”Full speed ahead!” says Vanja Tufvesson, recently named Chief Technology Officier (CTO) at Tengai AB. She is the co-founder of the female-focused community Pink Programming and in 2019 earned the title “Female Founder” by established Swedish magazine DI Digital. The Tengai-team is excited to have Vanja on board and here is a chance to get to know her better!
Tengai AB is expanding internationally and was recently spun off from founder TNG. Now the aim is to start growing the company. And the first person to join the team is Vanja Tufvesson as Chief Technology Officier who will facilitate Tengai’s technical development. The product roadmap has some clear objectives. Launch a stand-alone robot for the Swedish market during the fall of 2019. And an English-speaking robot will hit the market at the beginning of 2020.
We sat down to talk to Vanja Tufvesson about her new role and expectations:
1. What got you interested in Tengai?
“I am very passionate about diversity, equality, and inclusion, and feel like Tengai’s purpose really aligns with my personal values! To be the first in the world to work on a robot-like Tengai feels so cool! I also love working in a startup environment that is intense and creative. Altogether, I felt like this is a perfect match for me!”
2. What will you contribute to the project? What prior experience will help you the most in developing Tengai?
“Throughout my carrier, I have worked in consultancy and as a software developer, which has given me a broad technical skillset. My involvement has been in many different areas, in small and big companies, using a bunch of different programming languages and techniques. Working with Tengai will require that I use a lot of different skills and my broad experience will help me to understand the complete picture. I am interested in both technology, developing the company and in team-building. In addition, I hope my knowledge and involvement will get Tengai to its goals during this start-up phase.”
“I also learned a lot as a co-founder at Pink Programming, which today is Sweden’s biggest female coding community where women can learn and develop their coding skills. The most recent professional commitment I had was as a Backend Developer at online health startup Engaging Care. Together with my colleagues, we developed a working MVP (minimum viable product) from scratch in less than six months. This experience taught me invaluable lessons not only around technology but about creating a functional development process and making priorities and take decisions.”
3. The biased algorithm is a hot topic and something that a lot of people ask about. How do you view that and do you think your background as a female developer and startup founder working in a male-dominated tech world will help you?
“Only 20% of all the programmers in Sweden are women. And only ONE percent of CTO’s at startups in Scandinavia are women… There are many factors that together create this unequal environment. And yes it does affect the outcome of the product. So to me, ethical algorithms and the unbiased code will be crucial as we move along in the development phase.
I am constantly working on changing that stereotype by inspiring women to start coding and educate to create awareness. I want to see more diversity among software developers. And in the tech industry in general, and also in my team. I hope that my work with Tengai is a step in the right direction. And that robot technology can be an example of how we can create change through AI. Which is very exciting!”
4. What is your vision? Where do you see Tengai in a couple of years?
“Being this early in the process I feel like I would limit the possibilities if I articulate where Tengai will be in a couple of years. But I do think we have a product that can be extremely successful and competitive in the recruitment market. I am picturing a future where Tengai is available in different languages and can be effective around the world. And we have an amazing team and a company culture that is inspiring and fun. That is important to me! I am envisioning a busy future for Tengai that will require a lot of work, so it is important to have fun along the way!”
Keep up with Tengai!
During the next couple of months, the Tengai-team will be at conferences and events to talk about how Tengai promotes diversity at companies in Europe and the US. Tengai is also conducting a validation study to scientifically evaluate how the robot’s unbiased software interprets candidates’ answers during a job interview. The purpose is to understand how reliable and consistent the Tengai’s interview analytics are. The validation study is conducted throughout 2019 by Associate Professor Anders Sjöberg, CEO at Psychometrics Sweden AB.