Swae gains Developer Access to OpenAI’s invite-only GPT-3 API to accelerate its existing AI capabilities

Swae gains Developer Access to OpenAI’s invite-only GPT-3 API to accelerate its existing AI capabilities

January 12, 2022 | For Immediate Release


Swae gains Developer Access to OpenAI’s invite-only GPT-3 API to accelerate its existing AI capabilities 

Swae, a Vancouver-based technology startup that provides organizations with an idea management and decision-making platform, has been granted developer access through a rigorous application-only process to OpenAI’s GPT-3, the most powerful artificial intelligence natural language model available today.

Swae’s AI capabilities will be powered by GPT-3, the most powerful language model to date.

Swae: Powered by GPT-3

OpenAI’s GPT-3 is an advanced AI language model that produces “natural language”. It currently generates an average of 4.5 billion words per day, and according to OpenAI, there are 300 or so applications globally that have been granted access to build their AI capacities leveraging GPT-3.  

Swae’s platform utilizes a proprietary process combining AI, collective intelligence or wisdom of the crowd, and anonymity to help more marginalized voices bring ideas forward from the bottom to the top, to reveal trapped insights and solutions, disrupting the traditional and more hierarchical process of decision-making found within most organizations.

Gaining developer access to the API not only gives Swae’s developers the ability to leverage advanced AI capabilities to complement the existing algorithms in the platform, but Swae’s users benefit from this sophisticated technology to further improve the quality of their ideas

Pictured left shows Swae’s AI capabilities and reviewing process, whereby users benefit from various NLP AI algorithms to improve the quality of their initial proposal or idea.  Some of Swae’s algorithms improve basic grammar, tone, sentiment and emotion, and more advanced algorithms under production will help detect bias in language and suggest evidence to further strengthen their ideas. All of these improvements happen to the idea prior to crowd editing and review, to ensure the ideas have the best possibility


The specific features Powered by GPT-3  that will be integrated within Swae platform include “title suggestion” and “text generation/paraphrasing”. These enhanced features will allow users to generate more punchy and attractive titles for their creative ideas, while helping them rephrase complicated sentences into more direct and succinct sentences. We believe democratizing access to advanced written editing and communication skills through AI will help level the playing field in terms of ability to create well written proposals. In return, decision makers will be better able to engage their whole workforce and receive diverse and well-written solutions to the biggest challenges their organizations face both today and tomorrow, all from the bottom-up. 

We are thrilled to integrate GPT-3 into our platform. The OpenAI API will allow Swae to continue on our mission to give everyone a voice, allowing organizations to uncover and benefit from the untapped collective intelligence from within. We also have a shared dedication and commitment with OpenAI to developing AI safely and responsibly.

Soushiant Zanganehpour Founder & CEO

AI continues to transform industries and will allow for entirely new ones to emerge. We at Swae are keen on creating and using state-of-the-art tech to to give everyone a voice, transforming how people collaborate and participate in decision-making processes in any organization.

AI helps the ideas formed through Swae’s “proposals”, stand a greater chance of being successful/implemented. A range of NLP algorithms help users write a stronger pitch for whatever creative solution or issue they wish to raise with others in their organizations. One of the biggest barriers to having a seat at the table, is a lack of clear and compelling communication skills, and we’re hoping to solve this with our particular use of AI. The addition of GPT-3 into our portfolio of AI solutions will open many possibilities based on text generation. OpenAI’s latest model can create text of unparalleled fluidity and contextual awareness. We are happy to announce that Swae can now create catchy titles for your ideas and paraphrase entire paragraphs at a click of button, thanks to integrations with OpenAI’s newest API. Our engineering team is also prototyping new exciting features that could change the way you think about writing your proposal, so stay tuned for future announcements! 

All this, together with our proprietary AI solutions for emotion, sentiment, readability and bias detection (coming soon) will allow Swae to set a new standard in collaborative ideation and bottom-up decision-making.”

Vlad Sokol Head of AI & Engineering 

GPT-3 is the most powerful language model ever. Its predecessor, GPT-2, was already able to spit out convincing streams of text in a range of different styles when prompted with an opening sentence. But GPT-3 is a big leap forward.

The model has 175 billion parameters (the values that a neural network tries to optimize during training), compared with GPT-2’s already vast 1.5 billion. And with language models, size really does matter.

-MIT Technology Review

FOFO business leaders not listening
Elon Mush
Elon Mush


Swae is an idea management and decision-making platform that reveals solutions to problems directly from employees or stakeholder groups.

Founded in 2018, in Vancouver Canada, Swae’s platform disrupts the traditional hierarchy found within large organizations and provides a transparent and inclusive hub for ideation and collaboration. The combination of collective intelligence, AI and anonymity provide the foundation for users to provide critical feedback, improve ideas and vote on which ones move forward.

Organizations around the world use Swae to brings all voices to the table so they can uncover and benefit from the untapped collective intelligence from within.

For more information, visit www.swae.io or contact Swae’s Media Relations Team here.

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EMC Insurance x Swae: Unleashing workforce creativity & crowdsourcing ideas to drive culture and strategic innovation initiatives

EMC Insurance x Swae: Unleashing workforce creativity & crowdsourcing ideas to drive culture and strategic innovation initiatives

Swae pilot program launched to help demonstrate that employee feedback and insights can drive business performance and that hearing all voices is an essential ingredient for an evolving culture and workplace.

EMC Insurance Companies was founded in 1911 and is built on more than 110 years of serving policyholders and independent insurance agents. EMC employs more than 2,400 employees in 19 locations across the United States and is in the top 60 property/casualty organizations and is one of the largest in Iowa, based on net written premium. (Source: https://www.emcins.com/)

Over the years, EMC developed a perspective about what innovation means to them: it is more than technology: innovation is about building a culture of trust and encouraging innovative thinking by empowering employees and discovering unique ways that strengthen the organization and serve customers in new ways.

