EVERYDAY SUPERSTARS

Celebrating women who have a passion for technology and digital, inspiring the next generation to dream bigger.

Imaginify was a ... AI Mediator

Anna is co-founder and CEO of Ixy, an #AI mediated messaging app for clearer, calmer conversations

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FACTFILE

1

My favourite book is The Tragedy of the Moon by Isaac Asimov. Read it!

2

We are developing the first Ixy hardware which we nicknamed 'Andrei'. It's fun!

3

Only 30% of Wikipedia editors are women, and I am one of them (due to my weird obsession with birth and publication dates).

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I am responsible for vision, funding, team management, and product for getixy.com, an AI mediated chat app for preventing and resolving conflicts. Ixy helps make friendships better, reducing misunderstandings and improving debate.

How did you get into that?

Ixy as a project is the culmination of decades of studies and investigation into human behaviour, and what to do to make people's lives better. When I felt the technology was ready and available to pursue this goal seriously, I left my background in science fiction, and started building a product and a team to improve and implement these solutions for real. Having conceptualised and founded Ixy in 2016, I embarked on the most interesting intellectual adventure of my life so far, as well as an often overwhelming exploration of what makes us human.

Do you have a mentor or anyone who supports you?

I have four advisors - (1) a neuroscientist investigating brain machine interface and (2) a physicist VC, both serial founders; as well as two high ranking UX researchers, (3) one with neuroscience background herself, (4) the other our first investor. I am in daily/weekly contact with them, and we discuss different aspects of company/product events so I can make more informed decisions, or see the real focal point of a matter more clearly.

WHO INSPIRES YOU?

Evolutionary biologists, game theorists, dramaturgs, investigative journalists, and inventors.

There is no higher form of intellectual activity than a single-minded pursuit of the truth.

What do you wish you'd known 10 years ago? What difference would knowing that have made?

Not that I regret having studied linguistics, philosophy and dramaturgy during my altogether 7 years of university education, but I wish I had studied biology and physics too on the side, as opposed to just in my spare time, as I'm missing some basics (which is annoying).

What are the best things about being a woman in an industry dominated by men?

That's a trick question, as it suggests there are multiple good things about being a woman in the tech industry :) Let me think... To me, the best experience is seeing the women in my team given full confidence and a free range to explore, and being able to inspire others to do the same. As for what's going on in the industry, I would rather not comment, as it's pretty bleak.

What advice do you have for girls or women considering a tech role?

I can only respond to that from a female founder's POV: be alert and prepare that it's going to be very tough, and never trivialise these problems, or pretend they are OK. You will find the problems are not on the technical level of things, not on coding level, but higher up, where the money (investment decision-making) is. So while you're representing your team and their hard work, and are responsible for making their dedication pay off, if you feel that a VC is going too far (e.g. some will hit on you), you must speak up.

What is your favourite quote?

"So let us not talk falsely now 

Because the hour is getting late" - Bob Dylan