Women Talk Tech – Episode 3: Veera Johnson, CEO at Circulor
By Héloïse Frantz - 06 March 2020
As part of our Women Talk Tech series, we reached out to leading female voices from different areas of the UK tech ecosystem and gathered their insights into tech trends, gender diversity and more. In this episode, we speak to Veera Johnson, co-founder of Circulor Limited.
You could say Veera Johnson was born with a strong entrepreneurial spirit. She has been involved in the tech space for about 20 years now. After being a senior partner in a consulting company focusing on technology infrastructures, she founded the e-procurement marketplace ProcServe and successfully exited. In 2017, she co-founded Circulor, an exciting deep tech startup enhancing transparency in the supply chain of big companies.
We were thrilled to sit down with her at the occasion of our Women Talk Tech event, and gather her thoughts on female tech leaders, traceability and more.
Circulor, when technology brings sustainability
Circulor uses blockchain and IoT to track minerals from their source to the finished product, helping manufacturers and suppliers build transparent supply chains. At every step, mining and mineral-processing companies can input data into Circulor’s web and mobile platform, recording onto an immutable blockchain ledger. Consumer electronics and automotive companies can check provenance and chain of custody.
Through this digital solution, Circulor answers the call for increased accountability from companies on their environmental and social efforts. Veera Johnson gave the example of their client Volvo, who is now able to categorically prove where the batteries in their electric vehicles are coming from.
The startup has been growing steadily since its inception and has received the support of large corporates such as Oracle and ATI Boeing, which have both integrated Circulor in their accelerator programs. Moreover, when Circulor underwent our rigorous rating process in 2018, it ranked among the top 5% of all audited startups.
“Presenting ourselves as a role model, to show what can be possible”
When it comes to gender parity in tech, Johnson explains there’s still a long way to go: “Things are moving in the right direction, but not enough”. While she has seen things evolve positively since she started her career, she is disappointed that there are still so few female mentors in the tech space. According to her, there is a lot of expectation for female tech entrepreneurs to present themselves as role models that can show what’s possible and attract young women in the sector.
When asked what could bring up the number of women in tech, she explained the importance of recruitment strategies. Consciously building a diverse team but also choosing the right talent in the team is crucial. She says it’s all about “choosing women who are capable and that we can coach to become more capable”.
Enabling more sustainability thanks to traceability
Traceability is a topic that Johnson is really passionate about and she is excited about the multiple applications that traceability technology can have. She explains that this type of technology is replicable into very different sectors, from extractive industries to recycling or agriculture. The innovation empowers businesses to make the right decisions about sourcing responsibly and managing supply chains effectively. It also proves that we can put technology to work to make production and consumption more sustainable, therefore bringing tangible benefits to society as a whole!