Twenty-four year old Devon Tivona is the Co-founder and CEO of Pana, an on-demand travel agent software service that blends technology and real humans for ultimate ease in traveling. Devon is a rare mix of tech and EQ, getting energy from making human connections as well solving complex technical problems. These qualities have not only helped him launch a successful, well-designed and highly engaging app, but he has also garnered real loyalty his investors and advisors. He recognizes the value of this circle: "In order for a concept to be successful, you have to have this inner circle of people who are obsessed with your product."
Growing up Devon dreamed of attending Stanford. Although he was accepted there, he chose to attend the University of Colorado in Boulder, where he was offered a full merit scholarship. It was outside the classroom, however, where Devon found cohorts of like-minded people in the startup community. He founded Pana with classmates, won the University’s prestigious New Venture Challenge, and the company was accepted to Techstars Boulder upon his graduation.
When talking about his experience in creating and maintaining a tight team, he believes that candor and transparency are the two greatest lessons he and his co-founders have learned. When it comes to vetting new ideas, the Pana team keeps its process open. "We have an idea, and we have a gut about it and we give the freedom to say 'Great. Build a hypothesis and go test it.'"
Find out how this young entrepreneur won his company the backing of Techstars Ventures, The Foundry Group, Galvanize, Flight VC and a host of angel investors through his raw talent, obsession with learning, excitement and authenticity.
Sue Heilbronner is the CEO of MergeLane and a Conscious Leadership executive coach and consultant.