Isa Watson is driving innovation within the tech industry and “connection economy” through culture and community. As the founder and CEO of Squad, Watson is devoted to making sure people are able to connect with others offline in a meaningful way.
Squad is a highly curated connection app for young professionals. And, Watson says it was born out of the need for people to better connect in real life.
“We’ve been so complacent in the way that we connect on social media. But those connections are very loose. And quite frankly, when you look at the increase in social media use it’s actually parallel with the increase in loneliness, depression, social isolation, and especially in the millennial and Gen Z generations,” said Watson.
In this day and age of influencers and isolation, Watson is using technology to help people build their squad.
Offline, Squad curates different events and experiences. And when on-site, Squad members are matched with a group of people, which is facilitated through the app.
“Squad uses the proprietary personality algorithm to create squad matches. And those are small groups of three to four people that based on your personality we think you will get along with,” said Watson.
Given their proven success, Squad has raised upwards of $4 million in venture capital in Silicon Valley from prominent investors.
Despite the fact that many black women founders have not been able to raise more than $1 million in venture capital, Watson offers this advice, “It is a marathon, not a sprint. A lot of times in a 26-mile marathon, some miles are going to be slow. You might have to walk around and sit down a little bit. The journey is super long and hopefully, we all have a lot of time in front of us.
Cultural competency and authentic intelligence also play a role in the way that people are able to connect using Squad.
“Culture is that one thing that is an authentic director. When you’re online, you have all these, like curated types of interactions, and these curated types of ways that you present yourself. But when you’re in person and you’re live, right? You’re the embodiment of your own culture and your ability to embrace it better enables your ability to connect with somebody,” said Watson.
Because of the culture of Squad, Watson says that people feel comfortable showing up as they are to meetups and events.
As someone who is passionate about the work that she does, Watson is intentional about building healthy and supportive communities around her that support her showing up as her best self.
“When I think about how I’m building my community and how I evolve, it boils down to my needs. Sometimes, I need those people that I don’t even talk about work with and have amazing conversations about life and ideas. I need to be in community with my business partners; people who I can talk about my faith with; founder friends; and even investors. I’ve built a multi-dimensional community around me. I stand on the backs of them. They are incredibly pivotal not just to my success, but my mental health as well,” said Watson.
Watson’s community helps her to preserve her mental health and navigate life in a way that brings her happiness and joy. And, that is what she intends for Squad to do for others.
To learn more about Squad and to build your tribe, click here.