Nextgenterprise | next • gen • ter • prise | \ˈnekst-jen-te(r)-ˌprīz\
(1) someone or something at the cutting edge of next generation enterprise technology
Our nextgenterprise series profiles the founders and technologies at the cutting edge of enterprise technology. Today, we’re featuring Zor Gorelov Co-founder and CEO of Kasisto, a provider of AI-driven virtual personal assistants for financial institutions, which enables intelligent conversation capabilities on any device.
1. Why Enterprise: You can tackle any other sector, vertical, industry – yet you chose one of the hardest nuts to crack. So, why enterprise technology, for you?
I’ve always been really passionate about human-software interaction, particularly speech recognition and natural language processing.
The consumerization of IT, combined with the proliferation of smartphones, creates new opportunities to optimize how consumers get things done while they interact with businesses. Today, enterprises across a variety of verticals must find a way to better harness the power of smartphones to streamline communication with their own customers. In my view, in many industries, including finance, the consumer interaction lifecycle is completely broken.
We started in the banking industry because it is a very large market with many financial institutions, worldwide, looking for ways to better engage their customers on mobile channels by providing a richer and more convenient banking experience. At Kasisto, we are trying to make banking human again by making the smartphone the focal point and using it to enable a human-like conversational user experience.
We are aiming to surprise and delight consumers in every interaction with their banks. How do we do that? Well, unlike other virtual personal assistants, like Siri, Google Now and Cortana, which are broad but shallow, our software is based on deep learning and knowledge about the banking domain.
So, think of Kasisto as Siri with an MBA or your personal digital banker.
2. Enterprise Challenge: What’s the greatest challenge you face in selling to large enterprises and what do you and your company do to overcome this?
The biggest challenge for any early stage startup is to find product-market fit. In the enterprise context, that means understanding and optimizing the sales process, then making it repeatable.
The sales process has to be understood and tested thoroughly by the founders of the company before it starts scaling and hiring sales reps.
3. Scaling: What is the #1 piece of advice you would tell someone starting out an enterprise company (hiring, sales, etc.)?
Be yourself and know your limitations. For me, I hire people who are better than me and who I can learn from.
Another piece of advice – be patient. Getting a business off the ground takes time. Sales and implementation cycles are long.
4. What's your morning routine?
I have at least two mornings because of our customers in Asia. I wake up somewhere in between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. to check my emails and see what’s going on in Asia. Then, I have my real morning. I wake up, catch up on the news, get ready to work out, check my watch and generally realize I’m already running late for the office!
5. If you could be anything else, what would it be?
I was raised on the other side of the Iron Curtain, but I knew that I wanted to live in the free world. Knowing there would always be a language barrier, I decided to train myself as a software engineer. I love what I do now, but if I had to choose something else, I would be a scientist. I've always been fascinated with neuroscience and would love to spend my time researching how we think and how we make decisions.
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