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Ox Founder Charu Thomas on AI and Entrepreneurship

2 min read

Charu Thomas founded Ox in January 2019, and she has since secured more than $16 million in venture funding for the enterprise software company. She was named one of Forbes 30 Under 30 for Manufacturing & Industry in 2020.

Thomas graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2018 with a degree in industrial and systems engineering, specializing in operations research.

As a young founder, what challenges have you faced, and how have you overcome them?

As a young founder, gaining trust from investors, clients and partners was challenging. Overcoming this required building a strong track record, demonstrating expertise and consistently delivering results. One of the most important components is hiring a world-class team. I am extremely grateful to be surrounded by a group of smart, talented, hardworking people.

Ox has raised more than $16 million in venture capital. What advice do you have for entrepreneurs looking for venture capital?

Connect with investors through events and LinkedIn. Clearly articulate your vision and your unique impact on the world. Provide evidence of market demand through revenue and growth. Partner with the right investors who will back you every step of the way.

What do you wish more people understood about artificial intelligence?

AI safety is crucial as AI becomes more integrated into daily operations. Ensuring ethical use, transparency and robust safeguards can prevent misuse and build trust.

What was it like creating a startup and seeing success at a young age?

It is an exhilarating and humbling experience. The journey has been filled with highs and lows, requiring resilience and a willingness to learn continuously. Achieving this level of success has reinforced the importance of having a clear vision, surrounding myself with a talented and dedicated team, and maintaining a relentless focus on solving real-world problems. It’s incredibly rewarding to see our hard work and innovation make a tangible impact on the lives of frontline operators.

What insights would you offer to business leaders looking to better understand and collaborate with Gen Z?

Embrace technology: Leverage best-in-class capabilities. Prioritize transparency: Be open and honest. Focus on purpose: Highlight your mission.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Embrace uncertainty and be comfortable with not having all the answers. The entrepreneurial journey is unpredictable, and it’s essential to stay adaptable. Building a startup involves navigating uncharted territories, and it’s OK to pivot and evolve the strategy as new insights and opportunities arise.

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