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Published on June 13th, 2019 | by Jerry Doby


Brad Keywell from the United States named EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2019

Brad was selected from among 761 program participants that included the 57 country winners from 47 countries and territories vying for the title in Monaco. In the program’s 19-year history, Brad becomes the third EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winner from the United States. He follows former US world title winners Hamdi Ulukaya of Chobani, Inc., who won the award in 2013, and Wayne Huizenga of Huizenga Holdings, Inc., in 2005.

Brad, 49, founded Uptake Technologies, Inc., a predictive analytics software provider, in 2014 after successfully founding six companies, including Groupon, which collectively created value of over US$6b. Since its inception, Uptake Technologies, Inc. has grown from 50 people to 500 and become the fastest start-up to reach a US$2b valuation. The company now works with dozens of industrial businesses to improve productivity and efficiency by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to create business value from operational data.

Jim Nixon, Chairman and CEO of Nixon Energy Investments and Co-Chair of the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year judging panel, says:

“The judging panel is honored to award Brad this year’s title. The judging panel was struck, not only by the remarkable value creation through each of the ventures of which he was the founder, but also his strong desire to break the mold and provide backing to the next generation of entrepreneurs that are coming through.”

Brad Keywell, CEO, Uptake Technologies, Inc., says:

“Entrepreneurship is not just about being a mold-breaker — it’s also about being a mold-maker and finding a more intuitive and direct path to where you want to be. The revolution in data collection and predictive insight to disrupt global industries is only just beginning. As an entrepreneur in this emerging and inevitable space, I’m in the mindset of delivering to create long-term sustainable solutions to some of the world’s most pressing economic and social challenges. I’m truly humbled to be recognized in this way.”

Mark Weinberger, EY Global Chairman and CEO, says:

“Brad’s passion and curiosity as well as his love of the entrepreneurial journey have driven him to found five separate companies that have reached unicorn status and now employ thousands of people around the world. His leadership is exemplified by his desire to positively impact the world around him and overcome challenges that would stop most others in their tracks. Brad is an extremely worthy EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year winner and someone whose entrepreneurial journey is far from over.”

Bryan Pearce, EY Global Leader – EY Entrepreneur Of The Year, says:

“Alongside his phenomenal track record of value creation, the ripple effect of Brad’s philanthropic work and his backing of the next generation of entrepreneurs make him an exemplary EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year winner. He ensures a continuous culture of innovation in Uptake’s DNA and sees unlimited opportunity to influence ecosystems broader than the company strategy and profit.”

About Brad Keywell and Uptake Technologies, Inc.

The idea for Uptake Technologies, Inc. came about when Brad went to pick up his daughter from the airport, only to find the flight delayed because the airline didn’t have the right part at the right time. With Brad’s background in technology, he believed this was a problem that could be easily resolved and he set about finding a solution.

Uptake now works with dozens of industrial businesses to help them determine when a piece of equipment is not performing well or about to break down. It analyzes data from sensors on industrial machinery and equipment and then uses data-science models to predict problems before they occur. The software can save companies millions of dollars by enabling them to look after their machinery better.

Uptake is also using its platform to solve social issues. For example, on the Nepal border, organizations are using the company’s data analytics to recognize human-trafficking patterns and intervene earlier.

Brad ensures a continuous culture of innovation at the company and this fuels his ability to attract top talent and encourage continuous learning, including launching Uptake U, an in-house education and development program accessible by all employees.

Brad’s stewardship mindset leverages the success in his business ventures to create purpose and opportunity for his family, employees, local community and future entrepreneurs. In 2014, Brad and his wife, Kim, created the Keywell Foundation to support disruptive social entrepreneurs and provide charitable donations to a variety of non-profit and non-governmental organizations (NGO), focusing on education, global female empowerment and access to opportunity. In 2016, they signed The Giving Pledge, committing the majority of their wealth to philanthropy and giving back.

Brad is also the founder of Chicago Ideas Week, which has grown into one of the largest ideas gatherings in the world. He is the founder of Future Founders, a non-profit providing entrepreneurial education and inspiration to inner-city youth. Brad created and is curator of the wndr museum, presenting emerging interactive art alongside works by iconic contemporary masters. He also is an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago.

About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, and internationally published arts & entertainment journalist. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture as well as the United States Press Corps.

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