Serial Entrepreneur, Angel Investor & Trendspotter
Celebrated by Fast Company as one of the “most creative people in business,” Soraya Darabi is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor with a recognized eye for spotting rising stars, breakout business models and tomorrow’s hottest trends in digital consumerism and consumer behavior. She is the co-founder of two highly successful venture-backed businesses, Zady and Foodspotting. She went on to found Trail Mix Ventures, a venture capital firm investing in design-driven companies that are shaping the future of work, health, wellness and living well. An authoritative speaker with a contagious entrepreneurial spirit, Darabi brings a head-spinning knowledge of the companies, products, services and technologies that you may not know about today, but will probably wish you had invested in five years from now. Read More >
How to Craft a Modern Digital Strategy
Soraya speaks to INSEAD Business School
Soraya on Mobile Innovation
The Social Media Sphere
Winning the Apple App
Social Media Surrounding Tsunami
Any smart CEO wants to be a trendsetter – and, for that matter, a trendspotter. Ahead of the curve. Seeing all possibilities. Able to gain an edge before their competitors can catch up. Staying at the forefront of a given wave in their industry. Doing so often requires a willingness to take risks and prize creativity over reason. Yet many CEOs and other executives are inherently risk-averse. They need to do what they know works best so they can maximize profits, boost their bottom lines, and cater to shareholders, investors, and employees alike. Read More >
So what’s the answer? How can companies square this circle? Soraya Darabi can help you chart a path forward. It begins with not simply saying you want to set and spot trends; you have to make trendspotting a tangible practice in your company. You may even need to create a whole department dedicated to this task as well, all while expanding your research and development shops.
What’s more, executives need to take a look in the mirror and tailor their own leadership approach to the realities of the 21st century workforce. They should consider themselves students as well as teachers – remembering that all five founders of the tech giant Alibaba, for instance, were once teachers in China. They also need to hire for talent and learn how to work with young people today – understand what it means to be a digital native; appreciate how millennials want a seat at the table and a close connection to the C-suite; and see how younger movers and shakers are the most innovative folks in a business’ ranks and will pour every ounce of their creative juices into a project if they feel invested and have a stake in it.
Last but not least: every corporate titan needs to remember the shared quality of all successful entrepreneurs – no fear of failure. Take these tips from serial entrepreneur Soraya Darabi who worked with tiny companies and giant behemoths, and you may start spotting trends sooner than you think. Read Less ^
Entrepreneurship is a much-celebrated concept in economic history worldwide – and for good reason. Entrepreneurs and risk-takers from Silicon Valley to Accra to Shanghai, and everywhere in between, have identified gaps in the marketplace, developed products or services to fill those needs, and transformed how we live in ways big and small. But it’s an idea focused on how companies get off the ground. What happens once a business is larger and more established, and still wants to innovate? Read More >
That’s where “intrapreneurship” becomes key. Intrapreneurs are internal change agents who, like entrepreneurs, see specific problems and seek outside-the-box ways to solve them. The intrapreneur looks at processes within an enterprise, looks for avenues to increase productivity, looks for more effective and efficient policies designed to expand a company’s capacity and reach.
As a serial entrepreneur who’s worked with brand new start-ups and long-established multinationals, Soraya Darabi can share what she’s learned about intrapreneurs, what role they play, why executives should tap into their talents and empower them, and why they are vital cornerstones to any business’ long-term success. Read Less ^
What traits enable one company to thrive for a century or more, while others start up, tread water, then sink in a few years’ time? Read More >
Simply put, no matter how old and established, the most successful and innovative enterprises on the planet know how to stay young. They are nimble. They are experts at spotting trends – and setting them. They boast a close connection between the C-suite executives and the inventive, young movers and shakers rising through their ranks. They build, expand, and sustain robust research and development practices, seeing them not as an extra expense but as an internal think tank for their next great ideas and products.
Perhaps most of all, legacy companies stay young by maintaining the same qualities shared by the entrepreneurs and visionaries who started them: they don’t fear failure. They believe experimentation is crucial and central. And, for many, they’ve embraced what Jack Ma of Alibaba has called “LQ,” the so called “love quotient,” which acknowledges what millennials want from their careers – the understanding that machines don’t have hearts or souls, humans do; human beings add value, creativity, humanness in a seemingly inhumane business world.
