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Title — Associate, New Ventures

Joined — March, 2017

Employee No. — #2


  1. What are you really into outside of work?
    Traveling, outdoorsy activities, reading, and playing music (piano and guitar).

  2. How do you stay on top of what's going on in retail and technology?
    By reading a lot of books and blogs, listening to podcasts, and talking to other people to hear their views and opinions.

  3. In one word, describe yourself.

  4. Your most recent Walmart purchase?
    A GoPro to use while bungee jumping in New Zealand!

  5. What's the first thing you do when you wake up?
    Hit the snooze button...and then practice yoga and meditation.

  6. Favorite podcast?
    The Tim Ferriss Show

  7. Best advice you've
    been given? 

    If fear is holding you back from taking a risk, take some time to seriously consider the worst case scenario. Often times it’s not that bad, the fear is overblown, and the risk isn’t that big.

  8. Anything else we should know about you?
    I almost dropped out of MIT to become a musician. I think I made the right decision not to.

I've always enjoyed working in early stage environments. After graduating from MIT, I worked in finance and then co-founded and ran operations at Origin, a fin-tech startup in London. At the time, I had been following the story of Jet from the earliest stages and was intrigued by Marc’s mission. Upon moving back to the States, things fell into place and I joined Jet in the year prior to the Walmart acquisition.

Post-acquisition, I wanted to work on challenging problems that affect real people and finding the solutions that have an impact at a massive scale. Joining Store Nº8 was the best way to do that.

As a Store Nº8 Associate, my role sits at the intersection of technology and business strategy. The process of building something from scratch and seeing an idea through to fruition is really what gets me excited. In my first 6 months, I was largely focused on investigating the retail applications of Artificial Intelligence (specifically voice) and supporting Jenny Fleiss and her team as they built Jetblack, the first incubated company in the Store Nº8 portfolio.

More recently, my focus has been to investigate blockchain and cryptocurrencies in order to inform the Store Nº8 position and strategy related to the retail application of those technologies. These are very nascent, and the tech community is still trying to understand the best applications, but they have huge potential to be transformative. It feels a lot like the early stages of the Internet, where it’s clear that this technology will enable something completely new, but it’s not clear exactly how it will play out.

I've also been focused helping to support innovation at the enterprise level by launching and managing iD8, a 10-week incubation bootcamp in Bentonville. I’m excited about this program because it has the potential to drive innovation through Walmart’s associates, at an enormous scale. I’m looking forward to seeing what sort of ideas and projects come out of the program.


Sharat Alankar

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