Geek of the Week: Paul Blase, CEO, Speciate AI

A lot of commercial entities today spend tons of money on managing and analyzing their structured data. Yet a lot of the data regarding products and services isn’t structured. Videos, comments on social media, and even complaints that are recorded and sent to friends are all unstructured data. Paul Blase, alongside the other co-founder of Speciate AI Kate Besser, realized that companies are neglecting this significant source of feedback. They proposed to develop an AI-powered engine that would take this unstructured data, decipher it, then offer insights directly to companies. The company was founded in 2018 and has raised millions in seed funding to date. For us to understand Paul’s motivation, we must first look at the reason he decided that the world needed Speciate AI.

Paul’s opinion is that AI can change the world. In all his pitches to companies that he’s trying to get onto the Speciate AI bandwagon, he keeps telling them that AI has the potential to transform their company and eventually their industry. Paul’s motivation is to offer a piece of software that allows companies to spend less time dealing with unstructured data and more time running the company and using those insights to make better decisions. Speciate attempts to bring customers and companies closer together, both by offering a way for companies to collect customer feedback and by giving customers a way to report back to manufacturers easily. Paul’s mindset is that everyone should win from the incorporation of AI into the feedback process.

Paul’s history is marketing is pretty impressive. He held the position of a Principal and Global & US Consulting Analytics Leader at PwC. He’s a media darling as well, having his opinions covered by thought leaders such as the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg. As a product of the MIT Sloan School of Management, Paul started working at Diamond Management and Technology Consultants in 1994. He moved on to work at Tribune Publishing before becoming a co-founder of Speciate AI and a partner in Digital Intent.

While at PwC, Paul was responsible for designing and launching the company’s US and global analytics data operating model and managed investments. His decisions allowed over 1700 professionals to apply this new technology to data and analytics to garner insights for the company’s clientele. Not only did this change the way the company viewed analytics, but it also allowed PwC to pursue the creation of their Analytic Apps Marketplace to provide analytics assistance to their clients further. Speciate AI stemmed from the lessons he learned while at PwC.

Paul’s background in emerging technology fits well with the role that Speciate AI intends to fill. The company is still small in comparison with others, but as most of its work is done by technology, there’s no need to have a vast workforce. At the moment, the company’s target is manufacturers and distributors of electronics. Paul hopes that the use of AI can help these companies gain ten times the customer insight they would have by leveraging AI alongside unstructured data, but it would cost them one-tenth of the price to do so compared to traditional means. We’re eager to see where Paul and Speciate AI end up!

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