Voyc creator and Sparks Grove team member Jack Stenson was named a Top Irish 40 Under 40 in the United States by Irish Echo. This award celebrates Irish and Irish Americans who have distinguished themselves in their respective fields of work, the arts, politics, and sport before reaching the age of 40. We caught up with Jack to discuss what this award means to him.
What achievements and accomplishments are you most proud of so far in your career?
The way Voyc has captivated the attention of New York’s media community has been astonishing. I’ve been in the control room at global news network to study news production, with a TV anchor at a national broadcaster to imagine the future of journalism, and been interviewed by The Wall Street Journal. In total, over 70 of the finest minds in journalism have helped me craft how Voyc could drive commercial value. It’s been an incredible journey as Voyc offers the powerful combination of helping to solve the major challenge of our era (mis-information), while also empowering journalists in ways no-one else has with its innovative technology. I’m very proud to be the driving force behind it.
What's your favorite thing about living in New York?
I’ve lived in London, Sydney, and Dublin, but there’s an electrifying energy and eagerness that I’ve only found in New York. If you make an effort to reach out, then New York will reveal its opportunities. In the year since I moved here (besides hustling the city to advance Voyc!) I have regularly done pro-bono consulting for start-ups and I joined the board of a non-profit called Digital Irish, which host talks and panels with leaders of various industries. The speed that New York allows you to move is breath-taking which, as my friends and colleagues know, suits my energy levels perfectly!
What do you miss the most from Ireland?
I’m from a small city in the west of Ireland called Galway which, with almost 900 years of history, has a real character to it. The city centre is full of medieval, winding, cobblestone streets and every other building is either an animated pub or a charming café or restaurant. As people started to move home after emigrating during the recession of 2008, they brought the best of the world back with them, and now the city of only 75,000 will be the European Capital of Culture in 2020. What I miss most is being able to go for a stroll to soak up Galway’s lively atmosphere along with the grounding feeling of home before I undoubtedly bump into someone I’ve known my whole life.
What excites you about your career's future?
I’m really passionate about chasing disruptive technologies – especially those that drive positive societal benefits. Years ago, I launched a start-up that let homeowners rent out their parking spaces, effectively monetising an unused asset, and in my spare time I’m crafting an idea with some of the top museums in the world to help them drive donations via a novel digital approach. Voyc is my first foray into the nascent and nebulous worlds of AI and voice scanning technologies. These are going to be two incredible high-growth areas of innovation in the near-term, so I’m really excited to be at the cutting-edge of both, imagining applications and conceiving value-creating features for numerous industries.