TheBridge profile: Scott Hempy
Name: Scott Hempy
Current city: Mountain View, CA
Current job: Founder at Filld
Past job: Venture Capital
Q. Favorite spot for a coffee meeting? It depends on where the meeting needs to happen. For example, if I’m in Palo Alto, I like going to Philz. If I have a coffee meeting in San Francisco, then I like The Mill.
Q. Describe how a skill you learned in a previous job helped you in your current job. I got into the startup world as a project manager for a medical device company going through the FDA approval process and then dove deeper when I started working at Cote Capital, a venture capital firm. At Cote Capital we performed deal diligence and helped source new investment opportunities. Working in other startups and venture capital gave me the chance to learn directly from other founders. One major lesson that stuck with me, and applies today to what we do at Filld, is the power of tenacity in overcoming regulatory hurdles and incumbent industries to provide the best solution for the customer.
Q. Job advice in three words? Every relationship matters.
Q. How are you (or your company, org, nonprofit) currently bridging the gap between politics and tech / innovation and regulation? Filld provides customers with convenient, time-saving fueling options for their vehicles. Our business model disrupts entrenched incumbent players – namely traditional gas stations – and presents a customer-centric solution that is a new concept for many policymakers. While some policymakers are better versed than others, education around our technology’s benefits to consumers and the environment is paramount to our success. As a result, we proactively work closely with regulators on a constant basis to ensure the creation of new laws, and to uphold current laws, which continue to serve the best interests of our customers, employees and partners. Our goal at Filld is to support and be on the same team as the people who care about our customers’ safety- these are the people who work for the local, state, or federal government, and who make the laws in our space.
Q. What can innovators learn from policymakers? As companies scale, they often get entwined with regulators if they do not think ahead, or if they launch in new markets without regard for existing legislation (some might call this an “Uber-like mentality”). At the same time, regulators are grappling with how and when to update existing rules or create new laws across industries impacted by emerging technologies. As innovators work to collaborate with regulators, they need to help bridge the gap between innovation and policy. The key is showing policymakers how new business models and solutions need innovative regulation to be successful and better the lives of consumers and constituents. Innovation and policy go hand in hand, it also takes an open mind to achieve regulatory change.
Q. What can policymakers learn from innovators? Regulators and entrepreneurs must remember they’re on the same side and want the same thing — to improve daily life for the public through new innovations while maintaining the safest, best-quality experiences. Prioritizing regulatory efforts and creating new regulations takes time, but the opportunities are endless if entrepreneurs and regulators work collaboratively. There needs to be a high degree of proactive education and communication from policymakers and government stakeholders to ensure effective public-private collaboration.
Q. Favorite book/podcast/long-form article you recommend? The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
Q. Why are you part of TheBridge community/why do you think it's important this community exists for tech, policy and political professionals? A regular cadence of communication and the free-flow of information is necessary for any two parties to come together and work to better business, industry and eventually the lives of consumers and customers.
Q. Most underrated virtue in an employee? Dependability. Do they do what they say they will do? If you ask them to do something, do you have to worry about it, or does it just get done before you think about it again?
Q. If you had to live in another city, which would it be? Seattle or Washington DC. There is a pace and excitement that is unmatched by other cities in these thought leading, technology-forward, and innovative cities.
Q. How often do you work from home? Almost never. I have found that I’m most motivated and most effective when I’m in the same location as my team. Quick collaboration and the ability to solve problems and react quickly to situations makes being together in person the most effective work situation.
Q. Which Member of Congress/local lawmaker is most tech savvy? Perhaps I am biased to my home state members, but I appreciate the effort of Reps. Swalwell, Lofgren, McCarthy and Eshoo to take the time to learn the issues and ask smart questions.
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