Sramana Mitra: What do you want to convey to the audience as your parting thoughts?
Navid Alipour: We’re getting the word out about what Analytics Ventures is doing. Geographically, all our current companies happen to be in San Diego but our hands aren’t tied. We could launch a company in Berlin, London, or in Des Moines, Iowa.
Sramana Mitra: You’re worried about geography given your high touch venture studio model?
Navid Alipour: Let me add the fine print there. The footnote. The data science team is here in San Diego. But if we have a corporate partner that needs us to have a presence there, we can have a presence there. This does lend itself a little more to have a corporate partner where we can then setup a presence there and in San Diego.
As we get the companies going, then they need their own everything. We have a Director of Marketing at our studio that works on all the companies. This way the cost is shared. As a company matures, they’re going to need their own marketing person full-time. That’s the same with the AI expertise. With our data scientists, if there’s a project that they just happen to passionately be in love with, they can go full time to that company.
We have a technical test that we give to anyone that applies. We’re always looking for new hires. If they don’t pass it, we don’t hire them. That’s a non-starter. Anyone we hire for our current and future companies or for the lab itself has to pass that test. As we hire full-time teams for each company, we’re going to maintain the same caliber of expertise. We’re not geographically limited. We’re looking for individual domain experts whether they be entrepreneurs or scientists in any industry.
You don’t have to be an AI expert. You just have to say “If I have this data and if I can make a prediction or a recommendation, this is going to make and save a lot of money in whatever capacity.” Then we want to talk to you. If you’re someone at a corporation, whether the senior executive level or board member or in the middle of the corporate ladder, and you have domain expertise whether individually or at your company, we would love to talk to you.
AI is the fourth industrial revolution. Mark Cuban said “If you’re not thinking how to apply AI to your business, you’ll be a dinosaur in the next three years.” I don’t think it’ll be three years. We agree with this premise that everyone needs to think about how AI is going to be applied to their businesses. CEO’s are saying, “We don’t want to be the next Barnes and Noble blockbuster video that didn’t adapt and went away with the dinosaurs.” They’re looking to bring AI expertise in other companies.
That’s where we’re looking to partner with them. What we found is that the really exceptional data scientists don’t want to work for corporate America. If they do, they want to work for the sexy tech companies like Google and Apple. They don’t want to work for Proctor & Gamble, Hershey’s, Coca Cola, or Johnson and Johnson.
It’s very difficult for these non-tech corporate companies to hire top data science teams. This will change eventually. There’s more talent. For those who don’t want to work at the non-tech companies, they are then looking at groups like ours to either bring in an existing project or to launch joint ventures where they’ll have a significant ownership interest in.
Sramana Mitra: Very good! Good conversation and interesting insights. Thank you for sharing, and thank you for your time.