Disrupt NY is but a few short weeks away, and the agenda is shaping up to be pretty awesome. Today, I’m pleased to announce that we will be joined by Ford CTO Raj Nair and WayUp CEO Liz Wessel for firesides chats who join the trio of amazing speakers announced yesterday.
Tickets are currently available for Disrupt NY at a super early bird discount rate and applications are about to close for Startup Battlefield. More speakers will be announced in the coming week, but trust me, this lineup is one of our best yet.
But for now, let’s get to know Nair and Wessel:
Raj Nair, Ford CTO
Ford Executive VP of Product Development and Chief Technical Officer Raj Nair owns what makes cars tick, and has a key vantage point at the cutting edge of the ongoing transformation of the auto industry as it looks to accelerate the pace of technical innovation and expand further into service offerings. Luckily, we’ll get the chance to ask him all about that changing world at Disrupt NY in May, where he’s joining us for a fireside chat.
Nair assumed the CTO role at Ford in 2015, so he’s been in the top technical spot during a period of significant change for the company. Ford acquired San Francisco-based on-demand commute company Chariot during that time, for instance, and it also announced plans to further electrify its lineup with 13 new all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles by 2020, including a new fully electric SUV, and plug-in hybrid versions of the iconic Mustang and F-150. Ford also just put $1 billion into a startup working on self-driving AI, and we’ll ask Nair all about that.
Even prior to his joining the C suite at the automaker, Nair’s long history at Ford dates back to 1987, when he joined as a Body and Assembly Operations launch engineer. Since then, eh’s assumed a number of different roles, touch 11 vehicle programs across 13 separate assembly plants, and overseeing engineering for all car, truck and SUV vehicles across both the Ford and Lincoln consumer vehicle brands.
Basically, no one is better-positioned when it comes to knowing the product DNA of Ford inside and out, and few are likely to have a better grasp on what might be coming next for Ford, both in terms of its consumer car business, and in terms of its vision for an autonomous driving future, including its plans to launch an on-demand, self-driving ride-hailing service by 2020.
Liz Wessel, WayUp Co-Founder & CEO
In 2014, Liz Wessel left her job at Google to build a platform that would help college students connect with employers. Finding employment in this climate is difficult for even the most seasoned professionals, so just imagine the difficulty of finding a great job as a college student.
Wessel and her partner JJ Fliegelman started the service as a simple platform that allowed students to create a profile and post a resume, while employers could list available jobs and check out eligible students. Back then, the service was called Campus Job.
Campus Job was different from other job-finding platforms not only because it focused on student applicants, but because it generated revenue by charging employers to unlock applications to their listings.
In January of 2015, Campus Job expanded its business model to allow employers to add extra criteria for each of its listings, like major, minor, extracurricular, etc. The more criteria included on a listing, the more it costs to unlock applicants.
In August, Campus Job rebranded to WayUp. And a few days ago, WayUp made its first acquisition, buying LookSharp for an undisclosed amount. We’ll chat with Wessel about how her company became a winner in a crowded space.
Join us at Disrupt NY to hear Nair talk about the future of mobility and Wessel talk jobs. Disrupt NY runs May 15-17 at Pier 36, and you can purchase extra early bird tickets for just a few more days to the event here.
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