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Rogayeh Tabrizi, Founder and CEO, Theory+Practice

Rogayeh Tabrizi: Leading Complex Science with Artful Simplicity

Over the years, leadership has changed to meet the requirements of modern times and ever-changing business landscapes. Rogayeh Tabrizi has cultivated a team that practices honest and open feedback and developed an environment where continuous learning and curiosity is rewarded. Leading this type of environment allows Rogayeh and her team to ask the right questions to ensure Theory+Practice drives value for their clients.

Through her lens of physics and behavioural economics, Rogayeh noticed the business world was approaching data from a data-first perspective whereas she saw the true potential of data strategies being unlocked with a businessfirst approach. This observation led her to co-found Theory+Practice, which offers a range of services to help their clients stay ahead of an ever-changing market, including data analysis and value-first data strategies, automated and integrated AI, and behavioral economics.

As the CEO of Theory+Practice, Rogayeh analyzes behavioral economics, game theory, and behavior patterns in social networks and sees the need for corporations to understand their data better to serve their customers.

The Entrepreneurial Journey

At the age of 20, Rogayeh came to Canada and continued her academic career in physics where she earned her Masters; however, she later completely shifted academic paths and achieved a Ph.D. in Economics. The changes shaped and gave her the confidence to tackle significant business problems.

Rogayeh has faced several challenges in her professional career but took them as opportunities to improve and allow Theory+Practice to evolve and grow. Her co-founded venture started without any funding, bootstrapping the company. An early challenge was that it was difficult for enterprises to take the company and their promises seriously because of their size, scale, history, and background. As a small firm, working with influential organizations and government departments, working on projects that are sometimes orders of billions of dollars, there is much complexity to navigate in those highly

complicated environments.
Theory+Practice now works with several Fortune 500 companies, and they continuously prove their value. The team continues to learn and grow and enjoys the challenges that the large, complex data work of Fortune 500 companies presents.

Mission and Vision

The company is bridging the gap between theory and practice with a foundational ground-up approach to problem-solving and putting questions first. With exclusive skills and an intellectually diverse team, Theory+Practice has come together tackling and solving its clients’ big complex problems with passion, ambition, and dedication to generating value. Its academic and cultural diversity provides access to unique perspectives, fosters true innovation, and creates a real edge.
Theory+Practice is passionate about education and approaching AI in a value-first way. So, an integral part of their AI projects is educating and training their client’s internal data science teams. By the end of project deployment, the client’s internal teams have learned a lot. And that is the beauty of combining theory and practice.

The Effective Impact

Theory+Practice works with leading companies at an executive level to help them translate their business strategy to a data strategy and then help them execute it. Rogayeh states that the company consistently bypasses the data organizing exercises commonly sidetracking large organizations, utilizing the data to get AI solutions into production and scale. Theory+Practice demonstrates thought-leadership in deploying innovative end-to-end strategies that approach problems business-first. It mixes traditional skills like computer science with many different academic backgrounds, such as finance, behavioral economics, sociology, and psychology. This innovative approach uniquely harnesses typically overlooked Ph.D. skills, like a deep understanding of game theory and social networks, creating value and allowing spectacular (and previously unattainable) outcomes. It’s team is also proudly diverse in gender; 50% of its science team is female! Theory+Practice leads by example in the tech industry and hopes to inspire and train the next generation of female tech leaders.

The team Rogayeh has built is full of brilliant and diverse people, and it is doing things notably different, which is why Fortune 500 companies are seeking them out. Its lean team is achieving outstanding results and not taking a datafirst cookie-cutter approach. It recently built a recommendation model for a large investment management company. The model equips the company’s regional managers with insight on who their most valuable customers are and the most appropriate products for them. This work delivers an achievable added value of between $2.12 billion and $42 billion!

Robust Pillars

Theory+Practice stands on the pillars of innovation, determination, and collaboration. Rogayeh expresses that she emphasizes independent thinking, honest feedback, and the drive to learn and improve. Every team member is an independent thinker who challenges how things are done and approaches work through the lens of constantly improving and that there is always a better way.

In a similar vein, the company champions honest feedback internally and from clients. Having an environment where team members feel comfortable sharing positive and negative feedback is something Rogayeh has carefully cultivated at Theory+Practice. Built internally on a culture of experimentation, this extends to its clients and pushes them towards experimentation. And this is one of the ways the company bridges the gap between theory and practice. So, while Theory+Practice values and practices teamwork, honest feedback, experimentation, and continual learning, equally vital is striving to approach everything with humility.

Significant Role of Technology

Rogayeh states that Theory+Practice is a technology company with deep expertise in AI and data, focusing on business value; technology is only there to unlock business value. It uses the technologies available in creative ways. As a technology-agnostic company, it can unlock business value regardless of operating system or data storage methods.
Rogayeh asserts, “The beautiful thing about technology is that it is continuing to advance, and we are fortunate enough to work at the leading edge of things that are happening. For us, it’s really about how we can utilize that technology to make users/customers’ lives better and create value for businesses. That is where the opportunity lies today, and that is the philosophy of theory and practice.”

Above and Beyond

Aiming towards a larger, broader, and more global scale the Theory+Practice team will remain focused on innovation and continue to problem-solve using their unique approach of Theory+Practice. It will focus on bringing the next set of new technologies, new innovative approaches, and technologies and techniques that will have a global impact.

Wise Words for Entrepreneurs

While bequeathing budding entrepreneurs, Rogayeh says, “It’s all about people. People in your team and with partners and clients. Believing in people and investing in them is crucial. Think about questions first, don’t spend a ton of resources not knowing what you want to do. Then experiment, experiment, experiment! Results are best when a talented team takes the time to focus, start small, and experiment.”
“Building a roadmap is another great tool that gives a leader confidence in their direction and reduces any misgivings. So, to sum up, my advice, people are key, ask questions first, and always experiment!” Rogayeh concludes.