Asia, Interviews

Thea C. Myhrvold – Founder of TechMeNow and GetBEE

For a career in tech you need positivity and persistence – because technology is always changing. That is the beauty and the curse, you are never done in technology!

Thea is the proud founder and CEO of GetBEE and TeachMeNow. Passionate about making knowledge and expertise accessible to all. Digitally transforming education, healthcare and consulting. Thea has spent nearly a decade in her entrepreneurial journey, and truly knows what it takes to scale and execute from a simple idea to a global business.

With both Arabic and Norwegian heritage, her international experiences and perspective has shaped how she aims to scale global impact. From coding one of the first edtech game-based apps, to launching a global marketplace for learning with TeachMeNow, and now scaling a global B2B technology that digitally transforms the future of work with GetBEE, she has a proven track record of delivery, impact and results.

Securing partnerships with Microsoft to Expo2020 and One Million Arab Coders. Thea has been recognized with numerous awards including being an Expo2020 Global Innovator, The Cartier Woman’s Awards, INC. Arabia’s Top Female Startups, Mercedes Benz Brand Ambassador and top 10 Linkedin Power Profile all under the age of 30. Regularly quoted in international media in Forbes, Bloomberg, Skynews, The Financial Times, The BBC, Gulf News, to name a few.

An advocate for women and diversity and how technology is and can be used as a force for good and social impact. With a belief that facilitating human connections through technology has a positive impact for people and the planet. 

In a Nutshell: Tell us a bit about your job and what role technology plays in it?

My job is leading a vision and translating it to technology, product and executing on a strategy. My job is hiring and leading a team and working on new things every day from hiring, talking to clients, and more.

Where did your professional journey start and how did you get to where you are now?

My professional journey did not start in technology, rather in international relations and working for NGOs like Amnesty international.

My quest for making knowledge accessible and creating positive impact.

My passion for education was heightened when I started teaching students with learning disabilities.

These students faced challenges such as ADHD and dyslexia and in their final year of the IB diploma had given up on the possibility of passing their exams, which determine acceptance to university. Within a few months of adaptive teaching, the students were receiving above average results! Their teacher was shocked that this had actually worked.

During this process I created games for the students and soon realized that this was a real hit. As I, too, became more addicted to my smartphone and apps, I recognized how modern technology could help streamline this transfer of knowledge in an efficient and simple way. The games that I created for my students inspired me to develop the world’s first gamified educational app covering high school material. This app was the first in its kind, which was specialized in subjects like economics.

Through this app, I got numerous requests for teaching from all around the world—Japan, Korea, Australia and the U.S.; the list goes on! This also helped me realize that there was no “airbnb” or “uber” for learning and the exchange of knowledge on a global scale, for everyone to share their knowledge or learn. There was no website that I was comfortable teaching on because they either set my rate for me,  took 40 % (or more) commissions or didn’t let me create my own courses, etc.  I wanted to create a simple tool that has everything I needed in one space, that took care of payments, documents and the actual lessons and was accessible for teachers, students and parents.

Business is about people and finding the right people on this journey has been one of the hardest but most important elements.

Once we launched TeachMeNow, a lot of schools and companies came to us looking to build their own on-demand platforms, using the software of TeachMeNow but with their own brand, experts and business model. When the market gives you this kind of feedback, you listen! We launched the software as a service, under the name—GetBEE—where our mission is to Bring Expertise Everywhere. We are now able to better serve companies, schools, training institutes and even clinics and hospitals and how they digitally transform the way they exchange knowledge.

One of my proudest projects has been working in Latin America in partnership with a social enterprise called Incluyeme and Accenture. Our GetBEE platform is offered as an online training platform for people with disabilities to get live and personalized mentorship around career coaching, cv writing and financial training. The goal is to connect individuals to the right mentor, where and when they need support the most. The fact that we are based in the Middle East and are already able to have a global impact in places like Latin America is really inspiring to me!

We have also seen some amazing local uses of GetBEE in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region in partnership with HRH Sheik Mohammed, on an initiative called One Million Arab Coders. GetBEE is used as the official technology platform to connect coding students to live mentors all over MENA! You can get personalized one to one coaching from a mentor, edit code together and build out your next app or website!

What is the greatest transformation in technology you’ve witnessed in your career?

The transformation of opening up. I.e. app store. This was a phenomenal shift in how software is deployed and is accessible. Anyone, even a 15 year old, build an app and then have a distribution platform like the app store.

And then you have other tools like wix and shopify, amazing saas platforms where you can create your own online business with no technology background.  I remember coding my own website (which took forever) and now you can drag and drop and click publish.

While there is still a need to code, the accessibility of software and ease to publish is amazing in terms of entrepreneurship and more.

When you think about ‘women’ and ‘technology’ what comes to your mind first?

Depends on the context however I would say – Technology. Technology is a tool that is fundamentally is there to help everyone, all industries and affects all of us directly or indirectly. Diversity and women in tech is something that we need more representation in to build inclusive products and create more value.  

Women – an untapped strength and insight that technology hasn’t yet seen the full potential of. In technology and also in business.

Women – an untapped strength and insight that technology hasn’t yet seen the full potential of. In technology and also in business. The data is there!

We always hear there are not enough women working in Tech. What needs to happen to change that? Using your own words, why do we need women focused groups in the tech community?

There is a lot of unconscious bias in technology at all levels – from investors, leaders, hiring managers and more. We need more inclusive conversations with both women but also men as well as male champions.

What skills do you need for a career in tech (aside from the actual tech skills)?

Adaptability because technology is always changing.

Logic – as this is how we fundamentally build or improve any technology regardless of industry.

Positivity and persistence – because technology is always changing. That is the beauty and the curse, you are never done in technology!

What and who were the influencers of who you are today?

My mother – her persistence in life and solution oriented to things.

Dr. Ali Baghdadi – he is a pioneer in technology, he has great success in the commercial and technology world. I keep learning a lot from him as a mentor and cofounder.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your 14-year-old self?

I can still use the advice today, stop doubting yourself. You can do this.

Thea C. Myhrvold is the proud founder and CEO of GetBEE and TeachMeNow. Passionate about making knowledge and expertise accessible to all. Digitally transforming education, healthcare and consulting. Thea has spent nearly a decade in her entrepreneurial journey, and truly knows what it takes to scale and execute from a simple idea to a global business.

With both Arabic and Norwegian heritage, her international experiences and perspective has shaped how she aims to scale global impact. From coding one of the first edtech game-based apps, to launching a global marketplace for learning with TeachMeNow, and now scaling a global B2B technology that digitally transforms the future of work with GetBEE, she has a proven track record of delivery, impact and results.

Securing partnerships with Microsoft to Expo2020 and One Million Arab Coders. Thea has been recognized with numerous awards including being an Expo2020 Global Innovator, The Cartier Woman’s Awards, INC. Arabia’s Top Female Startups, Mercedes Benz Brand Ambassador and top 10 Linkedin Power Profile all under the age of 30. Regularly quoted in international media in Forbes, Bloomberg, Skynews, The Financial Times, The BBC, Gulf News, to name a few.

An advocate for women and diversity and how technology is and can be used as a force for good and social impact. With a belief that facilitating human connections through technology has a positive impact for people and the planet. 

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