To further these intentions, EMC and Swae will be working closely to leverage Swae’s platform and offline capabilities to help crowdsource ideas from a larger pool of employees, empower leadership across the enterprise to drive deeper collaboration efforts, and unleash more creativity for workplace improvement and innovation.

While there are a lot of ways to give employees a voice inside EMC currently — from engagement surveys to learning sessions and focus groups — there are gaps with these instruments in turning voice into action and potential decisions that lead to workplace improvement or innovation. Partnering with Swae is intended to fill these gaps by giving everyone a safe, formal, and merit-based process for expressing ideas, making decisions, and identifying potential solutions that can be prioritized efficiently with the help of the crowd and gain deeper engagement.

According to Mary Harvey, Business Innovation Specialist within EMC’s Innovation Team, “In this pilot, we are bringing team members together to shape the future of how we share ideas across EMC.”

Swae’s mission is to empower unheard voices within organizations to ensure that leaders can identify problems and hear about investable solutions quickly. Another driving goal is to help leaders hear the truth of what’s going on inside their organization so they can better prioritize and reduce the potential biases in important strategic decisions.

Swae’s driving goals is precisely what Angela Noble, Vice President of Innovation and Lead of EMC’s Innovation Team, is hoping the pilot program and platform will help EMC begin to achieve:

“We hope Swae will help us fill gaps by giving team members a voice and highlighting what’s most important to our people. This will also empower leadership to know what’s most important, respond to ideas and make decisions.

We know Swae can have a major impact in large companies like EMC on many levels — from encouraging deeper engagement, boosting morale and trust, to sourcing challenges and solutions to drive workplace improvement and the innovation strategy — all of which can truly transform the way leaders include others in sourcing challenges, finding solutions, and making better decisions faster. Some problems within large organizations can’t be discovered unless you have everyone’s input. From past implementations, by using Swae, leaders were able to hear problems they didn’t even know existed and unleashed the creativity of their own people to solve their organization’s problems.

EMC’s Innovation Leader Angela Noble has high expectations of Swae,

“We hope Swae is the platform that empowers team members to share ideas safely, enables leaders to understand team member priorities, and creates opportunities to respond and make decisions in an efficient, transparent way that supports the innovative culture we’re building at EMC. ”

We’re excited to help Angela, Mary, employees and the leadership at EMC achieve these results at the end of this pilot!

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Former Netflix Head of Engineering Joins Swae’s Seed Round as Lead Investor, and Joins Advisory Board

Former Netflix Head of Engineering Joins Swae’s Seed Round as Lead Investor, and Joins Advisory Board

Swae Celebrates New Partnership with William and Eugene Eisenman: Experienced Technology Executives & Angel Investors With Winning Track Record of Turning Early-Stage Risk Into Scaleable Success
William and Eugene Eisenman Angel Investors In Swae


William‌ ‌Eisenman‌‌ is a former Captain in the US ‌Navy‌. He graduated in three years with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Chemistry concurrently. During his first year of college, the Navy was actively recruiting him to join the CBRN division. After joining, he quickly rose through the ranks to become one of the youngest Captains in the military for his time. After his time in the military, he transitioned into the technology sector. He has held various executive and leadership roles throughout his career in tech. He is most well-known for his accomplishments at Netflix, where he is the architect behind the Video Streaming Platform, and at Palm, where he developed the WebOS platform.

William and Eugene Eisenman, along with their other investment partner, operate a family office. William and Eugene Eisenman are a father and son angel investing duo. Some of their team’s past successful angel investments include early positions in Netflix, Callaway Golf, MD Pharmaceuticals, and others, reminding us of the Greek myth of Midas, whose touch turned everything to gold (taking all of the positives of that myth into context here). 

We’re extremely excited to announce that they have become Swae’s Lead Investors in Swae’s seed round, and we’re ecstatic as to what this partnership will bring to Swae as a whole.

“Those that invest in Swae become part of our startup family. We develop a strategic and close working relationship with each of our investors so that we can together advance Swae’s platform and offer to develop more powerful ways to bring value to the world.” — Soushiant Zanganehpour 

Already, William and Eugene have spent countless hours conducting due diligence on Swae, reviewing the code base of the platform, UX/UI, and AI systems. They’ve shared important feedback and will continue doing so since William will also be joining Swae’s Advisory Board, bringing his years of experience to bear on important strategic decisions. 

We believe William and Eugene will be a vital source of intelligence for improving Swae’s platform, offering, user experience, and developing innovations outside of our existing roadmap.  

Soushiant Zanganehpour, CEO of Swae, sat down with William and Eugene Eisenman to learn more about their decision to invest in Swae, and the interview is below. In the interview, we learn about who the duo are and what potential and the hidden value they saw in Swae that compelled them to lead our Seed Round.  

Their unique outlook and support to help Swae exceed its goals in 2021 is a thrilling start to the new year!



1. Soushiant: William, your background is extremely diverse and impressive. You went from being a biochemist and ex-Navy Captain to moving into the corporate and technology world in senior positions. From what I’ve seen, all of the companies you’ve worked for or lead at have introduced major innovations and products to shape not only their sector but the world of technology. Let’s first talk about your role in bringing video-streaming to Netflix, I think anyone in tech would want to know more about that!


William: I’ll give some background about my career before Netflix to provide some context moving forward. I was the former Head of Technology Innovation at Read-Rite. I helped take the fifteenth ranked semiconductor, building it into a top-two company and leaving that role to be a Partner joining Capgemini’s consulting practice. 

