After spending 20 years working as a successful IT consultant, Gautam Shah was looking for something more. He was passionate about wildlife conservation, which seemed a far cry from his first career. Looking for the tools and support to take a bold step into a new phase of his career, Gautam joined the THNK Executive Leadership Program.
Three years later, in partnership with some of the classmates he met in the program, Gautam launched Internet of Elephants, a wildlife conservation app that uses augmented reality to teach its users about wildlife conservation. In 2018, the organization was awarded a grant from the National Geographic Society and named one of Africa's most innovative companies of 2018 by Fast Company!
Gautam says he could not have considered starting the company if it weren’t for his THNK classmates, each of whom brought their own unique expertise, knowledge, and culture to the company:
- Ellis Bartholomeus, an expert in games, introduced Gautam to critical people in the game industry and joined the company as an advisor and Professor of Play.
- Anne Miltenburg, Founder of The Brandling, created Internet of Elephants’ visual identity and acts as the company’s Communications Director.
- Natalia Truchi, a strategy consultant based in Amsterdam, organized campaign design workshops.
- Darcie Goodwin, an expert in internal communications, helped organize events.
- Ernestien Idenburg is the company’s lawyer.
- Bas Hochstenbach came on as strategic advisor and ended up playing an important role in business development.
- Ida Norrby helped with design work to bring a concept to life for a major pitch.