AI-Powered Startup Launching in Toronto
Steve Irvine is a former executive at Facebook, Inc. He recently left his position in Silicon Valley to start his own company, Integrate.ai, which focuses on applied artificial intelligence. The company will target clients that can use AI technology to increase customer engagement and, as a result, drive revenue growth.

While Steve is far from the first corporate executive to leave behind a secure position to try his hand in the startup world, he is unique in the fact that, rather than remain in Silicon Valley, Steve chose to start his company north of the border, in Toronto.

Irvine’s company provides clients with a ‘software as a service’, or SaaS, intelligence platform. This platform aims to bring machine learning together with big data to help clients make more informed business decisions and provide a higher quality customer experience in order to build more lucrative customer relations, says Irvine.

“We’re interested in how we can apply AI in those situations in a way that makes them easier and more efficient,” Irvine adds, “like reducing the steps a customer would need to get a service, or deliver a more personalized experience as they go through the process, so that we can take what we’ve learned about them and do a better job of predicting what they want from the business.”

So, Why Toronto?

Irvine is particularly excited about growing his company in Toronto, which he calls “the birthplace of modern AI research.” He points to the city’s positive reputation in an otherwise turbulent geopolitical environment as a prime advantage to his company’s ability to attract talent from around the globe.

Continued support for technological endeavors from both academic institutions and various levels of provincial government also make Toronto a favorable environment for Irvine’s startup. He also says he looks forward to leveraging a partnership with the University of Toronto to explore how applied research can help his company’s AI platform expand and adapt.

“A lot of people don’t know this but many of the leading researchers that are running big AI research labs around the world today are people who studied or did their postgraduate degrees at the University of Toronto under Professor Geoffrey Hinton, who’s essentially the godfather of deep learning,” says Irvine. “There’s an unbelievable amount of talent that’s coming out of Toronto, and Canada as a whole, these days.”

What About the Money?

Every startup struggles with funding at some point or other. Fortunately, Irvine’s company has already completed one seeding round that helped them secure $5 million USD from Georgian Partners, an equity firm focused on investing in SaaS companies in the fields of applied artificial intelligence, security first, and conversational business.

In a recent press release, the company actually announced that one of the managing partners and co-founders of Georgian Partners, Justin LaFayette, will be joining the Integrate.ai board of directors. LaFayette had the following to say about the recent announcement:

“This is a rare opportunity to be part of something that is very large and closely aligned with our applied artificial intelligence investment thesis. Steve has a unique set of skills and experience that, along with the rich pool of AI talent available in Toronto, will enable Integrate.ai to scale quickly.”

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Posted by: DSR
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Tag: Business Start Ups
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