the startup scene pick up again. We are glad we have continued our commitment to our location in Davis Square and have plans to expand alongside the growth of our team.
What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
In our work lives, we are all faced with tough problems. At VIA, we always encourage our team members to respect those challenges, but also to challenge them with respect. Be open and honest. Ask questions. Admit when you are stuck. If you put yourself out there, those around you will feel more comfortable doing the same. In the end, if everyone feels safe to share their perspectives and raise concerns, the result will always be more thoughtful solutions and a stronger team.