Is there an age bias in Silicon Valley? Perhaps.
It is true that all the entrepreneurs who have built major breakthrough technology companies have been very young. Apple, Microsoft, Netscape, Google, Facebook – all were founded by entrepreneurs in their twenties (or teens).
However, if you look closely, a large number of technology companies have actually been founded by entrepreneurs in their forties.
As I studied the issue, the key differentiating factor stared at me: domain knowledge.
The Internet is full of people who expect that everything should be FREE. In Economics, this phenomenon is referred to as the Free Rider Problem: when people consume value without paying their fair share. Obviously, some people DO pay their fair share. This makes the ‘free riders’ take advantage of those who pay, making the whole equation unsustainable in the long run. Creating value is expensive. Capitalism assumes that value gets created with the understanding that those who consume that value are going to pay for it. If that assumption is violated, the system, eventually, collapses.
Sramana Mitra: Let me drill down a bit. I don’t know if you’re familiar with my writings on this subject. I’ve written extensively on this topic. What I’d like to do is take three of your customers from three different domains, and do some use cases on how you’re applying AI technology, that you built and have expertise in solving specific business problems. For example, I saw that Euromoney is a customer. Tell us what problems you solve for Euromoney and how do you solve those problems.
K-12 has been a challenge for EdTech companies to build businesses in. Typically, buying cycles tend to be very long. See where Edgenuity is getting traction, and what trends are emerging in the space.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to you as well as to your company.
Sari Factor: After a short career in teaching back in 1980, I joined a company to explore technology in education. It was the first electronic publishing division of a major US publisher. I thought technology was going to change the world. I was this young green thing right out of teaching. Here I am many years later and I’m still trying to get technology to change K-12 education.
New York-based BuzzFeed is a content discovery platform that integrates content-driven publishing technology with social media tools. Their platform provides users with access to breaking news and original content, including videos, across the social web. Here is a brief look into BuzzFeed’s performance so far. >>>
You have read some of the Unicorn Series pieces already: Tableau, FireEye, RightNow, Palo Alto Networks and several others. Here’s a company that gets little coverage but is performing at Unicorn levels.
Sramana: Ratmir, let’s start our discussion by reviewing your background. Where are you from? What are the roots of your entrepreneurial journey?
Ratmir Timashev: I was born in Russia in 1966 in the mountains between the European and Asian region of Russia. I studied physics in Moscow and I attended the top science school in Russia. I was working on my PhD when perestroika came into being. Science was very prestigious under the Soviet Union and when perestroika happened, all that changed. Government funding suddenly stopped. The economy collapsed and science did not make sense. A lot of my friends who were studying science went to work in other areas. >>>
Semantic technologies are gaining ground in the world of Big Data. This interview focuses on some applications in various parts of the industry.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing the audience to Ontotext. Tell us who you are, where you’re based, and what kind of work you are doing.
Atanas Kiryakov: I founded Ontotext in the year 2000. We were one of the leading sites globally for artificial intelligence in the 80s through the 90s. >>>
Sramana Mitra: How did you fund the company?
Assaf Rappaport: The company started with an investment from Sequoia Capital.
Sramana Mitra: So you raised concept financing from Sequoia?
Assaf Rappaport: Yes.
Sramana Mitra: That’s very unusual. How did you manage to do that? That’s happening very rarely nowadays in the industry. >>>
Cloud computing, Big Data, mobility management, and collaboration are key priorities in enterprise IT trends these days. An IDC report estimates that by the year 2017, the number of mobile internet users will increase from 1.4 billion in 2013 to 2.3 billion. Within the cloud, Gartner estimates that enterprise spending will increase from $132 billion in 2013 to $244 billion by 2017. Another report from IDC estimates that the volume of data generated will increase 200 times over the period 2005 to 2020.