Tell me about yourself:
Nilay Parikh, Founder and CEO of Be Global Safety. I am originally from India and moved to the US about 10 years ago. I’m currently living between two cities, Chicago and Raleigh. I founded Be Global Safety 1 year ago. My background is in software product management and advanced manufacturing.
30 second elevator pitch:
At Be Global Safety we are creating an AI powered manufacturing safety software to detect and report near misses and safety incidents in real time. We do this by connecting existing infrastructure such as cameras and sensors in customers’ facilities.
What inspired you to start your company?
The inspiration came from my previous job. I used to work for a global manufacturing firm. That job allowed me to travel around the world to different manufacturing sites such as China, Europe, United States, and India. Over the course of time, I visited about 35 factories and my job was to set up the advanced manufacturing centers. What I saw when I visited these factories was when you take all these factories and compare them to each other, some may have more robots while others might have more manual labor. Even with these factors, the safety process was still the same. It was disappointing to see that while we are talking about Industry 4.0 and the Digital Manufacturing revolution, the safety of our most important assets – the human worker – was still outdated and manual. On the flip side, we saw this as a great opportunity to take a reactive safety process and make it pro-active and in the process of doing so, collect data to prevent safety incidents from occurring in the future.
What’s your favorite part of being an entrepreneur?
That’s a hard one but I would have to say my favorite part is that no 2 days are the same and there is always a new challenge to tackle. One day you could get a call from a customer you were chasing for 6 months saying they are not moving forward but in the afternoon you could get a call from a new customer wanting to implement our solution into 10 factories. It is a roller coaster journey but everything happens in a short span of time. Being a startup and coming from a corporate world, having the ability to move faster and going along and trying new ideas, is a lot of fun. Working with a smaller team and ensuring everyone on the team is enjoying and having the environment to build something new is very rewarding.
Do you have any mentors or role models who have inspired you while you have been building your business?
Oh plenty! The team here at RIoT has been great and very inspirational. In addition, one of my mentors is my previous manager who joined our company as a co-founder and advisor. I love to learn from him. I enjoy meeting people who were in my network that I knew before and now reaching out to them for advice and developing a new relationship and learning from them. Inspiration comes in many forms – from Elon Musk and Walt Disney to the fellow startup founders in the co-working space, there is so much to learn from everyone.
Any advice for fellow entrepreneurs?
The biggest advice I have and this is coming from a brand new entrepreneur, and that is to just get started. You can read all the books, listen to podcasts, watch TedTalks but unless you get started you will never know whether your idea is good and whether you are capable. Most of the time you are capable of being a great entrepreneur but you need the right advisory, mentorship, and support group to test it out. And this does not happen without getting started first.