houston innovators podcast episode 123

Houston innovator: The future of decarbonization is data-driven decision making

Sujatha Kumar discusses her decarbonization data company on this week's episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast. Photo via LinkedIn

Decarbonizing the energy industry would be a lot more successful if companies had the tools to more efficiently and accurately track their carbon footprint.

Sujatha Kumar has created that tool with her startup Dsider, a decision intelligence platform with a suite of software tools to equip energy businesses with the data they need to make informed decisions. Kumar, founder and CEO, has spent years consulting companies on finding operational success and now is using her Dsider platform to streamline results.

"When I looked at how companies made decisions — especially in the decarbonization world — I realized there was a big gap to be filled, and that's how Dsider was born," Kumar says on the Houston Innovators Podcast.

"We are creating transparency so that companies can have a digital footprint of how decarbonization can happen, and allowing them to make decisions along the way that are always going to be towards decarbonation and not forgetting that everything has an economic trade off," she continues.

Dsider, a Greentown Houston member company, is targeting the energy industry specifically — oil and gas, petrochemicals, utilities, etc. She says Dsider has the potential to bring decarbonization decision making to other industries as well. For now, Dsider has a few customers and is actively seeking out a few more.

"One of the first few things we want to do is get traction with a handful of customers," "We have the rigor and we are able to make sure the products we have brought to market are really something that is going to land well with customers. From that, we want to see the growth accelerator."

This year, Kumar hopes raise seed funding and grow her team and customer base. She still is working with companies as a consultant with her business, Ayatis LLC. She says the two roles go hand in hand — Dsider is a tool she can offer her consultancy clients.

"We live in that world today where a single role isn't enough for us," Kumar says. "The consulting angle has really helped me think through the customer journey. ... That has really created the Dsider and product journey. In order for me to grow Dsider, I can't balance the consulting that I used to do, so all of my consulting will be geared towards helping customers decarbonize and leveraging Dsider to do that."

Kumar shares more on Dsider's potential impact on decarbonization and how she has observed changes in Houston's innovation ecosystem on the podcast. Listen to the full interview below — or wherever you stream your podcasts — and subscribe for weekly episodes.


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Building Houston

 
 

After working with thousands of interns, Allie Danziger of Ampersand Professionals says she's now got a product to upskill and train new hires for employers. Photo courtesy of Ampersand

After seeing success with her internship training and matchmaking platform, Allie Danziger, founder and CEO of Ampersand Professionals, has expanded the concept to include a new hire training service that allows employers to better optimize the onboarding process and have a well-trained new staff member from day one.

In just over a year, Ampersand has worked with over 7,000 professionals through its original concept of upskilling and matching young professionals to internship programs. A few months ago, Danziger and her team expanded to include career development training for students first entering the workforce with the City of Houston's Hire Houston Youth program. Danziger says it was developing out the platform for this program that proved there was a need for this type of training.

"While we have focused on matching professionals with businesses for paid internships, we recognized a further gap with employers that have their own recruiting/talent acquisition teams, or just their own preferred way of bringing on entry-level talent, and didn’t have a need for our matching platform," Danziger tells InnovationMap. "But, they recognized the benefit of our proven training platform that pre-vets and de-risks their hires, and still wanted access to the training for their own hires."

The new program has evolved from training interns to new hires, so parts of the program that focuses on interviewing or applying for a job have been removed. Instead, the 8.5 hours of training focuses on networking, best practices for working with a manager and team, performance reviews, common software training, and more.

Danziger says usually new hires need the most experienced mentor or manager, but they don't usually get that support — especially when it comes to businesses that don't have their own built-out mentorship or training program.

"Ampersand’s new training product fills that gap — it gives employers of any size any easy solution to provide basic job readiness training to employees, access to our team of dedicated coaches, and a detailed report at the end of their training summarizing how their new hire did in the training and any trends recognized and tips for managing this employee based on what the platform uncovered," she says. "Businesses can also sign up for additional coaching sessions and customize training materials, as an add-on if interested."

The program costs the employer $100 per new employee, and checkout online takes less than a minute. Through both this program and the original internship program, Ampersand is constantly evolving its training content.

"These professionals are going through the same training experience that we have proven out over the last year, and we are constantly adding to based on data we see in the user experience," Danziger says.

Danziger recently joined the Houston Innovators Podcast discuss some of the benchmarks she's met with Ampersand, as well as the importance of investing in Gen Z hires. Listen to that episode below.


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