Rodrigo entreneurially active in Indonesia

Rodrigo Rivera-Castro


Rodrigo Rivera is a proven tech executive and nascent academic with numerous years of experience managing analytics, data science, and machine learning groups and projects. He has expertise in leading technical teams in data-driven decision-making and identifying market opportunities to drive revenues and profits aligned with corporate needs by leveraging machine learning.

As a tech manager, his strength lies in developing machine-learning software, emphasizing growing revenue, market share, and brand footprint in highly competitive environments.

Rivera has developed and executed diverse IT strategies for sales and marketing. He has invigorated critical acquisition channels for large e-commerce retailers and accelerated new product launches’ success in the consumer goods sector through automation. He has assembled and developed top teams and leaders while steering transformations that align culture with overarching company strategy.

Rodrigo has had an unusual pathway to an active research career. The first decade after graduating from the Technical University of Munich in information systems, he was entrepreneurially active as founder and CEO of Emplido, an Internet startup in the recruitment analytics space acquired by Experteer Inc in 2011.

After a stint at Experteer Inc, Rodrigo was approached by Rocket Internet SE, one of the most substantial publicly traded Internet holdings globally, to develop data mining tools to automate customer management and advertising.

The opportunity at Rocket Internet SE took him through an intrapreneurial adventure spanning five years across emerging markets. Rodrigo worked in Southeast Asia in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam for OfficeFab, an online retailer for office staples. He automated the sales acquisition process and customer relationship management. In the region, he was also involved with Lazada, acquired by Alibaba in 2016, and Zalora, a significant fashion online retailer.

During the Initial Public Offering of Rocket Internet SE in 2014, the company prospectus used for investor roadshows featured his advertisement automation work.

As one of the first members of Rocket Internet ventures in verticals such as food delivery, classifieds for real estate, and classifieds for vehicles, he levered machine learning methods to automate processes, assist sales representatives in lead qualification, and accelerate market rollouts.

Later, he was responsible for research and development at Lamoda and Dafiti, part of the Global Fashion Group, the leading fashion e-commerce group for emerging markets. There, he developed recommender systems and worked on personalizing the shopping experience.

For Linio, a large Latin American e-commerce retailer, he was in charge of the data science team. His work helped the retailer boost profit through newsletter personalization techniques and optimizing the catalog structure and ranking.

Rivera’s work in e-commerce personalization attracted Philip Morris International’s attention, the largest producer of tobacco goods globally. As a data science manager, his mandate was to establish the company’s data science capabilities in Russia and form one of the first data science groups within the eighty-thousand employees’ organization.

In 2017, he transitioned to academia and joined the research group of Prof. Evgeny Burnaev, the Advanced Data Analytics in Science and Engineering Group, at the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology.

He has pursued research at the intersection of Machine Learning, Topological Data Analysis, and Time Series Data. He is the author of more than twelve peer-reviewed articles on time series, sequences, forecasting, user modeling, and resource allocation.

Rodrigo Rivera completed his Ph.D. coursework and most of his doctoral research in two years while working as a university researcher. His research work interested international institutions such as the Mexican National Council of Science and Technology, the Hans Weisser Foundation, and the German Economy Foundation.

As a machine-learning researcher, he has advised international organizations in the technology sector, such as Huawei and Alibaba, and joined Samsung NEXT, Samsung’s corporate venture capital fund, as Technical Director.

The desire for social impact drives Rivera’s research. His work in machine learning applications aims at reducing food waste in emerging markets through optimal distribution and optimization of the supply chain.

As an alumnus of the “CEMS - The Global Alliance in Management Education,” he has lived and worked across Southeast Asia, Europe, Eastern Europe, and the Americas. These experiences exposed him to business cultures from different perspectives.

He also holds a master’s degree in Big Data Systems from the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Russia, as well as a graduate certificate in Technology Management from the Center of Digital Technology and Management, a joint institution of the two universities in Munich, the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU) and the Technische Universität München (TUM).