FAVORITE DISH: Eggplant Lasagna from Sal’s in Provincetown. A QUALITY ABOUT A PERSON THAT CATCHES MY ATTENTION: Out of the box thinking, creativity. SOMETHING I’M REALLY PROUD OF: Someone recently got my company logo tattooed on their body, that was a first for me!
A love for building that evolves into something bigger
SMALLER COMPANIES MAKE BIGGER IMPACT. Alex Capecelatro was in the process of selling his software company Hyphos, and assumed he would have to join the acquirer. But he didn’t feel that was the place for him.
At the time, he was building a new home, and his friend Tim Gill reached out to him suggesting they take their voice-controlled home assistants to the next level. “I never wanted to join a company just to make money. I want to join a company that can make an impact,” Alex says. “By adding artificial intelligence to voice-controlled home assistants, it elevates the entire category.”
And so Alex sold Hyphos without joining the buyer and instead formed Josh.ai with Tim. Josh.ai is a voice-controlled home automation system built to support natural language voice commands and control and connect any “smart” device, from any other device.
A key goal he wanted to achieve with Josh.ai is to create an environment where everyone genuinely enjoys working for the company. People do their best work when they don’t feel like the odd one out, such as being the only minority or the only gay person, Alex notes.
THE LOVE OF BUILDING. Alex was not out in 2011 when he started Hyphos, and didn’t come out until 2015, just as he was about to start Josh.ai. Alex decided he needed to do things right from the beginning with Josh.ai. “At some point, you need to be honest with your investors.” He became involved with StartOut, a nonprofit that empowers LGBT entrepreneurs. It was an easier transition to being out as an entrepreneur because the nature of introductions was through being LGBT, he says.
“There’s this notion that employees really thrive when they think like the owner, because everyone takes a sense of ownership with the company,” Alex says. Both he and his co-founder Tim let it be known that they were gay, which had the happy result of attracting the best talents to Josh.ai. As Alex says simply, “If anyone has an issue with my being gay, don’t come work here.”
Tech has historically been the bastion of the straight, white male. But the sooner companies can put it on the table that they embrace diversity, the sooner they can identify their biases and elevate their hiring process. “We’re about qualifications, and there are qualified people of all genders, ethnicities and backgrounds.” Having open conversations about biases helped the company recognize that it had only been looking at resumes from the same, usual crowds. This realization helped steer the team into looking for overlooked talent, he says.