Eighteen years ago, if you had asked Nancy Keddy if she had plans to start her ownbusiness, chances are you couldn’t; you wouldn’t know where to find her, because she and her husband were on the road in their Subaru driving across the country. Though she was born and raised in Beantown, Nancy, at the time, was driving across the country looking for greener pastures (or snowier, as she found in Wyoming). For 18 months she and her husband drove from state to state, making stops at all except the Dakotas, Alaska and Wyoming, due to 17 feet of snow.
Today, Nancy is the CEO and Co-Founder of Touch Ahead Software, founded in 2008. She is also the CEO and Founder of NSK Inc, which she started in 1996, just a few days after returning from her 18-month sabbatical.
Nancy has always been a go-getter. She was one of five girls in the Mechanical Engineering class at Northeastern University. Post graduation, she worked for TA Associates as their IT Manager and made a name for herself in a largely male industry. But upon her return to Boston she realized she could do more than work for just one company. “I felt that it was too limiting to what I could do, and I knew that I’d learn more by being involved in more companies,” Nancy said. “I wanted to be a resource for many people. It was a very interesting time.”
The multi-CEO started out small as an IT consultant, but as NSK grew bigger and took on more clients, she needed more help. The team has since grown to almost 30 employees.
But life isn’t all business for Nancy Keddy. She named scuba diving as one of her favorite hobbies, an activity she happened upon by chance on her honeymoon. She took and completed the training course about 14 years ago and became a certified diver and lobsterman – that’s right, Nancy dives for lobster. When asked where her favorite place to dive is, she replied, “They’re all different – it’s not necessarily the place as much as the surprise of what you see. When I dive in Gloucester I’ll see dogfish in swarms which look like teams of sharks, or I’ll be digging up lobsters from under rocks and a striped bass will follow me around and try to steal the lobster right from me.”
If she wasn’t running two businesses, Nancy said she’d probably be somewhere in the marine biology business. One perk to the diving profession? “My cell phone doesn’t work underwater.”
For now, Nancy has a lot on her plate, and she’s got big plans for the future of Touch Ahead. She hopes to penetrate another B2B industry after getting as big a market as possible in the financial services arena. Her goal is to create a service that can be tailored to each individual business that Touch Ahead works with.
“I’m a computer nerd,” Nancy admits, laughing. “I get very wrapped up in details, so I’m very in tune to why people want a certain feature and why people have to have it a certain way. I think that’s why people love EquityTouch so much, because they realize that we’re not just developers throwing something out there. We’re people who are thinking, ‘Okay, this is how people are going to understand it, this is how people react to this type of input.’ If you can reach a certain group, that’s the key.”
“And you think you’ve done that?”
“I think we’ve done that.”