Sentient Continues To Expand Executive Team and Advisory Board With Industry Heavyweights; Welcomes Visiting Professor

Sentient continues to attract the best and the brightest minds from the worlds of ecommerce, retail and AI with strategic additions to the company’s executive team and the Sentient Advisory Board. With this influx of talent and expertise, Sentient plans to rapidly expand its leadership in delivering advanced AI solutions to businesses across key industry segments including ecommerce and finance.

mark2-400x300Sentient’s newest addition to the executive team is Mark Elfenbein, former president and Chief Executive Officer of Slyce, who joins Sentient as the company’s Chief Revenue Officer. Elfenbein is one of the world’s foremost experts on retail AI applications and has a wealth of experience partnering with leading brands to improve customer experience. While at Slyce, Mark developed partnerships with leading brands including Neiman Marcus, JCPenney, Home Depot and Toys ‘R’ Us. As Chief Revenue Officer, Elfenbein will be responsible for driving revenue across Sentient’s visual intelligence product portfolio, including Sentient Aware, our powerful visual intelligence tool that solves the paradox of choice by helping shoppers quickly find the products they want to buy. Elfenbein’s experience spans diverse industries including gaming, digital music and capital markets, as well as retail applications and ecommerce.

“Sentient is a clear leader in creating AI technologies that have a real impact on retail businesses. Its team features many of the brightest, most innovative minds working to deliver unique and elegant solutions to organizations looking to leverage AI. I am thrilled to add my retail, shopping and management expertise to the Sentient team and to help organizations use visual intelligence solutions to grow their businesses and delight their customers,” said Elfenbein.

Sentient has also expanded its Advisory Board, adding two members who will provide strategic direction as the company continues to drive innovation in retail, healthcare, and finance.


Ruth Hartman brings her vast retail experience to Sentient, having sat on the senior leadership teams at both Macy’s and DSW. Hartman, currently Chief Merchandising Officer at Le Tote, one of the world’s largest rental subscription services for apparel and accessories, will help accelerate our ecommerce solutions and partnerships. With over 20 years of in-depth practical operating expertise, Hartman has a proven history of delivering profitable growth with responsibility for merchandising strategy, product assortment, organizational development and strategic planning. She started her career at Henri Bendel in New York before joining the merchandising team at Macy’s in San Francisco. While at Macy’s, she was responsible for $1B in revenue in branded and private brand categories including apparel, accessories, footwear, and intimate apparel. Following her tenure at Macy’s, Hartman spent five years at DSW where she oversaw the $1.2B women’s footwear business, and increased sales and profits year-over-year.

“I am honored to join the Sentient Advisory Board and am very much looking forward to sharing my knowledge of fashion and the retail industry with Sentient’s talented team of AI and machine learning experts. Combining fashion with the technology that Sentient has developed will create a dynamic product portfolio that solves complex problems for myriad companies. I’m excited to be a part of this endeavor and to have the opportunity to work with such a group of smart, passionate people,”said Hartman.

Ted_SelkerTed Selker has also joined Sentient’s Advisory Board, bringing with him expertise not only in developing innovative AI platforms, but in helping bring solutions to market across a number of industries.

Selker has had a long career innovating and mentoring startups, large corporations and universities. Specializing in seeding and driving strategic initiatives, he is known for guiding strategic emerging technology opportunities. Selker spent five years creating a PhD research program at Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley and running the considerate systems research program. He spent ten years as an Associate Professor at the MIT Media Laboratory, running both the Context Aware Computing and the Industrial Design intelligence research programs. His work centers around how human intentions can be recognized and respected in complex domains such as kitchens, cars, on phones, and in email and takes the form of prototyping concept products supported by cognitive science research.

Selker is an IBM Fellow, where he created the IBM AI Center of Competence and used AI to improve performance in things as diverse as a pointing device and an operating system help facility. He was co-recipient of the Computer Science Policy Leader Award for Scientific American 50 in 2004, the American Association for People with Disabilities Thomas Paine Award for his work on voting technology in 2006 and the Telluride Tech fest award in 2008.

“I am proud to join the Sentient Advisory Board. We are now at the point where AI is making people and things not only more productive, but more reliable in their decisions as well. I have been impressed with the Sentient culture and am convinced that we can add significantly to the power and use of AI to improve everything,” said Selker.

MyPicture2009Sentient also welcomes David Helmbold, a Professor from the University of California, Santa Cruz, as visiting professor for the summer. Helmbold is one of academia’s foremost experts on machine learning, and brings more than 25 years of research and teaching experience as a member of the Computer Science Department at the Santa Cruz campus of the University of California. He also has a history with the Sentient staff, as he was the PhD advisor for two of Sentient’s current employees. Before becoming a professor, Helmbold earned his BA in computer science from the University of California at Berkeley, and his PhD from Stanford.

“I am very excited to work with Sentient’s impressive group of insightful and talented people. They have developed innovative approaches and technology for effectively transforming large-scale data into successful intelligent systems. This provides a fantastic opportunity to better understand machine learning and have a tremendous impact on a multitude of important real-world problems,” said Helmbold.