During my time at Capgemini, I worked with various clients across different sectors like aviation, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, financial, technology, etc. My teams and I were advising these companies on potential acquisitions, scoping out new business opportunities, creating new divisions to go after those markets, scaling their entire business operations quickly and efficiently, amongst other things.  

As I was boarding a plane to meet a few clients, I received a random call from someone at a startup called Netflix. I let them know that we could schedule a time to meet after I got back from my trip to discuss some of the issues they were facing at the time. After my business trip, we met up for lunch, and I was asked to look over their entire processes.

There were No NDAs at the time, so it was relatively easy to gain visibility into their operations and contribute feedback quickly. At that time, they had about a thousand users (1000) and were renting out the DVDs at .25 cents each and shipping them to customers.

They were hemorrhaging money because the cost of sending a DVD was more than the price they charged each customer per DVD rental. My military background and my management consulting experience allowed me to look at their operations and see clearly “this isn’t going to work.” So while we were finishing up lunch, on the back of a paper napkin, I wrote out what I thought it should have been versus what it actually was.

Within a couple of weeks of implementing the changes I had suggested, they reported that they stopped the bleeding and credited me for saving them millions! I was invited back for another lunch, and before I left the lunch meeting, to get into my car and drive away, their VP of Operations, Former CEO Marc Randolph, and now current CEO Reed Hastings chased me down and hired me on the spot!

After I joined, in about 1998/1999, I helped successfully scale their DVD business and switched the revenue model from charging .25 cents per DVD to a monthly subscription service for $19.99.

During this time, I was also pushing them to explore video streaming (though that isn’t what we called it then) because I knew that mailing DVDs one at a time was completely unscalable in the long run regardless of how much we had scaled. I felt that DVDs were going to be a stop-gap between VHS and Streaming. I knew that bringing the content directly to people’s televisions and computers would be the wave of the future, which would reduce the marginal cost of delivery significantly, allowing them to focus on having the best content.

I remember saying to Reed Hastings that we would have to change Netflix’s revenue model to a subscription plan because we didn’t have a good recurring revenue stream.

Even with a subscription before streaming was possible, a consumer could only really rent about 8 discs/month with the mail transactions because of shipping times being 3–5 business days. Originally there were hard limits to their consumption. At the 0.25 cents customers would be paying per video, and we couldn’t even afford the return mail on each transaction.

We were paying 0.57 cents to send a consumer with a return address already provided. This problem was creating huge deficits.

As a transitional step, I implemented technology and automation to assist the sorting and mailing process to get away from the manually laborious and costly process for sending discs to consumers. We brought in a sorting machine similar to the ones in USPS.

I would send data to this sorting machine to segregate each subscriber’s DVD automatically and help with sorting and pre-preparation for the mail delivery. This system, along with Certified mail, helped us improve unit economics and bring down the costs of servicing each customer from .57 cents to about 0.18–0.20 cents, so we were finally making some money.

However, the situation wasn’t sustainable. When I would look at the whole big picture, I could see that wasn’t going to work, even with the subscription model. I also felt like DVDs were going to be a stop-gap technology between VHS and Streaming.

We needed video streaming and a subscription-based business model to make this company viable and sustainable. With the combination of subscriptions and streaming, I believed that we could focus on curating and creating the best content available. I knew that hitting economies of scale was inevitable. I could just see it.

The rest, I guess you can say, is history!



2. Soushiant: And, Eugene, what are more details around your background?


Eugene: My story is directly tied to my father William’s experience. I grew up in the tech and consulting world with him, witnessing and experiencing all of these moments in his career. I guess through osmosis, I picked up a bunch of things along the way from his experiences that have helped me thus far. When my father was a consultant, I went with him to work a lot. I watched how his teams identified key problems, their approach to solving those problems, and presenting their clients’ solutions. 

When he was a Netflix, I was there sitting in many meetings with the leadership team, and they asked me questions about what I thought, to actively beta testing and giving my feedback on the UX/UI of the video streaming platform. At Palm, I was a beta tester for the WebOS platform to find potential bugs or issues and provide feedback on the phone design. I actually helped catch a critical error that the QA team missed, which helped save the company millions of dollars.

I also worked at Alom technologies [where William currently works], where I conceptualized and led the charge to create a fully integrated autonomous warehouse. The fully integrated warehouse utilizes advanced robotics, AI, and Machine Learning to improve and scale all aspects of supply chain logistics for Alom and its customers.

I help create a few features that utilize AI and Machine Learning to choose the most optimal shipping route, the best shipping service to use, and the lowest cost possible. The AI also accounts for potential problems for each company’s supply chain and will actively reroute each customer’s entire supply chain and packages in transit to avoid delays from things like natural disasters in real-time.

Another feature I help create uses Alom’s customer data to forecast potential demand each day of the year. The AI utilizes this data and advanced robotics to continuously optimize daily warehouse inventory flow accounting for potential demand to ensure that all customer’s orders are fulfilled with speed and precision.

The integrated warehouse has allowed Alom to provide more advanced technical features and offerings. These key technological advances empower Alom to continue to service its growing roster of customers, including Fortune 500 companies like Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Walmart, Tesla, Ford, General Motors, McKesson, Genentech, Pfizer, Moderna, and many promising startups like 23andme and Color.

With everything that I mentioned before, you would think I had a degree in something related to tech, but my background is actually in Finance.  

When I graduated from school, I started working at Goldman Sachs. I quickly realized I would rather work in the venture capital and private equity space, so I started out doing secondary market transactions for VCs and founders, getting liquidity for their shares. I’ve since led the sourcing and diligence process of several of our potential Angel Investments for our family office. I also act as an operating partner that is actively helping founders with product improvement, UX/UI, and other aspects as necessary to help them out in any way that we can.



