Rodrigo entreneurially active in Indonesia

Rodrigo Rivera-Castro


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

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

Rivera has developed and executed diverse IT strategies for sales and marketing. Through automation, he has invigorated critical acquisition channels for large e-commerce retailers, accelerated the success of new product launches in the consumer goods sector, and 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 in that 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 in the world, to develop tools using data mining methods to automate customer management and advertising.

The opportunity at Rocket Internet SE took him through an intrapreneurial adventure spanning five years across emerging markets. In southeast Asia, Rodrigo worked in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam for OfficeFab, an online retailer for office staples, where 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 work in advertisement automation.

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

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 optimization of the catalog structure and ranking.

Rivera’s work in e-commerce personalization attracted the attention of Philip Morris International, the largest producer of tobacco goods in the world. As a data science manager, his mandate was to establish the data science capabilities of the company 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.

There, he has pursued research at the intersection of Machine Learning and Topological Data Analysis. He is the author of more than seven peer-reviewed articles in the areas of demand prediction, 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 researcher at the university, during which his research work came to the attention of international institutions such as the Mexican National Council of Science and Technology.

The desire for social impact drives Rivera’s research. His work in machine learning applications aims at reducing food waste in emerging markets through an 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 South East Asia, Europe, Eastern Europe, and the Americas. These experiences have enabled him to be exposed to business cultures from different perspectives.

He also holds a master 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).