Artificial Intelligence

Get 1:1 advice on building AI companies from the people who have done it before.

Nadim Cheaib

Nadim Cheaib

Product Lead - Google
AI + DeepMind Expert

Google
Morgan Stanley

Nadim is a product manager in the tech industry. He leads efforts to build next-generation, AI products for Google Search, YouTube, Bard and Workspace. During his 10+ years at Google he has worked on a number of projects, including scaling Google's Ad Extensions business by millions of $ in ARR, as well as leading business and product strategy teams. He has also worked as a software engineer at United Nations and investment banker at Morgan Stanley. Nadim's experience spans across the US, Europe, and the Middle East. He holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and an undergraduate degree in Computer Engineering from the American University of Beirut.

Product management
Generative AI
DeepMind
Software engineering
Investment banking
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Michael Litt

Michael Litt

Co-Founder & CEO - Vidyard
GTM & Generative AI Expert

Vidyard
Y Combinator

Michael Litt has established a notable presence in the business world as a Founder, CEO, and Investor. He successfully raised $85 million in funding for Vidyard while leading a team with over 300 members. His dedication to Go-to-Market (GTM) strategies and sales technology is reflected in the numerous Generative AI products developed at Vidyard. In addition to his role at Vidyard, Michael also serves as an investor at Garage Capital, a firm that has backed more than 150 companies, with 12 of them achieving valuations surpassing $1 billion.

CEO Vidyard
Raised $85M
Partner Garage Capital
Y Combinator
Angel Investor
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Roy Chung

Roy Chung

Co-Founder - Apollo.io
SaaS Expert

Apollo
Y Combinator

Roy Chung is the co-founder and former COO of Apollo.io, a $1.6B unicorn sales automation startup backed by Sequoia Capital, Y Combinator, and Bain Capital, among others. Roy is also a General Partner at JoyFund and LP in multiple VC funds like Pioneer, GTM, and LionHeart. Before founding Apollo.io (YC W16), Roy was on the founding team at Doblet (YC S14) and previously worked as a strategy consultant at McKinsey & Co. A two-time Y Combinator alum, Roy also holds an MBA from UC Berkeley.

Founder Apollo
Valued at $1.6B
Y Combinator
McKinsey & Co.
UC Berkeley MBA
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Colin Rogister

Colin Rogister

Partner - Beat Ventures
Venture Capitalist

Beat Ventures
Maven Ventures

Colin Rogister is the founding partner of Beat Ventures, an early-stage venture fund that invests in startups reshaping the future of work. Prior to Beat Ventures, Colin was an investor at Maven Ventures and served as a technology advisor in the Obama White House’s National Economic Council. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. You can ask Colin about fundraising, pitching, and building/scaling projects.

Beat Ventures
Maven Ventures
Bessemer
White House
MBA Harvard Business School
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Carl Carell

Carl Carell

CRO - GetAccept
Sales Leadership Expert

GetAccept
Y Combinator

Carl Carell is the Co-founder and CRO of GetAccept, an all-in-one digital sales room platform helps salespeople win more B2B deals. GetAccept has raised more than $30M in venture funding from Bessemer Venture Partners, Y Combinator, Amino Capital and DN Capital. Carl has co-founded several companies and have an extensive experience in scaling SaaS sales, go-to-market, leadership, and business development. Outside of GetAccept, Carl enjoys helping founders with scaling their business & B2B sales.

Outbound sales
Bessemer
Y Combinator
SaaS sales
Deal making
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Dave Anderson

Dave Anderson

Partner - Beat Ventures
Venture Capitalist

Beat Ventures
Toyota Ventures

David Anderson is the founding partner of Beat Ventures, an early-stage venture fund that invests in startups reshaping the future of work. Prior to this, he was an investor at Toyota Ventures, and the co-founder of Bamboo, Detroit’s first co-working space for entrepreneurs. He holds an MBA from Harvard and an engineering degree from the University of Michigan. You can ask David about building and scaling tech startups, generating VC interest, the fundraising process, and building meaningful relationships with investors.

Beat Ventures
Toyota Ventures
Co-founder Bamboo
MBA Harvard University
Early stage investing
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Sascha Eder

Sascha Eder

CEO - NewtonX
Ex-McKinsey Consultant

NewtonX
McKinsey & Company

Sascha Eder is the founder and CEO of NewtonX, a B2B enterprise research startup that has raised $40M+ in venture capital. Prior to NewtonX, Sascha was a management consultant spending time at both McKinsey & Co. and the Boston Consulting Group, as well as as a financial analyst at P&G. He graduated from MIT Sloan School of Management with honors and was named to the prestigious Forbes 30 under 30 list for Enterprise Technology in 2020.

