In May 2012, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg delivered a very inspiring speech to the graduating class of Harvard Business School. Among all precious nuggets of advice, one has stuck with me. It was a conversation she had with Eric Schmidt in 2001, then CEO of Google, as she was contemplating a role there. She wasn’t sure she should take the job. That’s when Schmidt told her the following:
“Get on a rocket ship. When companies are growing quickly and they are having a lot of impact, careers take care of themselves. (…) If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat. Just get on.”
Ever since I left my startup Needium, in 2012, I’ve been trying to find that rocket ship and it’s my great pleasure to let you know I’ve finally found it. I’m very excited to announce I will be joining Montreal-based Element AI as a Program Director.
What is Element AI?
Element AI is the platform that will help organizations embrace an AI-first world. Composed of a research lab uniquely connected to the world’s best academic ecosystems (Montreal alone has 150 world-class researchers in various AI topics), Element AI will launch and incubate advanced AI-First solutions in partnership with large corporations.
What’s my role at Element AI?
Program directors are the backbone of Element AI’s innovation projects. I will help the company identify opportunities and package AI-as-a-Service solutions that have maximal impact for our clients. When these solutions take the shape of spin-offs (i.e. when we’ve found a scalable, repeatable business opportunity), program directors will become entrepreneurs-in-residence and, eventually, CEOs of these new ventures.
The company has been generating a lot of buzz since the launch on October 25.
- Wired: “AI Pioneer Yoshua Bengio Is Launching Element AI, a Deep-Learning Incubator”
- Eric Schmidt on Twitter: “Kudos to Yoshua Bengio for encouraging machine learning startups in Montreal” (remember the rocket ship quote above?)
- Montreal Gazette: “Montreal startup to help businesses use artificial intelligence”
- Montreal in Technology: “Yoshua Bengio and friends launch ‘AI startup factory’”
- Some background on the creation of the company by JS Cournoyer: “A New Model for AI Innovation and Collaboration: Element AI”
Why I’m excited to join Element AI:
You probably already understand why I’m excited about the opportunity, but here are a few additional bullet points:
- Working with amazing, world-class founders
- Having a front-row seat to this new AI-first world
- Having a key leadership role in a high-potential startup
- Working in a space that represents a huge, game-changing opportunity
- Building a robust AI ecosystem in Montreal
- We’re looking to add new members to our team (come work with me!):
- Software Developers (all levels)
- Senior UX Designer
- Other Program Directors (because I can’t lead all initiatives by myself!)
- Research Engineers and Machine-Learning Scientists
Find out more about all the various roles here.
2. Work in a large organization and want to partner with Element AI (and me!) on a AI-first project? You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact me directly at sprovencher AT elementai.com, on LinkedIn or ping me on Twitter.