We are an artificial intelligence consulting services firm. We help Canadian SMEs value their data and integrate AI technologies into their businesses. Often they hear about data valuation and AI, but they don’t know how it applies to their business or where to start. We value transparency, and we take great pride in using the best combination of innovative tools and processes in order to keep our services accessible to smaller companies. Innovation shouldn’t only be accessible to large and wealthy companies.
Tell us about yourself?
I’ve always been drawn to technology since I was a young boy. I remember being in awe the first time I used a Commodore 64 back in the 80s. I started my career in the website business at the beginning of the new millennium. Then I worked in the media and advertising industries before switching to e-commerce and fintech. When I first heard of AI six or seven years ago, I was really curious about how it would apply to business down the road. When it later became obvious that it would be a groundbreaking technology, just like the web was 20 years ago, I wanted to jump in and be part of the disruption wave.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
Trust your gut, and don’t be afraid to jump out of your comfort zone. Having said that, I don’t have many regrets. I followed my instincts and felt deep down that the AI industry would allow me to combine my creative side with my former business experience in order to help create value for my clients. I just wish I would have jumped in sooner.
What problem does your business solve?
Discomfort is the mother of all innovation. Most of my clients have labour shortage issues, and they try to keep up or increase their production and sales without having to scale the team. We help them value their data and use it to either automate some tedious business processes or gain efficiency by providing decision support tools. We also train and help our clients’ development teams implement AI features in their own products.’
What is the inspiration behind your business?
Originally, AI consulting services firms were more oriented toward fundamental research, and there were few companies whose mission was to integrate proven artificial intelligence technologies into businesses. In contrast, standard software development companies have not yet acquired the knowledge required to successfully deploy artificial intelligence initiatives in their projects. With the growing maturity of AI tools as well as the advent of robust methodologies, we have therefore chosen to position ourselves on the integration portion of AI. This is an overlooked aspect which brings the most value in less time. This is our way of contributing to the digital transformation of our customers.
What is your magic sauce?
Explor.ai stands out, among other things, for its 360-degree strategic support approach. We are able to help our clients identify the business problems that become opportunities for implementing AI. We then create the optimal financial plan (grants, subsidies) and assist in filling out the forms. After that, we build and implement the project or tools with success in the organization. The greatest accomplishment that translates to the success of this formula is undoubtedly the portfolio of tailor-made projects in different industries that we have been able to deliver for nearly 70 clients in three years of existence. This experience has allowed us to develop a solid expertise in deploying AI-based solutions and still allows us today to approach even more use cases with confidence!
We are also committed to being able to keep innovation accessible to smaller companies. Thus, we favour the use of pre-trained learning models, existing APIs, or even the integration of AI-based software solutions in order to reduce project costs.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
As an AI consulting services firm, we feel there will always be room for AI tool integration into existing software stack companies use. Over the years, we have done AI integration projects in many different industries. In the years to come, we would like to concentrate more on specific market segments in order to develop a very in-depth expertise of these markets, thus reducing the time and cost of implanting a solution.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
In our business, the sales cycle is pretty long. Anywhere from three months to over a year. Why? Because most companies need financial support incentives in order to move ahead. So the time you work on the grant application, submit it and wait for the approval, it might take several weeks or months.
As part of the latest edition of C2 MTL, Explor.ai has been nominated for AI Consulting Service of the Year along with Moov-Ai, Vooban, and Videns Analytics. What do you think will be the impact of this nomination?
We were truly honoured and happy to be there even if we didn’t win. During the last three years, we worked like crazy to integrate AI technologies into nearly 70 companies’ business processes. The word has spread that we create real value at a reasonable cost. I think the impact of this recognition will allow us to be considered by bigger companies and bigger projects. We are now 18 employees at Explor.ai, so we have full bandwidth and expertise for that. We are grateful when we hear that we are the rising star of AI consulting firms in Canada.