Founder Friday — Meet Isaac from Emerge

#FounderFriday — Isaac Castro Garcia is a co-founder of Emerge, a startup that is enabling the next form of communication by digitizing our sense of touch. Isaac’s co-founders are Mauricio Teran and Sly Lee; the three met at Singularity University’s Global Solutions Program in 2015, hosted at Ames NASA Research Park and fully sponsored by Google.

THE BACKSTORY

What did you think you wanted to be when you were in HS?

I always wanted to be a surgeon, but disassembling electronic apparatus was always my hobby. These disparate interests confused me for many years, and I decided to dig into healthcare technology as the bridge between the two fields. That was a hint of the value I was meant to bring to the world, but it took me many years to understand that my passion lies in positively impacting people’s lives through technology.

What did you study in college and what was your first job?

I studied Telecommunications Engineering and Bioengineering and before I graduated, Siemens Healthcare hired me and funded my Masters in Health Technology and Management. For the following 7 years, I was part of their family working in Spain, Germany and Colombia within different sectors of the Company and holding diverse positions, always at the edge of the new innovations in healthcare technology.

What did you do in your previous life, prior to co-founding Emerge?

In parallel to my tenure at Siemens during the last 7 years, I used my spare time to seek a bigger impact.

I co-created a medical device for more effective cancer treatment. As a result, the MIT’s Technology Review magazine awarded me the ‘Innovators Under 35’ prize, being recognized as one of the 10 most innovative young Spaniards of 2013. This was the first time in my life I cried out of happiness.

Isaac; MIT Technology Review’s Innovator under 35 prize

After I was chosen as Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum in 2014 — a worldwide network of future leaders under 30 -, I started to also invest my time in projects to foster peace in Colombia, the country that hosted me during these three years. Within the framework of the historic peace process underway in the country, I traveled into the mountains for a week with 10 former FARC members- the oldest guerrilla group in the world today — to live together under one roof, and help demonstrate that reconciliation is possible.

When I was accepted into Singularity University, and met Mauricio and Sly, I made the best decision in my life: quitting Siemens, and co-founding Emerge.

THE ENTREPRENEUR

What inspired you to start Emerge?

Meeting Sly and Mauricio. The still surprising way our brains seem to be connected, the alignment of our visions, and the rock solid values that conform our firm foundation, were truly my inspiration to co-found Emerge. We all are passionate about unlocking physical and cognitive human potential, and want to go to space!

The Emerge Founders @ SU

What has been your biggest challenge growing your company?

Building a company is itself a daily challenge, and when the goal is bold and you border the impossible, the biggest challenge has yet to come.

What has been your biggest win?

I was honored to be invited to speak and host two panels at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, which was an experience I will never forget and that will shape my actions for many years.

But the thing I most proud of is to be able to maintain my best friends in Spain and to always be welcomed with a smile when I return, despite a life of travelling, more than 8000 miles of distance, and the months that inexorably go by.

THE PERSON

When you’re not working on your company, how do you spend your time?

I am part of several communities — such as the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers, MIT Solve, and MIT Innovators Under 35 Europe — , where I work with leaders around the globe on trying to solve the world’s toughest problems, and to shape the future of our world.

I am also a movie aficionado as is my girlfriend.

Best place you’ve ever traveled to?

Any place with the people I love. I value the moments above the places. That twilight with my girlfriend, at a balcony in Granada (Spain) with the reddish, stunning Alhambra in the horizon, a cold beer, and passionate flamenco music in the background. Or that conversation about the future of humanity with my best friend, sitting on the top of a volcano, above the entrancing Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.

How would your mother describe your personality?

Sweet, compassionate, indefatigable, determined fighter who will persist forever to pursue his dreams.

Your favorite get sh*t done quote —

“Optimism, pessimism, f*** that — we are going to make it happen” — Elon Musk

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