3. Soushiant: William, looking back at the many changes in your career, is there an arc of interest that guided your decisions, or were they spontaneous? For example, what made you jump to a high-risk company like Netflix from a safe bet like CapGemini or go to a high-risk company like Alom from the safe haven of Palm? Do these decisions provide some insight into your tolerance or understanding of risk?


William: As I shared before, I was a former Captain in the US Navy working in the CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear) Division. My experience in the military and, in particular, the pressure of being entirely responsible for the lives of many other people really tuned my senses to pick out situations where risks were too high or vice versa where risk could be managed. At the time, if I made the wrong decisions, I could kill one of my subordinates or other members of the US military worldwide. 

My choices could either cause harm to members within our military, or I could find solutions that would get the job done and keep us all safe. If you were overseeing departments in the military, you would be tasked with dealing with the department budgets. I was fortunate enough to be blessed with the burden of always getting less money than I asked for and told to accomplish the same goal anyway.

This time in my life taught me many great skills and lessons that have been a foundation for my military and tech career. I learned leadership, how to carefully assess and manage risk, accomplishing goals with limited resources, and learned that change is the only constant you either change to win or try to cope with the change.

When I transitioned to the technology world, I worked for Read-Rite, a semiconductor company built on chemical engineering. I was Head of Technology Innovations, where I essentially created and built out the Innovation group.

Because of my strong chemistry background, I had the technical foundation and requisite skills to jump in and be useful immediately.

But when we began manufacturing, I realized that I was a natural systems thinker and had a knack at looking at multifaceted systems with multiple moving parts and could see ways to make them better. After realizing I am a systems thinker that was attuned to risk, I could present solutions to optimize processes.

When I left Read-Rite, they were one of the top two semiconductor companies in the world. Read-rite certainly wasn’t a safe bet when I first joined and were maybe in the top fifteen at the time. After I left, within five to seven years, they were out of business because they thought far enough ahead of everybody and stopped innovating.

When I joined Palm, they were one of three industry-leading telecommunications companies at the time. The other two industry-leading companies were Nokia and Blackberry. Now the industry leaders are Samsung and Apple. Those three companies, Nokia, Blackberry, and Palm, all got beat out by companies that weren’t even making cellphones.

During my time at Palm, I joined to create the next innovative phone. I developed the WebOS platform with the intent to build an all-touchscreen phone similar to Apple’s iPhone. Everyone in that space knows that building an OS system is the most important thing and making a good OS system is really difficult.

The phone design is a lot easier, and changes can be done pretty quickly. Unfortunately, Palm wasn’t willing to change. They wanted to stick with the Palm Pilot and PalmOS platform that made them famous. They were content to keep making the same Palm Pilot, making a few changes here and there. All of these companies stopped innovating, Palm specifically went out of business five years later and got bought only for my WebOS platform. The same fate could be in store for Samsung and Apple if they stop innovating.

The only company that still exists today that I worked for is Netflix, and they are now a household name that changed the way society consumes content and entertainment. We went from sending DVDs in the mail directly to customers to successfully curating and creating the best content possible for consumers to watch via streaming. Netflix is the only company that was willing to continually innovate and kill their existing business to that point in order to continue to succeed.

There isn’t any company or investment with a zero risk factor, which is fine with us. There is a risk in everything, but the way I look at it is that you can either be a part of the company, causes or leads all the disruption or innovation, or be a part of the company that is getting disrupted by innovation.

When in doubt, we always choose disruption and innovation over the status quo.  

We like to choose the company causing all the disruption, whether that be in public markets or investing in startups looking to disrupt larger companies across sectors. In the greatest win or take all economy, change is the only constant; you either change to win or cope with the change when you lose. Every single company has the possibility to go out of business in a short period of time if they stop innovating and stop playing to win. There is no safe bet except to continually bet on change, which is the driving force behind disruption and innovation.

I assess opportunities by stepping backward, looking at the entire picture, and finding out where all the octopus tentacles go, mapping all potential opportunities. That is why we’re investing in Swae. We feel like Swae has the potential to be the platform that allows companies to see all the opportunities for growth, new business, and changing with times. We believe Swae can be the tool that keeps you at the forefront of innovation instead of being that company getting disrupted by everybody else. There are a lot of great places and opportunities for Swae to go!




4. Soushiant: Eugene, as a close outsider looking at your father’s decisions, what did you notice that he may not be sharing? What, in your opinion, guided his decisions? What did he see that no one else really did?


Eugene: This may sound cliché, but my father has always seen, experienced, and done things differently in life, going against the grain.

For example, my grandfather was also in the Navy, so my father’s family moved around a lot, going from base to base. He grew up in Japan and then in Germany before they immigrated to the US when my father was around the age of 10–11. He taught himself to speak fluent English just from watching six months’ worth of television.

That same year my father immigrated to the US, the principal at his school realized he was incredibly gifted and offered his parents the opportunity to let my father skip grades 7–12 to go directly to college. His parents didn’t think that an 11-year-old should be at university at such a young age by himself because he was still just a child. With the principal’s help, they were able to enroll him as an 11 year old into the local community college. During his time there, he was enrolled in classes, became a teacher’s assistant, and even began teaching multiple courses by the end of his first year attending that community college.

Another example comes to mind. When my father was enrolled in university, he received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s in Chemistry concurrently in three years, a feat that is impressive in itself. Anyways, when professors assigned labs, he would always write out what the lab results would be and just turn it in without actually doing the lab experiment because he did the entire lab in his head. He was always able to conceptualize what the answer should and would be. He’s always been able to see how things are going to unfold.

As a final example, my father had a semester-long project that involved tracking fruit flies with genetic defects. This process is pretty painstaking slow and took a lot of time to complete. My father was attending university full-time to complete his dual degrees and juggled three jobs simultaneously. So he didn’t have the time to be there to track everything going with the fruit flies, so he taught himself to write Assembly to get the computer and machines in the science lab to track it all for him.

