Why Enova Loves ITA
Monday, July 8, 2019
Posted by: Gary Hotze
John Higginson, CTO, Enova International
I grew up Chicago Tech, having gone to school and worked here my whole life. While it’s not true that I was born in a small cabin made of spare Commodore 64 cases (though that would have been really, really cool) I’ve had the opportunity to witness the city’s technology evolution firsthand.
From my first job as an engineer at an insurance tech startup to my work as CTO of Enova, I’ve had a front row seat to watch our city grow into an innovation powerhouse. In the early days of my career, talking about tech companies here mostly meant talking about Motorola. Twenty years later we are a city transformed. It began with the boom during the early 2000s in e-commerce and technology services companies. Now we’re the proud home of a long list of companies transforming everything from food delivery and banking to healthcare and logistics. And in that time we have incubated a number of startup-to-public companies, including Enova. That incubation of new companies continues to grow: in 2018 more than $1B in venture funding went to startups in Chicago.
None of that happens by accident — building and nurturing a strong tech community takes leadership, and that’s what ITA has done for twenty-five years. I’m privileged to be a member of ITA through Enova and to serve on its Board. ITA ensures that three critical things happen: knowledge-sharing, a marketplace for products, and growing human capital.
Need to Develop Skills in Your Company? ITA Has You Covered.
Throughout the year, ITA sponsors events on technical, operations, and sales content. Upcoming events include:
Design Thinking for Machine Learning
[Webinar] Technology & Software: Tax Benefits and Expanding to New States
Temporal Networks: The Dynamics of Social Contagion
These events are free to all members… And you’ll likely see Enova in the audience or presenting. Benefiting from the experiences and ideas of companies who have “been there” is one of the great advantages of ITA.
This is also the inaugural year for Future Ready, ITA’s new technology summit. Focused on the technologies that are changing the way businesses work and deliver products and services, the event on September 24th features sessions on machine learning, the future of DevOps, and adopting the right cloud strategy. The speakers, content, and -- importantly -- networking, draw on the deep expertise of ITA’s membership.
ITA and Building a Marketplace
In 2017, Enova launched its newest product: EnovaDecisions. We turned the sophisticated technology used to provide more than $22B in loans to over 5M customers into a SaaS platform for other companies to use for credit underwriting and fraud prevention. When we launched, we turned to ITA to help tell our story and connect with potential customers. Sean Naismith, our head of Enova Decisions, gave an ITA Tech Talk last year for other Chicago companies on how we built this SaaS platform and how they could leverage it in their own businesses.
Enova is committed to building a strong and diverse team that draws on people from all communities and backgrounds to come together and create products for our customers. ITA provides important leadership and support in these efforts. The newly launched Women Influence Chicago strives to bring more women into STEM careers, help them advance, and make boards and C-suites more diverse. Enova is a proud founding partner in this effort which benefits the community and also benefits women on our team who are looking to grow and advance in their careers.
ITA extends this leadership in gender diversity with the only women-only hackathon in the United States. The “Code Like a Woman” tech challenge this September brings together female STEM students from universities throughout Illinois to form teams and compete to develop the best solution.
Finally, ITA has been a great partner in helping to promote the Chicago Women in Technology Conference (ChiWiTCon) founded by Women @ Enova, and also taking place in September this year.
And those are just a few reasons why Enova 💙ITA.