Navid Alipour: Our LP’s said “We want you to start other companies that are applying artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning to clean structure data.” By applying this AI, you can make a prediction or you can detect something that doesn’t belong.
By doing one of those things, you’re going to increase revenues, decrease costs by bringing operational efficiencies. Or in the healthcare sense, you are not just saving money in bringing efficiencies, but you’re also prolonging life and saving lives as well. In breast cancer example, if detected earlier, the odds of survival are significantly higher. That’s where we’re proud.
Sramana Mitra: How many companies in parallel are you going to be doing? You said you’ve done three so far, right?
Navid Alipour: No. If you look at our website, we have eight right now. We do have two more in the pipeline that we haven’t officially announced. They’re with corporate partners. We’re still open to starting companies with individuals as we did with CureMetrics.
When we formed our AI lab, the premise was that we don’t want to re-invent the wheel with every company that will meet ten data scientists. There is an article in The New York Times that said there’re only 10,000 real data scientists. A lot of people say they do AI but that’s just glorified business intelligence or they’re just using open-source tools like Google’s TensorFlow, Apache, Caffe, or other tools, which is fine.
Some tools are good for ABC, however not XYZ and vice-versa. Our team can custom-build our own algorithms. What ended up happening is, we built our AI lab, which is one of our portfolio companies. The purpose, initially, was development just for ourselves and our portfolio companies. We ended being contacted by the Fortune 500 companies and venture-backed startups that wanted to leverage our bench.
We do have an outward facing arm of our lab called dynam.AI where we go into large and small companies and help them with applying artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning to their respective verticals. In some of these larger companies, we learn about their business, identify some other opportunities, and go to them saying “Would you like us to help, maybe do this internally for you?”
As the conversation progresses, it makes sense to do joint ventures, for example, with the private digital media agency THEOS, meaning God in Greek. Just like we’re not healthcare experts, let alone breast cancer experts, but we built the company that’s recognized as being the best in the world detecting breast cancer. We’re not advertising experts, but we partnered with an entity and corporation that is.
Digital media experts and advertising experts have the data and know the pain points on the problems they want to solve. They know who the clients are. You marry that domain expertise with our deep venture of AI experts and we can then develop a product or software that not only they can use, but it’s something that we can scale out and build a business out of.