Women Lead Data Podcast Episode 4: Growing a Thick Skin as a First-Time Founder with Sarah Nagy of Seek AI

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May 2, 2024

Growing a Thick Skin as a First-Time Founder with Sarah Nagy of Seek AI

In the fourth episode of Women Lead Data, Lindsay is joined by Sarah Nagy (Co-founder and CEO of Seek AI) to learn more about their journey towards starting a company and becoming the CEO. Sarah shares more about how they got started in data science, the frustration of being asked the same repetitive and tedious questions as a data person that led to starting Seek AI, and their shift into becoming a founder. We talk about how to upskill yourself to take on the CEO role, and how that is an ever-growing journey. Sarah also shares tips on developing a thick skin to overcome self-doubt and rejection early in the founder journey.

Seek AI is a natural language interface for querying structured data. Ask questions in plain English and Seek will query data to give you the answers you are looking for. Seek does the mundane work so data teams can do meaningful work faster and more effectively. With a self-learning knowledge graph, and a user-friendly conversational interface that adapts to business users and the most technical data team members, Seek helps businesses get to answers, fast.

From Astrophysics to AI: A Unique Path

Sarah's academic background in astrophysics and her transition into the world of finance as a quantitative analyst set the stage for her eventual foray into data science. Her curiosity and determination to excel in fields not traditionally dominated by women are a testament to her resilience and dedication to her passions. Sarah's journey underscores the importance of perseverance and the willingness to embrace challenges in pursuit of one's goals.

The Birth of Seek AI

The inception of Seek AI was driven by Sarah's firsthand experiences with the inefficiencies in accessing and analyzing data. As a data scientist frequently approached for routine data queries, Sarah envisioned a solution that could automate these tasks, freeing up valuable time for more complex analysis. The advent of large language models presented an opportunity to realize this vision, leading to the creation of Seek AI—a platform designed to democratize access to data insights through generative AI.

Embracing the CEO Role

Transitioning from a technical expert to the CEO of a startup required Sarah to embark on a steep learning curve. From mastering the intricacies of business operations to learning the art of leadership, Sarah's experience highlights the diverse skill set required to lead a company. Her proactive approach to learning, coupled with her ability to adapt and evolve, has been crucial in navigating the challenges of building and scaling Seek AI.

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome and the Power of Networking

Sarah candidly shared her experiences with imposter syndrome and the impact of rejection in the early stages of her entrepreneurial journey. Her resilience in the face of doubt and the strategic use of networking underscore the importance of perseverance and community in overcoming obstacles. Sarah's advice to meet a wide range of people and to seek mentorship resonates with the universal truth that building a strong support network is vital for personal and professional growth.

The Future of Seek AI and Advice for Aspiring Founders

Looking ahead, Sarah envisions Seek AI continuing to lead in the generative AI space, simplifying data access and analysis for businesses and individuals alike. Her journey from a researcher to a CEO embodies the spirit of innovation and the relentless pursuit of improvement. For those considering the path of entrepreneurship, Sarah's story is a reminder of the rewards that come from stepping out of one's comfort zone and chasing after one's dreams with determination.

Sarah's journey and the success of Seek AI serve as an inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs, especially women and underrepresented groups in STEM and business. Her willingness to share her experiences and offer guidance to others exemplifies the type of leadership that not only drives technological advancement but also fosters a more inclusive and supportive professional community.

Listeners interested in the transformative potential of generative AI and the insights from a trailblazing CEO can find solace and inspiration in Sarah's story. As Seek AI continues to evolve and impact the way we interact with data, Sarah's leadership and vision are a beacon for the future of technology and entrepreneurship.

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