Jean Belanger, CEO and Co-Founder of Cerebri Ai

Jean Belanger is co-founder and CEO of Cerebri Ai which helps Fortune 500 companies find their customers’ voice.

A serial entrepreneur, Belanger has helped launch three software companies starting with Metrowerks, which went public on NASDAQ and later sold to Motorola.

Next, Belanger started Reddwerks, a pioneer in the Internet of Things industry providing solutions to major retailers including Walmart, CVS, and Best Buy.

And finally, Cerebri Ai, founded in January of 2016. It started out as a student run Longhorn Startup Lab company which won the IBM Watson global competition. The company has changed considerably since then. It became a Capital Factory accelerator startup and that’s where Belanger, who holds a master’s degree in finance from the London School of Economics, became involved in the company. He first served as a mentor and investor and later became CEO.

Cerebri Ai is first tackling the automotive and financial services industries with machine learning and artificial intelligence technology to mine customer data for actionable insights.

It has three of the top ten global auto manufacturers in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States and one major bank in Canada as customers, Belanger said. In June, the company will begin work with one of the major credit card companies, he said.

Cerebri AI can crunch its customers’ data to predict when a customer might buy a new vehicle and what they might buy, Belanger said. That allows for more targeted marketing and advertising to select customers, he said.

“Data is the new capital of the 21st century,” Belanger said.

For artificial intelligence to be effective, startups need large data sets to crunch and mine for insights, Belanger said. And large companies increasingly need AI to better serve their customers and use AI to make their businesses better, Belanger said.

“This technology innovation is going at the fastest rate anything has ever happened before I think,” Belanger said.

AI helps companies make better business decisions, Belanger said.

“If you can understand the customer behavior, you’re way ahead of your competitor,” he said.

Cerebri Ai is one of three Austin-based artificial intelligence startups working with Ben Lamm’s Hypergiant startup, which came out of stealth mode earlier this year. The other companies are Clearblade and Pilosa.

The company, which has raised $9.5 million in funding the last two and a half years is about to announce a Series A funding round in June with a major strategic partner. It raised $4 million in seed stage funding and the latest funding is about $5.5 million for its Series A, he said. Cerebri Ai, currently based at Galvanize, is moving to bigger offices in the Omni Building in downtown Austin. Cerebri Ai has also hired several graduates from Galvanize’s data science program now has 42 employees. It also has an office in Toronto, Canada.

For more, listen to the entire interview below where Belanger shares his advice on what it takes to scale a successful startup and more discussion on the advances of AI and machine learning.

Also, please rate and review our Ideas to Invoices podcast on iTunes and support Silicon Hills News by becoming a patron on our Patreon site. You will get to vote on what we cover in future podcasts and stories.