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I wanted to focus my energy on solving a problem that needs to be solved in the world
Today's entrepreneur is Russell Glass, CEO of Ginger, a company providing mental health care via a telehealth solution.
The company has over 200 companies who offer its services to their employees, including Delta Air Lines, Sanofi, Chegg, Domino’s, SurveyMonkey, and Sephora. Members can also access the service through Ginger's relationships with health plans, including Optum Behavioral Health, Anthem California, and Aetna Resources for Living.
Ginger currently reaches over 650,000 members around the world in 23 countries through its partnerships with employers and health plans. It recently raised a $50 million round of funding, bringing the company’s total raised to over $120 million.
Prior to joining Ginger in 2018, Glass led products for the marketing solutions group at LinkedIn. He is the founder and former CEO and president of Bizo, a B2B marketing and data platform, which he sold to LinkedIn in 2014. While at Bizo, Glass co-authored The Big Data-Driven Business, a guide on how big data can lead to better decision making in business.
He serves on the board of Rock the Vote, where he focuses on using his experience with technology, data science, and branding tactics to increase engagement and turnout among young voters. He is also the author of the children’s book Voting with a Porpoise.
Glass has a BSE in Mechanical Engineering and Economics from Duke University.
If you're an entrepreneur or corporate innovator, why?
I have always loved being an entrepreneur and started my first business when I was 13. I think the opportunity to solve big problems with sheer will, a great team, and thoughtful innovation is a great way to spend my time! I then realized that being able to choose who I work with every day is also a massive bonus to being an entrepreneur.
My favorite startups are:
What Tesla has accomplished is mindblowing.
Why did you start your company or why do you want to innovate inside your company?
I wanted to focus my energy on solving a problem that needs to be solved in the world. As I learned about the huge supply/demand imbalance in mental health, and the tragic amount of need here, I realized that there wasn't much bigger than this problem to focus on.
What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?
Innovation is hard -- and it can be frustrating when the world isn't quite ready for your vision, so it can take quite a bit of evangelism to turn the corner. But it is hugely rewarding when you start to see impact and the people you can affect in a positive way.
What's the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs/innovators make?
Hiring the wrong people.
What are the top three lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?
Hire the right people, build a strong values-based culture that empowers people to succeed, have a clear and focused strategy that is clearly articulated across the organization.
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