University of Rhode Island alumni Daniel Faggella did what many college students only dream of: sell a company for over a million dollars. Faggella began his million dollar journey at URI where with only an independent study and a warehouse behind a carpet store. In the independent study Faggella focused mainly on the startup process behind starting a martial arts gym and within a year he opened Black Diamond Mixed Martial Arts Academy in the back of his dad’s carpet store. Four years later Faggella went on to sell Black Diamond for just over $100,000.
Fagella graduated URI in 2010 and went on to do his masters in positive psychology at theUniversity of Pennsylvania where he studied the science behind goal setting and skill making. By the end of his master’s degree, Faggella had started a second company called Science of Skill, an online e-commerce and e-learning company using instructional videos to teach self-defense classes. Science of Skill boomed in sales leading to over $200,000 a month.
However, Fagella’s real interest lied within the ethical concerns of artificial intelligence technology. So in February 2017 Fagella sold Science of Skill for a little over $1 million to fund his new and current company, TechEmergence. “I thought about ‘why am I here?’ I’m alive for many years, what do I do with my life that I consider it to be a worthwhile investment to both myself and the world, what would be a contributive use of my life?” said Fagella.
TechEmergence is an marketing research and discovery platform focused on artificial intelligence technology. The company provides a platform for emerging AI startups to get their foot in the door where executives of buying companies can quickly hear about them. However there is another side to the company, which is the large amount of market research TechEmergence is able to collect for free because of their platform. This allows the company to provide resources and information on the growing ethical concerns revolving around artificial intelligence technology.
“To me ethics boils down to things that are aware of themselves. Human beings are really important ethically because they’re very self aware, that’s what gets weighed on, on a moral scale.” said Faggella, “Global regulation of artificial intelligence is what I think is the most ethically relevant thing I can do as a human right now, and that’s where I’m focusing my efforts now…so we can make better decisions on how we can steer that new technology.”