Interview With Josh Daiter Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer at InVintory
I had the pleasure of interviewing Josh Daiter is Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer at InVintory. He also holds a Master’s in Entrepreneurship and another one in Artificial Intelligence. He’s a lover of all things at the intersection of technology and business.
Can you share with us your background and your career?
Growing up, I was always that nerdy kid playing with and fixing computers. So when the time came to go off to university, the decision to study software engineering was an obvious one. It was during that time that I got my first taste for entrepreneurship when a classmate and I taught ourselves how to code and developed an app for local bars and restaurants.
After getting my toes wet with the very basics of building a business, I wanted to learn more. I enrolled in a Masters of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, during which InVintory was born. Subsequently, I also did another Masters in Management of Artificial Intelligence, learning how to apply machine learning models to business.
Can you share with our readers how you started your company and the mission behind it?
As klutzy as my dad Jeff is, I don’t blame him for this story. One night, he was searching through his wine fridge for a certain bottle, pulling out shelf after shelf in a hurry. Suddenly, one bottle rolled off the edge of a shelf and fell to the floor, shattering. It happened to be the exact bottle he was trying to find.
He searched for a solution to help him keep better track of where his bottles were located but couldn’t find one on the market that worked for him. Few platforms were built for collectors, and he found those that were had outdated interfaces or confusing user experiences.
He asked me to build him a prototype of an imagined ideal solution and InVintory was born.
Today, our mission is simple: to take the work out of wine collecting with a sleek user interface and cutting-edge technology, so that people can get back to what really matters – enjoying their wine, not managing it.
How is diversity in the workplace evolving, how does it play into your company and its mission?
At InVintory, two of our guiding values are performance and communication. We think of ourselves as a sports team, with every member playing a particular and vital role to help the whole group achieve success. We really focus on encouraging diversity of perspective and a culture in which all team members feel confident sharing their opinions openly, as that ensures we test ideas before we take them to market and consistently deliver the best possible product.
As our team has grown, it has also grown more diverse in other respects. For example, we’ve partnered with an amazing program called Jake’s House – a partner of Autism Canada. They’ve helped us recruit several neurodiverse individuals who manage our database, as that is a role that plays to their unique strengths.
During the pandemic many people lost their jobs and livelihood, how did your company adapt and pivot during this time to be what it is today?
Being a company born during COVID, we were lucky enough to build our remote work culture from the ground up. We make a strong effort to stay engaged with daily meetings, often updating each other on our lives, as well as planning monthly virtual game nights which we all love to do on a Friday.
We also have a team of around 15 sommeliers who work with our database administrators. Initially, we’d just had one wine consultant, but as we saw the pandemic negatively impacting sommeliers with restaurant closures, we saw an opportunity to help and access their amazing wine knowledge. We created a program to have sommeliers lend ad hoc support, review wines and import user spreadsheets (a service we offer to make it easier to get started). It’s been a true win-win, as it’s provided some with a flexible work opportunity and really allowed us to ensure the integrity of our database. We do not crowd-source anything, but instead have a sommelier review every single wine, which is a big differentiator and point of pride for us.
If you could go back and talk to your younger self what would you tell him and why?
This sounds pretty cliché, but I would tell my younger self to not sweat the small stuff. We all have many day-to-day stresses, but in the long-term, you can barely remember something that was bothering you on a particular day one year ago. It’s hard to do this in practice but reminding myself of this often can keep my blood pressure low!
Are you working on any exciting new projects now?
Right now, we’re working on a cool project leveraging machine learning to recommend wines to our collectors may enjoy. We have a unique advantage in this space as our dataset – what’s in people’s collections – is a great proxy for what they’re likely to enjoy and a dataset that few other companies can access.
Our goal here isn’t to tailor recommendations in order to move wine off a shelf, as we’re not engaged in selling wine. We just want to provide a truly great, agnostic recommendation that a given wine lover will enjoy (and that they likely would not have found on their own).
Where do you see yourself and your career going in this new year and in the future?
We’re really hoping to see some tremendous growth throughout 2022. We’ve worked so hard to build a product that fulfills a real need so, like any founder, I want to see our product build traction in the market and help as many people as possible.
InVintory is just getting going, so I am excited to see where we can take it. Beyond that? I’ve always been interested in entrepreneurship and business, so maybe at some stage, I’ll invest in other companies, whether that be as an angel or through my own fund!
How can our readers connect with you on social media?
You can connect with InVintory on Instagram, Twitter @invintory and Facebook @invintoryapp. You can connect with me personally on LinkedIn (Joshua Daiter). I’m more than happy to meet with people to chat about all things business or tech!
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