Raised $40 m+ in funding
Forbes 30 Under 30
MIT Sloan
McKinsey & Co.
BCG
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Praful Mathur

Praful Mathur

Founder & CEO - Sarama
Y Combinator Alum

Sarama
Y Combinator

Praful Mathur is the founder and CEO of Sarama, a deeptech startup that uses AI to determine intent from barks i.e. crude translation. He was previously the co-founder and CEO of Shotput, a Y Combinator-backed startup that built APIs for instant logistics. He raised capital from Nexus Venture Partners, Initialized Capital, Y Combinator, Techstars, and MHS Capital. Before that he started Amp Idea that introduced credit card machines & ad units to Boston Cabs which was sold to a Fortune 500 payments company. He graduated from Northeastern University with a bachelor's degree in computer science and enjoys helping founders develop products from the ground up.

Y Combinator alum
Initialized Capital
Customer acquisition
Performance marketing
Organic growth
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Liz Tsai

Liz Tsai

Founder & CEO - HiOperator
Y Combinator Alum

HiOperator
Y Combinator

Liz Tsai is the founder and CEO of HiOperator, a customer service-as-a-service solution company that allows businesses to handle client customer service tickets faster and more accurately through AI, backed by Y Combinator, 43North and HearstLab. Liz spent several years working in the physical commodities trading industry in Geneva and Singapore after completing her bachelor's and master's degrees at MIT. Liz is a big believer in ruthlessly defining MVPs, sales-led growth, and intentional fundraising.

Scaled to $50m+ in revenue
Y Combinator alum
Commodities trading
SaaS company scaling
MSc MIT
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Itay Forer

Itay Forer

Co-Founder - Cleanly
Y Combinator Alum

Cleanly
Initialized Capital

Itay Forer is the co-founder of Cleanly, an on-demand laundry & dry cleaning service backed by YCombinator (W15), Initialized Capital, Soma Capital, Paul Buchheit (creator of Gmail), and NFL legend Joe Montana. He is a serial entrepreneur, board member, mentor/coach, and active angel investor who has built a startup from the ground up to a 400+ person workforce. Specializes in PMF and scaling companies from 0 to 10. As a mentor, he has helped over 200 founders realize their full potential.

Y Combinator alum
GTM strategy
Building sales team
Finding PMF
Scaling startups
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How to Build an AI Startup?

The steps required to build an AI startup are similar to the steps required to develop any kind of startup:

1. Validate Your Idea

Start by conducting thorough market research to identify specific pain points that you could solve using AI technology. You can validate demand for your AI solution by surveying potential users and analyzing competitors in your startup’s market space. You can also seek feedback from mentors, AI startup advisors, industry experts, and online AI communities to help you refine your idea.

2. Assemble a Team

Form a multidisciplinary founding team consisting of AI experts, data scientists, and domain specialists. Collaborating with individuals who understand the industry you're targeting will help you achieve a more comprehensive understanding of the problem your solution aims to solve.

3. Build a Prototype

It’s important to develop a functional prototype that showcases your solution’s core AI-based capabilities. You can use real or simulated data to demonstrate how your AI product or service will address the target problem. Then, iterate on your AI prototype based on user feedback and continue to enhance.

4. Attract Customers

Next, you’ll need to develop a targeted marketing strategy to attract customers for your AI product or service. Emphasize the unique value proposition of your AI solution and its potential impact on users lives or businesses. Engage with industry influencers, attend relevant conferences, and participate in AI-focused events to raise awareness and generate interest. You can also leverage case studies from early adopters to build credibility.

5. Secure Funding

AI startups typically require significant resources — though costs are trending lower than they were at the outset of the AI startup boom. To secure adequate funding for your AI startup, seek out investors who are familiar with AI technologies or venture capital firms that are known to focus on AI startups. When you pitch your AI solution, be sure to highlight its competitive advantages and present a roadmap for effective market penetration. Since AI is currently such a popular field, competition is fierce, and you’ll need to go above and beyond to make your startup stand out to investors. One way to achieve this early differentiation and generate buzz among investors is to create a waiting list to show demand for your AI product.

What Is the Success Rate of AI Startups? 

While AI presents a great deal of emerging potential, building a successful AI startup can be immensely challenging. Market demand, competition, technological complexity, and execution strategy all play crucial parts in the success of an AI startup. 

Some well-known generative AI startups like OpenAI have already achieved remarkable success with products like ChatGPT, while other well-established organizations like Google have thrown their hats in the ring with AI offerings like Google Bard. These emerging AI innovations have exploded in popularity practically overnight, and are already turning numerous industries on their heads. 

So far, founders from diverse professional backgrounds have found success with AI solutions in a wide variety of industries, including AI healthcare startups and legal AI startups. However, the AI startup landscape is also plagued by a high failure rate — even more so than other startup landscapes — as many burgeoning AI companies face steep hurdles in critical areas like technology implementation, market adoption, and scalability. Recent surveys estimate the failure rate of AI startups to be as high as 80 - 90%.

What Can an AI Startup Mentor Do for You?

Having a mentor can significantly accelerate your learning curve as you develop both your AI product and your company. A mentor with experience in AI or AI-related disciplines can act as a valuable sounding board for your AI startup ideas, and their guidance can help you make more informed business decisions. 

Mentorship from someone who knows what’s required for success in the AI startup market is one of the most valuable assets for new founders. Through Mentorcam, you can find an AI mentor for your startup who will help you position your startup to make a major impact on this rapidly evolving and highly competitive industry.