While doing graduate research in east Africa, Kuang saw that one of the biggest barriers to efficient service delivery was the seemingly simple task of getting data from paper into digital form.
Finding patients “lost” to HIV treatment in urban Tanzania and helping community health workers count danger signs in rural Uganda both required processing huge quantities of paper-bound data. In this setting—and in many like it—paper isn’t going away any time soon.
It didn’t take much imagination to see that solving this problem would unlock new possibilities for individuals and organizations using data to help solve scientific, medical, and development problems around the world.
Kuang Chen, Founder
The idea for Captricity came from Kuang’s PhD dissertation. His research focused on data-centric approaches to increase the efficiency of low-resource organizations, so they can better serve their disadvantaged clients.
While doing research in Tanzania and Uganda, he experienced firsthand the importance and difficulty of transforming data from paper forms to computable formats. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from UC Berkeley, a BS in Computer Science and a BA in the Comparative History of Ideas from the University of Washington.
Brian Busch, Business development
A Denver native, Brian is passionate about bringing new ideas and products to market. While completing a MBA at UC Berkeley-Haas, he advised several new, fast-growing companies and developed their business models in diverse industries, including clean water, mobile education, and social networking in developing countries.
Prior to Haas, Brian spent nearly four years with a microfinance fund manager based in San Jose, Costa Rica. He developed and managed two risk management training programs targeting development finance institutions throughout the region. Brian also holds a BS in Finance and a BA in Philosophy from Boston College.
Nadja Haldimann, Design
Nadja is a user experience designer with 14 years of professional experience. Born and raised in Switzerland, Nadja moved to Seattle in 1997 to pursue her interest in technology and user-centered design. At Microsoft she rose from Visual Designer to Product Design Lead on the MS Office team. She was directly responsible for the look and feel of Office XP and Office 2003 and as a manager had broad design impact across many of Microsoft’s best-selling software applications including Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint. She holds several US design patents related to visual and interaction design.
Nadja’s focus is effectively communicating information with the user in mind. Her unique background combines a practical, user-centered approach to design with a minimalist sense of aesthetics.
Nick Jalbert, Tech
Nick hails from the East Coast. As an undergraduate at the University of Virginia, he researched bug tracking in open source software. As a graduate student in the Berkeley EECS department, he researched fixing bugs in other people’s code. These days, he spends his time fixing (the many) bugs in his own code.
Ian Smith, Tech
Ian Smith is a general purpose software engineer who acts like he is the Chief of Technical Staff for Captricity. He started his career in computer science research, with long stints at Xerox PARC and Intel Research in Seattle. Prior to Captricity, he was CTO of numerous startups in Seattle and Paris, France. He’s re-adjusting to the Bay Area, having moved from the 3rd district of Paris with his wife and small dog.
Trevor F. Smith, Tech
Trevor has been a browser engineer at Be, Inc., a server engineer at i-drive.com, and a prototype engineer at Xerox PARC. His recent projects include the infrastructure underpinning the dynamic art in the new San Jose airport terminals and an implementation of the Synthetic Biology Open Language library.
Andrea Spillmann, Customer Engagement
Andrea recently completed her Master’s of Public Health at UC Berkeley, where she focused on the nexus(es) of IT, health, and development. Her previous work spans academic medicine, health startups/Health 2.0, and ICT for development. Andrea is especially excited to be joining Captricity after having worked on earlier versions of the project through Berkeley’s School of Information.
Yoriyasu Yano, Tech
Yori holds Bachelor’s degrees from UC Berkeley in Computer Science and Cognitive Science. He developed his love for computers through his experience with robotics and AI in the First Robotics Competition during his high school years. While working half-time, he had the highest GPA at UC Berkeley’s College of Letters and Sciences when he graduated.
Captricity is backed by a group of world-class investors.
Advisors and Board Members
Dave Goldberg is the CEO of SurveyMonkey, the world’s leading provider of web-based survey solutions. He has been a successful entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and technology and music industry executive. He has run, and successfully grown, several online consumer businesses.
Dave founded LAUNCH Media Inc. in 1994, which delivered music and music-related content online, and he led the company through its acquisition by Yahoo! in 2001. Following the sale, Dave served as Vice President and General Manager of Yahoo! Music, where he led the company’s global music operations and built it into the Internet’s most popular music destination. During his tenure, traffic increased from two million to twenty five million unique users per month, and four billion music videos were streamed in 2006 alone. In 2006, Dave was named one of Billboard Magazine’s top power players in digital music. Recently Dave served as an Entrepreneur in Residence with Benchmark Capital where he evaluated investment opportunities for the firm and advised portfolio companies. Earlier in his career, Dave was Director of Marketing Strategy and New Business Development at Capitol Records. Dave also serves on the Board of Directors at Ancestry.com, GMG Entertainment and Dashbox. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with a BA degree in History and Government.
Joseph M. Hellerstein
Joseph M. Hellerstein is a Professor of Computer Science at UC Berkeley. His work focuses on data-centric systems and the way they drive computing. In 2010, Fortune Magazine included him in its list of 50 smartest people in technology, and Technology Review magazine included his work on Distributed Programming on their 2010 TR10 list of the 10 technologies “most likely to change our world.” He serves on several advisory boards, including those of EMC and SurveyMonkey.
Tapan Parikh is an assistant professor at the UC Berkeley School of Information. He was also named Technology Review magazine’s “Humanitarian of the Year” in 2007. He holds an ScB degree in Molecular Modeling with Honors from Brown University, and MS and PhD degrees in Computer Science from the University of Washington.
Christophe Bisciglia is founder and CEO of WibiData, a company focused on next-generation large-scale data storage, serving and analysis. He previously founded Cloudera, the leading provider of Apache Hadoop-based software and services. Previously he was a senior software engineer at Google where he founded the Academic Cloud Computing Initiative which provides Google-hosted computational resources, in partnership with the National Science Foundation, to facilitate research and education involving large scale, data-intensive, computing systems. He holds a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Washington.
Evan is currently CTO and heads engineering at Twilio. He co-founded Twilio in 2008 to provide a web standards-based API for businesses to build scalable, reliable communications applications that make and receive phone calls and send and receive SMS messages. As a part of his role at Twilio Evan is responsible growing the engineering organization and setting technical direction. Evan was previously a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in network security and distributed systems at the University of Michigan where he completed his M.S. and Ph.D. in computer science.
Jeff J. Lin
Jeff co-founded Captricity with Kuang Chen in 2011. He previously spent five years at Microsoft working on consumer-facing software and services, first at MSN and then at Bing Maps. He holds a BS in Computer Science and a BSE in Technical Communication from the University of Washington.
In previous lives, he was a founding member of the rock band Harvey Danger and served as editor and publisher of a small newspaper, the International Examiner. He hopes the collapse of the music and print journalism industries is not a direct result of his participation.