This Austin startup is taking on the $1.2T AI enterprise market

September 12, 2017


Serial entrepreneur Mark Cuban said last year during SXSW that the world’s first trillionaire would be an artificial intelligence entrepreneur.

Maybe it will be 20-year tech veteran John Shaw.

Shaw, with a handful of exits to his name (see: Nimbo in 2015, SphereGen in 2010), wrapped up a year as an angel investor to local startups to launch his latest venture: Digital Nebula.

john shaw headshot dig nebula.png“We’re an AI enterprise services and platform firm that helps clients understand how AI can be applicable to their business and how to deploy it in a secure way,” said Shaw. “We’re very similar to a company out of Canada.”

That company is called Element AI, and if it’s any indication what kind of market is out there, Element AI just raised $102 million in June from investors that included Microsoft and Nvidia.

But it’s okay to overlap in this sector, Shaw said, because the opportunity for AI is huge.

“The B2B enterprise market is estimated at $1.2 trillion, and the consumer market is about $200 billion,” said Shaw. “Everyone is focusing on AI for consumers, and we’re looking at business problems.”

Since its Austin launch, Digital Nebula has landed a major Fortune 500 client within two months.

“That’s pretty successful for a startup that started in March,” said Shaw.

The project involved developing an augmented solution that could scour over a billion news sources to provide flood insights and trends for insurance companies.

Alongside this major client, Shaw said Digital Nebula has also taken on projects from a few local startups looking to adopt AI, at a fraction of the cost of hiring a data scientist.

“Our perfect customer is really a business that has high frequency, low creativity tasks,” said Shaw. “And our ideal process begins with ideation to identify business pain points to determine where can we provide AI. Then we can create those solutions or recommend a solution that could work for them.”

The team consists of five employees and five contractors with plans to hire more.

“If you want to convert from an engineer to an AI ninja, let us know,” said Shaw. “We want anyone who wants to learn about AI and anyone who is interested in taking their career to the next level.”

Shaw also wanted to call on other AI startups within the Austin tech community to work together.

“Let’s build an AI community here,” said Shaw. “There’s a big ocean of opportunity, and if we all work together, then everyone wins. Plenty of it to go around.”

Images provided by company website and Shutterstock.

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