The startup wants to expand its customer base to include businesses that require assistance in maturing AI pilot projects.
Former US technology chief Michael Kratsios has joined data management startup Scale AI Inc. as managing director and head of strategy, the company announced Thursday. He will assist a broader range of customers in maturing AI pilot projects.
Mr. Kratsios began working at Scale AI in March, where he is focused on assisting businesses in transforming AI pilot projects into marketable offerings, according to the San Francisco-based startup.
“A lot of leading companies have AI teams,” said Mr. Kratsios, who served as the Trump administration’s chief technology officer. “I believe we can help a lot of these companies transition from conducting numerous tests and pilots to actually putting their AI into production,” he said. According to Scale AI, the position is a new one within the company.
Scale AI, whose customers include PayPal Holdings Inc. and Toyota Research Institute Inc., provides services and software to assist businesses in managing the data used to train artificial intelligence algorithms.
According to Mr. Kratsios, the company has served sophisticated AI users including government agencies and technology companies such as Lyft Inc. and Pinterest Inc. He stated that he would assist the company in expanding its customer base to include businesses that may lack experience implementing AI projects.
“We are in the very early stages of achieving widespread adoption of AI across the majority of traditional businesses,” Mr. Kratsios explained. “So we have a long runway ahead of us, and I believe we’ve laid a tremendous foundation upon which to build,” he explained.
Mr. Kratsios stated that he would assist the company in securing Fortune 500 clients in sectors such as financial services and agriculture. He will report to Chief Executive Alexandr Wang and will also assist executives with product development, sales, and marketing, according to the company.
Scale AI was founded in 2016 and has raised more than $602 million in venture capital from investors such as Dragoneer Investment Group, Greenoaks Capital, and Tiger Global Management.
Mr. Kratsios stated that he would assist Scale AI in developing a product roadmap and introducing the company to a variety of industries seeking a breakthrough in artificial intelligence.
Scale AI stated that one of its services is labeling the data required for training AI algorithms. For example, a company developing self-driving cars may require the ability to recognize humans and other objects in video feeds. Scale AI would label as much data as possible using a proprietary machine learning platform, which would then be reviewed by humans.
Additionally, the company sells a platform that assists businesses in managing their data and makes recommendations on how to improve data quality prior to submission to Scale AI for labeling.
According to Whit Andrews, an analyst at research firm Gartner Inc., enterprises struggle to transition AI projects from the pilot phase to actual deployment. Preparation of data, which includes labeling, is a significant impediment, he explained.
Mr. Kratsios joined the Trump administration in 2017 and was confirmed as the United States’ Chief Technology Officer by the Senate in August 2019. He was instrumental in the formation of a consortium of government, industry, and academic leaders who use high-performance computing to conduct research on Covid-19.
He also served as acting undersecretary of defense, where he was responsible for the Defense Department’s research and development budget. Prior to that, he was a principal at Thiel Capital, where he advised and invested in technology companies.
Mr. Kratsios brings to his new role a deep understanding of emerging technologies, as well as experience working with companies across a range of industries, according to Ritu Jyoti, program vice president for artificial intelligence research at International Data Corp.