Finally, firms stay young by combining old concepts and new – by staying on top of the vast stores of data now available to any business while telling their enduring stories to as many customers or potential consumers as possible – all done over new mediums of the 21st century. Read Less ^
Today’s workforce is unlike anything the world has ever seen. The marketplace is increasingly dominated by a generation of tech-savvy, social media-driven, well-educated digital natives who expect something far different in their careers than their parents did – and whose idea of a workspace involves a standing desk, multiple screens, an open office set-up, and a smart phone practically glued to their hands. Read More >
At the same time, the 1099 economy, also known as the freelance economy (what used to be called the “gig economy”) is on the rise, and everyone from legacy companies to fresh start-ups have to see this trend and embrace it.
And if all of that weren’t altering the landscape fast enough, the economy is now filled with a mix of sectors like wellness and caregiving that weren’t considered viable, independent industries until recently; consultants who work for themselves and on their own schedules; and, perhaps most significant of all, automation that’s literally changing the face of what work is and who workers are.
Soraya Darabi has a simple message for anyone facing or fearing these tectonic shifts: don’t be afraid. Care-giving, empathy, emotional intelligence are all critical to understanding the future. If you take that into consideration, you’ll appreciate how rapid change can be a net positive for your enterprise – and you’ll be more likely to come out ahead. On top of that, fearing what’s already here won’t make new challenges disappear. Robots are here. AI is here. Don’t be afraid. Learn how to take advantage of these evolutions, and the future of work will be your future too. Read Less ^
When we talk about healthcare, most of us usually think of doctors and nurses treating patients in hospital rooms or medical practices, one procedure, one appointment, one physical, one person, at a time. That’s certainly what we’ve come to expect when we go to check in with our physicians. But thanks to rapid evolutions in technology and medical care, that reality is changing – whether we like it or not. And we should like it, because these shifts will make health care more efficient, more effective, more transparent, and more patient-oriented. Read More >
Here’s what new technologies are bringing to the healthcare table: more patient-centered care, where medical professionals spend their time focused exclusively on the person in front of them. Improved and faster communication between doctors and those they treat. Greater patient engagement facilitated by the latest innovations. Robots and automation that aren’t taking over the industry, but will help to transform it.
As someone who’s seen and supported companies on the leading edge of change in caregiving and wellness, Soraya Darabi can share the ins and outs of why the healthcare world should embrace technology as a friend, not a foe – and why doctors and patients alike should see technological innovation as a net positive for all sides of the health equation. Read Less ^
"Soraya exceeded all of my expectations. She addressed all of the concerns that we had on content and then some, and she did a great job of engaging the audience during the Q&A. We actually had to cut the Q&A short, unusual for a keynote. The feedback from those I spoke to was very strong, including from our advisory board. And it was a pleasure to meet her. She's a very dynamic young woman."
"Soraya Darabi was not only an impressive speaker, but she tailored her presentation to us. She was also very approachable and open with students. She pretty much went non-stop for three hours because our students engaged in extended dialogue with her both during the reception and during the luncheon."
"Anyone who wants to understand social media, what makes millennials tick, and the drive to blend entrepreneurship with social impact should rush to hear Soraya Darabi. She weaves a compelling personal narrative with a treasure trove of advice that leaves audiences scampering for more notepad paper. The senior managers at GE left her talk armed with tips and inspired to take action. And I left with a new 'reverse mentor' after I stalked Soraya to keep the conversation going!"
"Please extend our sincere thanks to Soraya for her innovative and inspiring presentation at our annual conference. Her remarks were very thoughtful and right on target with our theme on innovation this year. The audience remained captivated by her knowledge and experience in this area and she brought many thought-provoking ideas to the audience. We received numerous comments on her session and many attendees loved that she challenged our group of educators to ask more innovative and challenging questions of their students. Please thank her for being with us and sharing her important message with the NAIS community."