At the White House’s first-ever Demo Day, which highlighted the importance of entrepreneurship and inclusion, President Obama cited Declara as evidence that “you never know who’s going to have the next big idea or what path will lead them there.”
The President noted that Declara Founder and CEO Ramona Pierson’s life story serves as inspiration for Declara. When Pierson was 22, she was hit by a drunk driver. The accident left her in a coma for 18 months and blind for ten years. She has undergone more than 100 reconstructive surgeries. The President stated that “decades later, Ramona looks back on the process of learning by connecting with others as the catalyst for a startup that she launched three years ago called Declara.”
Before his remarks, Pierson demonstrated Declara to the President. “We’re an open learning and knowledge innovation platform. Using our CognitiveGraph technology, which is driven by big data algorithms, we help knowledge workers invent new things, to solve big world problems.”
Citing that search technology is decades old, relatively flat, and driven by the logic of ad placement, Pierson described Declara as a unified engine for collective intelligence where people can create collections augmented by machine learning and predictive social analytics.
“By combining content and analytics from inside and outside organizations, we can harness the wisdom of multiple and diverse communities, to help people get to knowledge faster. Declara is the one place a knowledge worker can go to collect information online, organize it and share it — all in one platform — to get smarter together. We’ve created a new way to foster personalized learning without assessments, though dynamic learner profiles,” Pierson said.
“Declara combines the power of a search engine with a worldwide network of experts so that we all can learn faster from our fellow citizens and their lifetimes of knowledge,” the President said. “That’s the power of a good idea.”
Pierson said that pitching her company to Obama was a pleasure, since he engaged her on an emotional level. “The difference between President Obama and most investors is that he is listening with a view to improve the world rather than to simply advance portfolio value,: she said.