Jeff Schumann of Aware

An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Jeff Schumann (co-founder and CEO) of Aware, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of Aware – what problem were you trying to solve and why?

We recognized that the way the business world worked was rapidly evolving, with growing fragmentation around enterprise social technologies. Employees were using several different tools to accomplish day-to-day tasks, collaborate cross-functionally, and improve their productivity.

This fragmentation created challenges for organizations struggling to gain visibility and manage the risks associated with new tech and tools. We’ve seen it before with the introduction of email, but now collaborative information sharing is happening on a much bigger scale, and with far fewer guardrails to protect users and data.

The co-founders and I felt that addressing that problem was a worthwhile task, not only to help organizations manage risk, but to enable them to adopt modern social technologies that deliver an unbelievable opportunity to create the digital voice of the employee.

What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?

It’s always about the people. Hiring fantastic people who believe in the vision and can execute well amid constant ambiguity is easier said than done, because we never want to make any compromises around protecting the culture we’ve worked hard to build.

What does the future hold for Aware?

We’re in the middle of a tectonic shift towards embracing artificial intelligence. Aware is at the forefront as a market leader in the creation of safe, secure enterprise AI. We’ll continue to see more advancements here, with a focus always towards helping our customers achieve great business success.

What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Columbus?

It’s one of those most collaborative communities I’ve ever seen, and one I find personally inspiring. We are proud to be headquartered in Columbus and are always looking for ways to contribute, including through our active participation in TechStars and the creation of the new Ohio State Software Innovation Center, whose board I am.

What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Do not focus on the top of the stairs. Instead, focus on taking one step at a time.


For more exclusive interviews, see our full Profile of a Founder series