My father loves to learn new things, which interests him a lot because lifelong learning is a core value. He masters new things incredibly quickly and then gets bored extremely quickly. So, this process of learning and doing new things drives him.

Also, from observing him my entire life, it doesn’t really matter what company he touches. He is the star of the show, and I know he has the skillset, mental tools, the self-confidence to see the roadmap and navigate the journey to reach success. You just need to let him just do his thing, and everything should work out for you in the end.

I also think his consulting background and military experience gave him tools and frameworks to understand risks and account for risk better than others. His unique experience and view of the world allow him to see risks or opportunities before they were apparent to others. We both are similar in our approach to risk and managing it. We both use some variation of the scientific method, utilize principal based thinking and decision making when analyzing any career or investment decisions we make.




5. Soushiant: William and Eugene, we’re extremely excited for the depth of experience and unique genius you’ll bring to Swae! Maybe this is a good segue about decision making into investments and your understanding or appreciation of risks. If you have a rubric or a set of criteria, what patterns did you see in Swae that led you to make the investment?

William: Swae is technically our first investment outside of the US. We were impressed with your pitch to the Walton Family and their Scale Challenge, organized by the Centre for Advancing Innovation.

As I explained earlier, I am always all about optimizing processes to create systems that work with the vision. I can see how things connect and I’ve always seen the employees as the truly valuable resource that a company has. I believe that everyone has a good idea or pieces of a good idea which causes you to make a command decision. So, that’s how Swae comes into the picture.

Back when I was a manager, we didn’t do it with the formality that Swae provides, by typing in feedback, etc. It was more a water cooler kind-of-thing, where people would get around a machine and talk about what was working and what wasn’t. We used to call this process Total Quality Management.” With Swae, leaders can make pulling ideas from a larger pool of their own people a formalized part of their processes.

Eugene: When we’re considering investments, When we’re considering investments, we’re all about investing in potentially disruptive and innovative companies, and in the Founder or Co-Founders — those are the biggest determining factors. When you deal with a lot of people, you start to see different tendencies and we believe that we’ve gotten pretty good at seeing what makes them successful. In terms of judging criteria, we actually have very long criteria, but I’ll try to keep it to three or four main topics with key points from our criteria that must be met for us to invest. Swae hit all of our criteria!

Our criteria are:

1. Founder or Co-Founders with different or unique backgrounds:

a. Diversity: We prefer to invest in founders and founding teams with at least one or more of the following — A woman, a minority (Person of Colour), an immigrant, or a child of an immigrant. This is a huge asset, especially in certain sectors.

b. Previous Experience:

  • Is this the first company you are starting? Do you have previous experience with a startup or running a business?
  • Are you an expert in that specific field that you are starting a company in? Are you the correct founder(s) to bring this to market or is somebody else better suited to execute the same idea?
  • We like founders that are either older or younger but it depends on what they are doing. Sometimes the experience really matters and sometimes the inexperience is more helpful.
  • Do you have previous experience together or do you have good chemistry? Do you even like working together?
  • Do you have complementary skill sets?

c. Personality Traits and Characteristics:

  • People from the groups I mentioned above usually are more successful because they have a giant chip on their shoulders. They tend to have grit, a strong work ethic, are more resourceful, better at capitalizing on more opportunities, and are motivated by something bigger than just themselves.
  • Opinionated founder(s) who have a compelling view for how something should be or will be.
  • An extreme sense of ownership. We want you to take pride in what you are doing and be passionate about it. You’re always thinking about your startup consciously or unconsciously.
  • You pay attention to the little details. Those little details add up can be a big driver of success.
  • Asking for help when you need it and consistently seeking out critical feedback
  • The ability to analyze situations and make important decisions with conviction leaning heavily on your gut instinct without data to back it up.
  • If you need all the data or information to make a decision then you missed your opportunities, your company isn’t innovative and you are likely to go out of business in the near future.
  • Ability to double down on their position and at the same time be willing to completely abandon their position, that shows real leadership.
  • The landscape is always changing, and you need to adjust accordingly. You either change to win or you cope with change when you lose. You don’t win awards for doubling down on something that puts you out of business or knowing that you made the wrong decision and continuing down the path even though you see red flags everywhere.


2. Product, Market, and Market Timing:

  • Is this idea or product even viable?
  • Do you have product-market fit?
  • Is there a customer who would pay you to use your product?
  • Is there room for this in the marketplace?
  • Is this the right time for this idea to come to market for customers and consumers?
  • Are you building something too ahead of its time? Can you stay alive until everything catches up?


3. Networks Effects, Frequent and Repeated usage, Marketplaces and Platforms

  • We prefer Platforms or Marketplaces but are perfectly fine if a startup isn’t either of those. Each kind of startup investment presents its own unique challenges along the way.
  • Network effects are a double edge sword, it can either scale your business quickly or can kill it just as fast.
  • If you combine both aspects, you can create something special. On the one hand, you can create monopolistic companies and, on the other hand, create a company to challenge those monopolistic companies at the same time.
  • For example, Amazon vs. Shopify and Instagram vs. Snapchat vs Tik Tok

4. Cash Management, Bankroll Management, and making Asymmetric bets:

As a founder, you need to account for every dollar you have in the bank and understand how to allocate it effectively. Founders also need to be great with bankroll management and making asymmetric bets. You can never make a bet that is too big that it depletes your entire bankroll. These bets you take with your company can have high risk, and you need to manage the risk accordingly. If the bet works out in your favor, the company can make significant gains, and if it doesn’t work out, your company would still be alive to reassess and move forward.

