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How To Create An AI (Artificial Intelligence) Startup

AI (Artificial Intelligence) is definitely the "in" thing right now in the tech world. It seems like there is a new startup spinning up every day. And yes, many existing companies are re-branding themselves as AI operators.

Tom Taulli

The irony is that this technology has been around for decades - but it is only recently that it has gotten traction. Then again, there has been a convergence of various technologies that has made AI a reality.

"There has been more progress in speech recognition technology in the last 30 months than in the first 30 years," said Jamie Sutherland, who is the CEO and co-founder of Sonix (which is an AI service for transcription). "It's not just the massive amounts of data that are being collected, it's the fact that this data can be mined at amazing speeds. Computing power is increasing at an exponential rate. This opens up a whole new world of opportunity for novel applications to be developed that wouldn't have been possible only a few years ago."

Yet the AI market is getting increasingly crowded, with the noise level hitting fever pitch. So then, how can you set yourself apart? What are the strategies to consider?

Well, to get some answers, I reached out to various CEOs and founders of AI companies:

Dan O'Connell, chief strategy officer and GM of VoiceAI at Dialpad (formerly the CEO at TalkIQ):

Founders often forget about three important elements of building an AI company, which we learned first-hand while building TalkIQ and are now applying as we continue our journey at Dialpad (which acquired TalkIQ in May). The first is hiring a team with a diverse combination of academic experience and product development expertise - this mix is important in building models, designing features, and bringing them to market. The second is setting realistic expectations on which problems your product can and can't solve - otherwise users are highly likely to experience disappointment because AI as a whole is still in the first innings. Finally, it's crucial for your engineers to interact directly with customers and the features they're building. If you're not excited about what you're building and it doesn't work in the desired way when you test it, you can't expect someone else to pay for it.

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