Sentient Team Expands with Industry Heavyweights Joining from IBM Watson, Highbridge Capital Management & UC Berkeley

Talent from top AI, investment and academic organizations move to Sentient as the company enters key verticals

Andy Narayanan

Jeff Holman

Peter Bartlett

Sentient Technologies, an artificial intelligence startup seeking to solve the world’s most complex problems, continues to attract the best and the brightest from the world’s of AI, investment and enterprise software with the addition of three key strategic execs. Andy Narayanan, formerly Executive Director of Product Strategy at IBM Watson joins Sentient as Vice President of Visual Intelligence; Jeff Holman, formerly Managing Director and Chief Risk Officer at Highbridge Capital Management, joins as Chief Investment Officer; while Peter Bartlett, Professor of Computer Science and Statistics at UC Berkeley joins Sentient’s Advisory Board.

As Sentient progresses into the commercialization phase of product development, distinguished category leaders are now joining the company to build on and accelerate the success of its massively distributed AI platform, the largest commercially available intelligent system in the world. With these key execs in place, Sentient will be able to rapidly build out its ecommerce and investment products, while tapping into new ideas appearing from the academic landscape.

“We have hit a critical inflection point in our ability to attract key executives to the Sentient team,” said Antoine Blondeau, CEO of Sentient Technologies. “With new business leads in place for our trading and visual intelligence products, as well as doubling the workforce from a year ago, we continue to exceed our hiring goals and have signaled our intention to compete in these key vertical domains.”

  • Andy Narayanan who joins Sentient Technologies as Vice President of Visual Intelligence, was previously Executive Director of Product Strategy at IBM Watson and prior to that held product strategy and general manager roles at Booz Digital and SunGard Data Systems. At Sentient he will be responsible for leading the business, product vision and go to market strategy for Sentient’s visual intelligence products. Narayanan brings over 15 years of product commercialization and strategy experience to Sentient. While at IBM he was responsible for driving growth for Watson Artificial Intelligence technology and its capabilities, including identifying new markets, designing industry products, content partnerships and revenue models. Narayanan has an MBA in Strategy and Finance from the University of Chicago and a B.Tech in Chemical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.

“I am excited and privileged to be joining Sentient’s world class team of AI and machine learning experts. Sentient’s unique technology platform with differentiated capabilities in machine learning, and evolutionary computation at scale provides an awesome opportunity to build ‘intelligent’ products that solve real world end-user problems. Beyond the common interest in AI, I was deeply attracted to the company’s core values, audacious vision, deep management expertise, and team culture .” – Andy Narayanan, Vice President of Visual Intelligence.

  • Jeff Holman moves over from Highbridge to Sentient as Chief Investment Officer and will be responsible for the continued success of the trading and investment arm of Sentient Technologies. Jeff will continue a constructive relationship with Highbridge exploring potential applications of Sentient’s unique technology to new investment strategies. At Highbridge Capital Management, one of the world’s largest hedge fund firms, Jeff was a Managing Director and Chief Risk Officer. Beginning his career at Citadel Investment Group, where Holman led portfolio construction efforts as a member of the Global Equities team, he later joined Fuller & Thaler Asset Management as a Portfolio Manager for International Equity strategies. Holman has a B.A. in Applied Mathematics, an M.A. in Statistics, and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley where his research involved modeling left tail correlation between investment strategies, and the behavioral economic implications of fallible memory.

Systematic investing has become increasingly technology-driven over the past decade, both in terms of trading infrastructure and quantitative models. Sentient’s approach in applying Distributed Artificial Intelligence to this complex problem is both cutting edge and very differentiated versus what others are doing in this space. I am incredibly excited to be a part of the effort.” – Jeff Holman, Chief Investment Officer, Sentient Technologies.

  • Peter Bartlett is a professor in the Computer Science Division and Department of Statistics at the University of California at Berkeley. A distinguished academic and esteemed author of many books and academic papers in the field of machine learning and statistical learning theory, Peter will consult and advise on Sentient’s current plans and market direction and help identify key opportunities in the field of machine learning. Professor Bartlett was awarded the Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year in Australia in 2001, was chosen as an Institute of Mathematical Statistics Medallion Lecturer in 2008, and became an IMS Fellow and Australian Laureate Fellow in 2011. Bartlett was elected to the Australian Academy of Science in 2015.

“I’m very excited to be joining the Sentient Advisory Board and I’m looking forward to working with an extraordinary group of people. The combination of the talent that Sentient has assembled and the impressive technology that they’ve developed to scale up machine learning and AI gives an amazing opportunity to have a huge impact on large, complex, and important problems.” – Peter Bartlett, Sentient Advisory Board Member

Located in San Francisco and Hong Kong, Sentient has grown to 85 people over the last year, successfully attracting the brightest people in a competitive market. By the end of 2015, the company aims to reach 100 people and recently moved into One California street to accommodate this rapid growth. Late last year Sentient raised $103.5 million, which is the largest venture round for an AI company, bringing it to a total of $143 million in funding.