As an entrepreneur with a robust background in strategy and innovation, Manish A. Shah is driven by his enthusiasm for consulting and helping people make data-driven decisions. He has over 10 years of experience in analytics and sales and marketing strategy in the travel industry. Manish is an expert problem solver, using analytical approaches to help people craft resolutions and grow their business top lines. Manish has led strategy for both Delta Air Lines and IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), alongside his 8 years of history in consulting with Accenture, E&Y, and Cap Gemini. In February 2014, Manish began leading Marketing and Innovation for Decision Street, an Atlanta software startup focused on the hospitality industry. Manish is also currently on the Board of Directors for ATL (Atlanta Travel Leaders) and has been a chair with the Atlanta Interactive Marketing Association, in addition to his role as a PEAR’d Board Advisor.
How did you become an entrepreneur?
It was a culmination of my many years of corporate life where I acted as an in house entrepreneur supporting decisions to enter new business models using data and analytics. I eventually gained more ambition than what a corporate ladder could fulfill and later in my life the entrepreneur “bug” bit me. It was about a year ago that I went and started looking at investment opportunities in travel industry startups and then began evaluating travel technology companies in which I could join and do something with a smaller team. That was the top motivation in addition to joining an analytics product oriented company which would allow me to create something valuable. Joining Decision Street was a perfect intersection of what I was looking for: a small software oriented, product oriented start-up, based in Atlanta, GA, focused on the travel and hospitality industry.
What is your why?
From a professional standpoint, it’s all around providing technologies, tools, analysis, and insights that allow for better decision making. Having a background in consulting for many years, I learned at an early stage that as we advise our customers and our clients, we are helping them make better decisions. I carried that kind of consulting point of view throughout the rest of my career as I jumped from consulting into corporate. As I looked to get away from being a road-warrior, I took internal consulting-oriented roles with Delta Airlines as well as at IHG that supported decision making. Now with a view towards entrepreneurship, Decision Street is a great spring board to develop products that help hotels make better revenue driving decisions using their own data and insights. In fact, Decision Street has just launched our first product, DRIVE, which helps hotels makes better decisions to optimize their group revenues.
From a personal standpoint, it’s all about family and traveling with them all around the world to build great memories together.
What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of the Atlanta entrepreneurial ecosystem? How would you like to see it develop?
The strengths involved are that it’s vibrant. It exists; it’s here and growing. The main opportunity it has would be for a better foundation with a bit of structure. This would include financing, mentorship, relationships, and organizations along with sponsorship from the city and government. I would also like to see formal programs developed by our local Fortune 500 corporations to help the entrepreneurial ecosystem nurture its growth.
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The Author: Kristine Santos. Entrepreneur. Anthropologist. Writer. Runs social media and blogging for Atlanta-based startup PEAR’d, a virtual collaboration ecosystem for entrepreneurs. A vegetarian who’s learning how to sew and wants to know all about your startup. Let’s talk on Twitter@PEARdUP
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