Roey Mechrez, co-founder and CTO at BeyondMinds , specialises in universally applicable and easily adaptable AI solutions. He talks to Client Server’s Michael Oliver about how the company is bridging the gap between the detailed world of AI research and the day to day of running a business.
Michael Oliver : How did you get started in AI?
Roey Mechrez : I studied biomedical engineering and then moved into general computer vision. During my PhD, I was dealing with different aspects of computer vision and I fell in love with AI. AI is fascinating. It’s data-driven and an amazing way to innovate.
Michael Oliver : How did BeyondMinds start?
Roey Mechrez : I co-founded BeyondMinds with Rotem Alaluf with the goal of bridging the academic world of AI with the practicalities of business and industry. We wanted to productize the world of AI research. There was a lack of companies out there who could actually deliver research-oriented AI solutions. In the last two-and-a-half years, we’ve grown the company to 80 people and have offices in New York, London, Tel Aviv, and a sales operation in APAC.
Michael Oliver : What was the reason behind you coming to London and setting yourself up here?
Roey Mechrez : London is definitely one of the greatest AI hubs in the world. It has talented AI researchers and world-leading academic institutions that are doing incredible work in the field of AI. International students come to London to study AI. After Tel Aviv, Beijing, and Silicon Valley, London is the most significant AI hub in the world.
Michael Oliver : Does market size play into it?
Roey Mechrez : The Israeli economy, which boasts many strong companies, is a nice incubator for an Israeli startup. But it's also very, very limited, especially for a growing company. Given the UK has the world’s fifth-largest economy, with probably one of the three largest financial cities in the world, it's a great place to be in terms of business, technology, and talent.
Michael Oliver : What is your tech-stack?
Roey Mechrez : We’ve developed the BeyondMinds platform. The platform focuses on three main pillars. The first one is - highly customised solution. The problems companies have with AI all vary. This means that data constraint needs are different from one use case to another. We propose a customised model, in which we're solving the exact problem that companies have with this modular approach. The platform enables us to customise a dedicated, tailor-made solution for the client. The second pillar is production-grade technology. We never start from scratch. We're starting with a mature technology that has been tested and validated and has proved itself in many use cases. So, when we meet a new problem, a new data set, a new business goal, we're starting from a mature technology. The third pillar is that we deliver AI solutions as a service. That applies not only to our business model but also to the end-to-end solutions we provide. We're not only building and deploying AI solutions, but we’re operating, maintaining, and updating them over time. Solving problems with AI is like shooting at a moving target, where the moving target is the data. So, if the data is moving, the model should move and evolve as well. This is the reason that providing AI as a service, to keep the models on the rails, is critical.
Michael Oliver : What kind of technologist do you look for?
Roey Mechrez : The core of BeyondMinds is the AI research team and engineering. We have around 40 people in R&D, comprised of AI researchers with varying backgrounds (research scientists, doctorates, AI development experts, true algorithm researchers, engineers, dev-ops, and software engineers). This multi-disciplinary group help the company build this innovative platform. So, we are looking for people who think creatively, enjoy problem-solving, builders who are hands-on and like to create new solutions. Anyone who can apply great AI research to real-world problems, such as achieving stable, robust capabilities with AI, would be a great fit for BeyondMinds.
Michael Oliver : What does the future hold for BeyondMinds?
Roey Mechrez : Our go-to-market focus is to partner with Global 1000 companies in the insurance, financial services, and manufacturing sectors. However, our platform can provide value to just about any company looking to transform itself with AI. Our focus is on use cases where AI can bring huge value over time and that will empower people, decision-making, and ultimately business. We are also expanding into the US market and already began working on this effort in late 2020. The future is exciting.