These things have become less of a concern to many founders because of how large startup valuations and funding rounds have become. It’s essential for founders to really understand this because although these valuations and funding rounds have gotten larger, you may not be able to raise any money at all or receive any additional investments. Covid-19 has only highlighted the importance of accounting for all the money you have, bankroll management, making asymmetrical bets. Just remember that most startups don’t get funding and don’t get bailed like airlines or banks.

William: Let me add that when we looked at your customer data and the customer feedback, we were using it to validate what we had thought of your product in the demonstration you provided.

You [Soushiant] had said that you didn’t yet think you had a Product-Market fit and arrived at that fact by carefully reviewing customer data and usage trends. Upon recognizing the patterns, you made changes and talked us over changes in your general logic flow.

That sealed the deal for us because you actually arrived at the fact of how to get product-market fit, and you were open enough to make changes and talking over changes to your general logic flow which shows that you are agile. Your approach and thinking gave us tremendous comfort in investing. It was clear you were making changes to your logic and feature set to arrive at a better offering to really nail product-market fit.

Not everyone is like that. Many other founders we see have blinders on and they don’t see any of the changes that need to go on around them. When those teams do the short-term actions, they always get blindsided later. We didn’t see the same failed approach in Swae.

Eugene: Additionally there was customer feedback that stuck out to us in your customer feedback is that someone said:

Swae User Feedback: “I feel like I have a voice, this is what freedom feels like!”

If you can affect somebody at that level, then you really have something valuable! We believe that Swae is the platform that allows companies to really utilize and leverage their real competitive advantage which is their own human capital inside of their organization.


William: As a leader, I’ve found that the people that are on the front lines, or the people that are dealing with customers every day, those “in the trenches” are the ones that consistently can tell management where the problems are.

From personal experience in our own operations adapting to Covid-19, our temp hires have been the ones raising issues and telling us what the problems were in our operations. Those people in the trenches doing the actual work can tell us things that we could never actually see. Management would eventually see what those people see but way later, after spending a lot more money experiencing production problems and quality control issues. The others saw them earlier because they’re on the floor.

With Swae’s product, it would allow them to tell us quickly, and allows them to get credit! In a lot of companies, they may not get credit.

For me, if everybody figures out how to solve the problem together, then everybody has a little piece of the pie and then the right people can get in there to fix the problem and keep everybody making money and keep everybody employed.

Swae can show HOW you can actually get insight back from the people that are “in the trenches: so to speak. Swae will allow them to tell leadership without backlash.

Many companies today with this COVID-19 challenge, they’re running 24-hours a day, seven days a week, so making people’s voices heard inside of their organization is essential to their success.

Eugene: Since people can stay anonymous when putting their ideas on the Swae platform, employees get to say their part without fear of retaliation in any way from management or from their peers and that is key!

Let me ask you when was the last time in a company where you had a boss ask “Hey Soushiant, what do you think of this? What’s your input on this decision?” That type of bottom-up feedback on important ideas and decisions rarely happens. If it does, the manager may often take credit for your good idea and if it goes badly you may catch all the blame.

The problem is compounded further if you’re a minority, for example, going into tech or going into any other fields, you probably feel like an outsider already, so naturally you are less inclined to stick your neck out, and speak up to offer your thoughts or ideas. More than likely you will just put your head down, do what you are told and try to not rock the boat.

Swae can solve a bunch of different problems at the same time — improving information sharing, idea generation, empowering introverts or outsiders, increasing diversity and inclusion, solving for toxic work cultures, and many more.



6. Soushiant: Have you seen similar solutions to what Swae offers in the market? Why do you think Swae differs?


William: Not really. Now since companies are all looking at remote work the in-person meetings and “watercooler” talk is missing. Swae is like a sophisticated “watercooler” so a bunch of people can formally come to talk about what’s really going on in the company and then figure out how to fix it. 

Swae replaces the need for all of the extra zoom calls just to get a take on what’s going on inside of the organization. Having Swae’s product would really help management to hear what they’re not hearing because they can get all that interaction without actually needing to be there on the floor or in person.

Eugene: A lot of Enterprise companies and SMB’s will have to realize that remote work is here to stay and that technologies must be put into place for your company to thrive in the future. The covid-19 pandemic has created the perfect opportunity for Swae. You can’t bring people together anymore, as we used to, since everyone is remote.  

Society has been gradually shifting towards this for a while, more and more people are becoming digital nomads realizing they don’t need to be tied down to a physical office location to be successful. People have been running successful businesses and making meaningful contributions to their teams with just their computers in the comfort of their homes, at their favorite coffee shop, or vacation getaways. 

I understand why people want to go back into the office and go back to the way things were. In reality, you really just want to work from home and have your kids go back to school. I guarantee that if you go into the office and your kids are in school, you’re going to want to be remote because it’s nice to spend more time with your kids. 

The covid-19 pandemic has caused everyone to reflect and figure out what they value in their personal lives and cut things out that weren’t necessary. For businesses, covid-19 has clearly shown what you were good at, as well as highlight every single flaw and weakness in your business. Many companies were able to capitalize, thriving during the pandemic, experiencing some of the best growth to date.  

But, sadly for many companies, they didn’t experience the same success and this has been one of the most trying times. There is no way to revisit the past and undo what happened. The ripple effect caused by the covid-19 pandemic has and continues to persist. The only thing you can do now is to reevaluate your business and address those problems to come out of this pandemic stronger than ever. 

Swae is poised for the current “new normal” that won’t go away, as well as what the future holds. It’s how business, in general, will need to be done for companies that want to avoid disruption.




7. Soushiant: Do you believe that companies need to maximize the value and unleash the creativity of their employees?


Eugene: Yes. Most companies in traditional sectors are realizing that technology is actually here to stay, it has been disrupting their businesses for a while, and now more than ever, if you don’t change with the times you go out of business. The executives of these companies know that they are behind, all they have to do is look at their peers they came up with and see how many of them are still in business. Many of those companies aren’t here today, and if your company still is, you need to really change to continue to win in business, or else your company will struggle to keep its doors open.

