We talked to Emrah Gültekin of Chooch AI about technology and COVID-19.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Emrah Gültekin: We’re doing well. Thank you for asking. Everyone on our team and our families are healthy, thankfully.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Chooch AI.
Emrah Gültekin: My brother created a medical imaging application he open-sourced, and then we realized we could generalize these concepts. Five years ago, we began building the company, and at the beginning of 2019, we made our cloud offering commercially available.
How does Chooch AI innovate?
Emrah Gültekin: We listen to the market. We experiment. We launched our edge AI offering mid-2019 because we heard our customers. They wanted to do computer vision on edge, faster and more accurately than ever before. And so we focused on this, and now we are the leading edge AI technology in the world.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Emrah Gültekin: Working remotely is making us very efficient. In some ways, this pandemic has accelerated the adoption of AI, especially computer vision services, for use cases like social distancing and mask compliance, for example.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Emrah Gültekin: Everything takes longer than you think, and the end result is quite different than you expect, especially in rapidly evolving fields like artificial intelligence. Edge AI is one of those cases, along with AI model development. We didn’t understand in the beginning that the market needs AI models that work out of the box, like social distancing, fire detection, safety equipment detection, and so on. That’s why we do the AI training for our models that we provide to the market, and we also provide custom AI training.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and Chooch AI in the future?
Emrah Gültekin: We work very hard, and the team generally supports each other. There are always stresses, but the sum is greater than the parts, and each member of the team adds their own unique perspectives and skills. One of us focuses on partnerships, another one of us brings in leads, another focuses on the government, another on customer success, another on training, but there’s lots of overlap. We all get on calls and close deals. Of course, some things fall through the cracks, but in general, we take on all the opportunities that we attract. I should add that those opportunities are getting larger because we now have a fully functioning enterprise AI platform.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Emrah Gültekin: You could say that Google Vision and Amazon Rekognition are competitors. We also see IBM competing with some of our proof of concept engagements, but no company is really doing what we are doing. We can generate AI models in hours and deploy them in days. No one else can do that.
Your final thoughts?
Emrah Gültekin: AI startups like Chooch AI are rare. This is a very unique moment in technology and human history. Hardware and software have developed to a point where their confluence has allowed computer vision to finally deliver on its promise of more efficiency, more accuracy, and better decision making. GPUs from NVIDIA and deep learning mean that we can generate AI models and deploy them to devices that have a real impact on humanity.
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