Techstars Montreal AI Accelerator is one of the first business accelerators specially designed for the artificial intelligence industry in Montreal. It’s goal is to build a bridge between the attraction of talent from all over the world, and helping local experts shine internationally.
As a digital marketing professional who is very involved with new technology and the evolution of the market, I decided to get involved in this initiative as a mentor. On Demo Day, last Wednesday, December 5, I was able to speak to entrepreneurs about their progress and future opportunities.
A trend we’re seeing with AI start-ups is that of integration. Essentially, these companies are usually trying to complete services or functionalities that already exist on the market. From a business perspective, what’s really interesting is that we’re witnessing a profound paradigm shift that creates space for a philosophy of collaboration rather than competition. The goal of artificial intelligence is to complement existing markets, and this approach is very inspiring.
For businesses, the legal context is often one of the most significant triggers for innovation. Legal constraints are forcing managers to revisit their business models and execution processes even more than innovation departments, because it’s unavoidable. The European law on data protection is the perfect example, as my colleague Marie Nicollet explains in her article on the subject.
Many of these young companies are extremely promising, and I’ve decided to introduce you to a few that particularly caught my attention.
This entrepreneurial project offers a tool that integrates with software and platforms, like Slack, that companies use to promote diversity and inclusion at work. What’s unique about their offering has to do with the aggregation of internal and external data that allows for the creation of a personalized human relations plan based on the perceptions and knowledge level of employees. This training plan is then completed by external content (videos, articles, etc.) that uses an approach to continuing education that integrates into professionals’ everyday lives.
The big idea behind this innovation is an existing problem, diversity and inclusion at work, that still has no obvious solution. Yet, the main challenge for this start-up is creating awareness, both to clarify the specific offering, and express the value-added, because companies are often already paying for an existing service that claims to be complete as-is.
For existing companies, a start-up like Crescendo will upset the way they do things by allowing them to collect better feedback from their employees in a way that’s constant and anonymous. This will allow them to broach more delicate subjects, something that’s become extremely important in the era of #MeToo and other organizational scandals.
The mission of this start-up is unequivocal: to limit the use of herbicides in the agricultural industry. The technology they’ve developed consists of a photo recognition system that allows for localized intelligent spraying of the herbicides that are essential for production. The photo recognition system is translated into cartesian data which is programmed into the machinery, allowing for automation based on photo recognition and automated learning.
The legal context governing the agricultural sector and the use of chemical products, which follows the trend towards eco-responsibility, was a major incentive for these entrepreneurs to start looking for a solution based in artificial intelligence.
In short, Green-eye Technology is pushing its industry to evolve by encouraging agricultural companies to be more intelligent in their use of chemical products, without reducing profitability.
The entrepreneurs behind this start-up developed a legal search engine. But forget the results you can find through Google, we’re talking here about a tool that can dig up articles on specific laws and concrete solutions for complex legal questions. It’s all made possible by machine learning based on real legal cases resolved by humans.
A start-up like Alexsei, that facilitates access to information, will not only be able to give civilians more autonomy, but in the long run could even transform the role of the legal profession into one of guidance and advice rather than knowledge. This change could lead to fewer hours required to prepare files, and could eventually make professional legal services more accessible.
Data is the cornerstone of the resources used by entrepreneurs in artificial intelligence. Without it, automated learning would simply not be possible. Lack of data is actually a problem for many start-ups, who develop brilliant models and hypotheses, but don’t have access to a sufficient amount of data to proceed to intelligent automation.
How about you, what trends do you find the most interesting in artificial intelligence? What changes do you think we should be on the lookout for?