In order to not be disrupted, your business needs to be the company everyone is chasing. If you’re the company everyone is chasing, then you need to everything in your power to keep your edge on the competition. Either way, you look at it, everybody needs to fully leverage and maximize every resource they have. 

The power of a company or organization — is its people. Your employees are the boots on the ground doing the hard work and are the backbone of your company’s success. We believe Swae can be the platform that allows companies to leverage their most important competitive advantage which is their human capital. Companies can unlock their true power of staying competitive by implementing Swae to unlock and leverage their own internal network. 

Covid-19 is a “black swan” kind of event that has really forced a much quicker education curve and adoption for those companies that were resisting this reality or using these kinds of tools to stay competitive. 

But every company will need tools to help them collaborate and be successful.

Swae is positioned on the cusp, to ride the wave of the new normal.



Thank you to William and Eugene for sitting down with our CEO, Soushiant, to share openly about who they are and why they’re investing in Swae. All of us here at Swae are extremely excited to start working on our bigger goals to make our platform all the more powerful and of value to our customers. 

A big goal for our technology team that is led by our CTO, Su Yon Sohn, is how Swae can integrate with other team collaboration and project management tools in 2021. We’re looking at integrations with platforms like Microsoft Teams, Slack, Asana, etc. This is just one of the many goals we hope to accomplish this year.

Our mission is to empower unheard voices within organizations to ensure that leaders can identify problems and hear investable solutions quickly, and to hear the truth of what’s going on in an organization so they can reduce the amount of bias present in important strategic decisions.

We know Swae can have a major impact within large companies on many levels, and truly transform the way leaders include others in sourcing challenges, finding solutions, and making better decisions faster.  

We know that some problems within large organizations can’t be discovered unless you have everyone’s input. 

The impact that covid-19 has had on businesses globally has set up the “new normal” and there’s no going back.  

Companies need to be positioned to get stronger during this time, not weaker, and Swae is a technology that can’t be ignored. 




LifeLabs Partners with Swae to Crowdsource COVID-19 Business and Operation Adaptations While Keeping Employees Feeling Engaged and Valued

LifeLabs Partners with Swae to Crowdsource COVID-19 Business and Operation Adaptations While Keeping Employees Feeling Engaged and Valued

Swae’s AI-empowered technology drives employee engagement and encourages collaboration building inclusive decision-making processes and healthy, high-performing organizations.



The Business Case for Swae

The Covid-19 crisis has magnified the importance for most business leaders that investing in technologies to keep their employees engaged day-to-day, as well as included in important decision-making processes, isn’t a feel-good measure but critical for driving success.

Employees that feel valued and feel like they’re still a part of decision-making processes will be more engaged, will feel comfortable being “in the know” and will be happier in their roles. When people in an organization believe their voice matters, and believe in the opportunity to influence the agenda, they trust the process and engage more deeply. An engaged employee who has trust invests more discretionary effort and emotional equity than the bare minimum expected.


The opposite is also true. When employees feel excluded from decision-making or feel that there is a lack of transparency about core decisions (especially during a moment of existential crisis like COVID-19), they become disengaged. Disengagement prevents people from feeling like they want to be a part of anything so they’ll stop coming forward with potentially great ideas and useful insights. What follows in this vicious cycle is a lack of trust and lower morale which ultimately negatively impacts productivity, culture, and organizational performance.

That’s why LifeLabs decided to do a pilot program with Swae. Our team is excited to help them create an inclusive culture welcoming bottom-up ideas so that they can start to activate the full potential of their workforce!





LifeLabs performs over 112 million laboratory tests to help diagnose, treat, monitor, and prevent diseases for millions of Canadians. They are the largest private-public laboratories and COVID-19 testing facilities across Canada. 

In this 60-day pilot program, the LifeLabs leadership team is planning to use Swae to engage employees to gather insights and source idea innovations for adaptations to their operational and business models for their now distributed workforce (due to COVID-19). This pilot program with Swae will also help LifeLabs think about the Future of Work and understand how they can adapt processes at the patient services centers in a post-COVID world (a time or circumstance that most of us struggle to see and predict).

With all of this uncertainty, new values are reshaping the workplace every single day, and by using Swae, LifeLabs can turn the participation of their people into a powerful source of innovation potential for their organization. And this isn’t only about employee engagement, but also about providing high quality, defensible ideation, and innovative solutions for the future of the organization.

“Swae is a tool I have been hoping to see developed for many years. It dispels many of the implicit and explicit biases often seen in brainstorming exercises.”

 — Jamie Lepard, LifeLabs Business Continuity Program Manager

Building a culture where employees feel comfortable to “speak up” (also called a “speak up culture”) can, as our customers have seen, 10x employee engagement!

The goal of this relationship is that by implementing Swae’s AI-empowered technology platform, LifeLabs will get more ideas from their stakeholders, include more voices, and raise the quality, intelligence, and legitimacy of decisions. By removing the barriers to inclusion, the process they will reveal. Doing so will boost engagement and all of these things have a long-lasting impact on morale, culture, and performance.




At the most basic level, we are a high-tech suggestion box that can’t be ignored. Unlike the old school suggestion boxes that collected more dust than ideas, helps organizations create a competitive idea marketplace to source from, evaluate, and improve upon the ideas in a collaborative manner.

Swae Partners With IdentityNORTH to Co-Create Their Virtual Summit

Swae Partners With IdentityNORTH to Co-Create Their Virtual Summit

How Swae is helping IdentityNORTH adapt their conference experience to a virtual summit due to the Covid-19 crisis


Over the past month, we’ve had the good fortune of meeting Krista Pawley and the incredible team from Imperative Impact, which is a high-touch advisory firm specializing in helping organizations design great cultures and stronger brands.

