We’re all about innovation, right? And everyone wants to invest in innovation. That’s a no-brainer. Gay, straight, blue, green, folks want to smartly invest in things that work and push industries forward.

WHAT I WANTED TO DO WHEN I GREW UP: Drive freight trains across continents so I could see amazing landscapes. SOMETHING I’M REALLY PROUD OF: Raising $160K in funds for HIV+ orphans charity in Zambia with BikeZambia.org in a team of 25. We biked 500 miles over 6 days to raise awareness and fundraise to take care of these kids. SOMETHING PEOPLE DON'T KNOW: I am also a French Pastry Chef by Training and I collect Danish furniture.

Ajay Bam

Unboxing video content to identify layers of value

PENETRATING THE VISUAL EXPERIENCE. Have you ever watched a video from a friend, family member, or social influencer that rants or raves about a product and wondered if it was helping or hurting the featured brand or product?

Ajay Bam and his co-founder Dr. Barbara Rosario created Vyrill—a platform that allows for the extraction of information, data, and insights from any video of any person on any platform. “The time a big name company has spent trying to discern what these user-generated videos of their products or brands think or influence would blow your mind,” Ajay explains.

“They have no idea who is actually making the video, what they were saying about the product, or often even if it’s a bad or good or merit-worthy review. This is now a universal problem for almost all companies, all brands, all shapes, all sizes—and [it’s] literally growing millions by the day on 30+ social platforms in 89+ languages.” He points out that the idea behind Vyrill is simple, but the science and execution was not.

Recognizing that the future of commerce included raw consumer testimony in a video format, Vyrill sought to build a “video refinery.” Much like an oil refinery, Vyrill takes the raw material—video content—and then evaluates, synthesizes, and extracts valuable data, details, and insights for video led commerce.

CHOOSING TO SEE THE WORLD AS A PLAYGROUND. Born in Western India, Ajay grew up with an extremely entrepreneurial mindset. “My father was a very successful textile entrepreneur, and I was also a very curious person, asking lots of questions, paying close attention to the world around me. I got my undergraduate [degree] at the University of Mumbai and moved to the states in Tennessee for my Masters in computer science at East Tennessee State University before starting my career at Lehman Brothers in New York.”

This is where Ajay learned first hand how money moves, who controls it, and how it is raised successfully. After Lehman he pursued an M.B.A. at Babson College. “It led me to a different side of economics and entrepreneurship, and it led me to want to start my first company, which later I successfully sold before joining Nokia.” From there he became heavily invested in the education and advisement of startups, team building, and entrepreneurship.

This time, though, things had changed: Ajay was wiser, more experienced, and out as a gay man. “With my first startup, I was quieter, reserved. I never put myself out there as an LBGTQ entrepreneur. For one, I wasn’t fully out then, but also I didn’t even know how to do that with any sense of purpose or pride.”

At Vyrill, the culture is not just casually LGBTQ-friendly; it’s pro-diversity, pro-women, and pro-inclusivity on all levels. “You can feel it as soon as you research us or interview with us. And it reflects our team. We value diversity; they value diversity. We value openness; they value openness. There is nothing to hide and it levels up the respect at all parts of the company. And it’s just awesome.”

Order your own copy of the Gaingels 100, today! Our mission is to encourage greater representation and create a more diverse, equitable, and accessible venture capital ecosystem. Elevating the stories of the most inspiring amongst us is one of the ways in which we do this.

Presented with Pride Here is the first collection of one hundred incredible and inspiring LGBTQIA+ venture-backed entrepreneurs featured in this year's Gaingels 100.