Entrepreneurship, Drones, Governance
Entrepreneurship • Exponential Thinking • GGC-Governance • Autonomous Vehicles
Paola Santana is a lawyer, public procurement expert and tech entrepreneur, creating the next breakthrough in government systems. She’s the founder and CEO of Social Glass, a software ecosystem using Artificial Intelligence to power high-performing governments.
Previously, she co-founded Matternet, a Silicon Valley company pioneering drone logistics networks. Under her leadership, Matternet engaged with The White House, US Congress, FAA, and NASA to enact the first drone regulation in the United States in 2016, and became the world’s first drone delivery platform authorized for permanent operations over a populated city in 2017.
She co-established the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Court, and worked at the National Elections Court coordinating the Elections Litigation Chamber. She has also collaborated with the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the OECD, developing striking public infrastructure projects and strategic partnerships integrating exponential technologies.
She’s best known for her ability to create things from scratch at the intersection of the public, private and regulatory domains, and for her track record introducing cutting-edge technologies into highly-regulated markets. Her most recent experience includes co-drafting the public-private partnership enabling the first multi-state Hyperloop system in the United States.
A Fulbright scholar and graduate from George Washington, Georgetown and Singularity University, she’s been featured as CNET Top 20 Latin in Tech, Forbes Top 50 Women of Power in Central America and the Dominican Republic, LinkedIn Top 10 Professionals Under 35 in Enterprise Tech, and served as Lead of the UN International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Unmanned Aircraft Systems Advisory Group and appointed member of the first FAA Drone Advisory Committee. She’s currently Faculty at Singularity University, and Mentor for the Social Entrepreneurship Labs Incubator at Stanford University and Google AI.
More than a billion people live without functioning roads for part or most of the year. Paola Santana’s video explains how Matternet, the start-up she co-founded, aims to build “a more equal, roadless world” for people in developing countries with limited infrastructure or disaster zones by means of small, battery-fueled drones delivering the necessities of life. Matternet’s vision is to create “the next paradigm for transportation using a network of unmanned aerial vehicles,” connecting rural and remote areas to markets, ferrying medicine and other supplies vital to improving people’s lives.
More than two thirds of the goods we access everyday weigh less than 1 kilogram. From medicine to documents and electronic goods — our need to transport lightweight goods on-demand, efficiently and cost-effectively is growing every day. A network of smart flying vehicles operating in the background 24/7, like the internet, is able to meet this demand at minimal cost and carbon footprint. To change the transportation paradigm, especially in places facing major road infrastructure challenges, we will have no choice but to rely on smart drones and integrated software applications that ensure safe and efficient autonomous operation.
Silicon Valley is developing advanced technologies at a pace never experienced before by humanity. However, these technological advances do not have as a fundamental objective to tackle the global problems that today keep billions of people without access to basic services and disconnected from the global economy. For Silicon Valley and the developing world, this probably constitutes one of the greatest challenges and opportunities of our modern era: To prove that together, they can create high-impact solutions to improve the quality of life of those in extreme need, and to push technology to expand its outreach as a tool of massive social transformation that (finally!) reaches everyone.