Imperative Impact designs and produces IdentityNORTH — a series of events and a community of innovators at the epicenter of digital identity and the digital economy of Canada. Leaders, companies, and big thinkers come together to in IdentityNORTH conferences to share and learn about the innovations that are shaping Canada’s digital future.

Their events touch on topics such as:

  • Digital ID & Authentication
  • Identity & Access Management (IAM) and Consumer Identity (CIAM)
  • The Digital Economy
  • Digital Transformation
  • Blockchain Tech
  • The “Internet of Things”
  • Emerging Standards and Technology
  • And many others…

    How Swae is helping IdentityNORTH adapt their conference experience to a virtual one due to the COVID-19 crisis

    This year, due to the risks and restrictions placed around large gatherings due to the COVID-19 crisis, IdentityNORTH has changed the flagship in-person summit into an entirely virtual experience.

    To ensure an equally positive and high-value experience for their participants online, IdentityNORTH partnered with Swae to bring the conference participants a pre-conference ideation and collaboration tool to help empower their virtual summit.


    How Swae will be utilized for the virtual summit



    In the weeks leading up to the conference as attendees register, they are invited to participate in co-creating the agenda for a portion of the conference, allowing the agenda to accurately reflect the attendee’s interests and learning goals.

    Using the Swae platform, attendees submit proposals for the “UnConference” portion of the event, sharing their big ideas for collaboration on the platform with other attendees. Together they will be able to select and join in on the conversation to vote for the ideas that interest them the most. The agenda ideas that gain the most crowdsourced comments, critical feedback, and votes by attendees are reviewed by the IdentityNORTH executive team and finalized based on a transparent set of criteria and metrics.

    The successful ideas and topics that are chosen and approved on the platform are turned into breakout sessions, essentially allowing the audience to dictate the content for the second day of the conference.

    The Swae platform allows conference organizers like IdentityNORTH to effortlessly gather ideas from the community to co-create the content while allowing attendees to have the ability to directly impact and shape the agenda. Rather than the typical one-directional survey, participants will be utilizing Swae to co-create ideas while allowing communities and groups to crowdsource ideas and make inclusive decisions seamless.

    The conference will take place from June 17–18, 2020, and all of us here at Swae are very excited about this partnership and the potential of supporting other conference organizers like IdentityNORTH. This is a huge opportunity to offer more inclusive experiences for attendees and conference organizers alike.



    Here’s how this all comes together: 

    If you desire to co-create your conference in the same way, click below and let us know more about you to set up a conversation with the Swae team!


    Swae & MSF Canada Renew Partnership to Launch First Digital AGM

    Swae & MSF Canada Renew Partnership to Launch First Digital AGM

    Swae helps Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders Canada rapidly adapt to remote decision-making by digitizing their AGM during the Covid-19 Crisis

    The COVID-19 Crisis is requiring companies and their leaders to rethink and prioritize their digital infrastructure and speed up plans for digitization. The need to empower internal and external stakeholder collaboration and communication in a virtual environment is likely here to stay. From team coordination, alignment, consensus building, strategic formation, governance and policy-making, our physical decision-making processes need to adapt to a world where much more must happen online.

    To answer to evolving market demands, Swae has developed a suite of new products to serve the remote and digital-first reality. Swae’s new products build off the existing core technology platform to further enhance safe, secure, and easy-to-implement online-only methods of communicating and collaborating. These new products include Digital Policy Making, <, and Remote Team Decision-Making tools

    While we have had many clients use Swae’s core platform so far, including Etihad Airways, The Ministry of Innovation and Labour at the City of Juarez, Mexico, and Bosch, the digital AGM version of Swae is a first use case for Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) who will utilize it to for their upcoming virtual Motions and Recommendations General Assembly in June 2020.

    In 2019, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders initially partnered with Swae to hold a more digitally friendly, inclusive, and efficient motions and recommendations review process using the first version of Swae’s platform. In light of the Covid-19 crisis and building off of last year’s positive experience, earlier this year the Canadian section of MSF renewed the partnership and contract with Swae to create MSF’s first virtual Motions and Recommendations General Assembly in 2020 using Swae’s new Digital AGM product (in combination with other governance tools at their disposal such as videoconferencing, website, etc.).

    Swae’s Digital Annual General Meetings (AGMs) product creates a more safe, secure, accurate, and transparent environment allowing every shareholder to attend.

    “Given the implications of the COVID-19 global crisis, now, more than ever, people need the right tools, platforms, and safe environments to make high-quality collective decisions about a lot of things that remain uncertain. We’re proud to renew our relationship with MSF to pilot our latest product — Swae for AGMs. This product helps organizations create a more inclusive decision-making process, create more transparency, and develop healthy competition for the best solutions. Never has it been more important to ease the tensions and make decisions with utmost buy-in,” said Soushiant Zanganehpour, CEO, Swae

    “We’re very excited to be working with Swae again. This year our AGA will be hosted online and Swae’s platform will ensure that despite the challenges of COVID19, our motions process can go forward smoothly and the voices of our members will continue to be heard,”

    Anne Connelly, Board Member
    Motions and Recommendations Committee, MSF Canada.


    How Swae can help your organization make the switch?

    Making the switch after years of traditional annual meetings doesn’t need to be stress-inducing, but involves a change of mindset, adoption of new technologies and processes Making the switch with Swae’s new digital AGM product can make it easier than one would imagine. Take a look through our latest resources to help you make a decision:

    Digital AGM Overview Deck: https://docsend.com/view/yrpr5fvxs5uc6v4c
    Public Launch Date: May 15, 2020
    For more information regarding Swae and the Digital AGM use cases, please contact a Swae specialist here


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