gram Labs + mai Social

The Journey:

Over two years ago Ali and I met as roommates on our first day at Harvard Business School. My previous startup was in the middle of a difficult season, and let’s just say Mr. Amarsy didn’t care for me much. Ali comes from a world of running creative campaigns for large corporations @ Leo Burnett and I am all tech all the time having spent a number of years at Apple, but with a preference for startups. I am quiet and introspective, whereas others say that Ali has a “large personality.” We got over that very quickly and after more than 20,000 WhatsApp messages, countless hours on Skype with crappy internet connections, multiple trips across the world, and a lot of sacrifice only the two of us and our significant others really “understand”, we launched what has collectively been a two year R&D journey.

We started the company with one simple question: if we put really difficult problems in the center of the room and filled the chairs with insanely talented people whose background and experience sits at the intersection of art and science with a willingness to experiment, wouldn’t that lead to some powerful outcomes?

And has it ever…check out the demo below of President Obama’s AI that we built in 6 days.

President Obama’s “AI”

This left us with one big question — what would it take to reduce a 6-day creation process to 60 seconds, and how could we give those tools to everyone…on their mobile device?

mai Social

Why did we build it?

Expression through social media is becoming more central to identity every minute of every day, especially among Millennials. mai Social enables expression in ways that we’ve never seen before. Not only is mai Social poised to transform conversations on major social media platforms, but it will become, in its own right, a platform that defines the modern social experience, especially for communities who are consistently under/misrepresented.

A top priority for the company is deepening the accuracy of someone’s digital representation, and the ability for our technology to learn and improve over time. Our tools should allow each user to craft their digital representation and capture who they are online and offline — culturally, stylistically, and ethnically. mai Social pairs a unique push towards diversity in digital representation with pioneering applications of data science driven technologies, powered by an incredible team.

Why are we credible?

mai Social’s team includes also includes two of the leading illustrators from the show Archer, Ellen’s emoji exploji, software engineers with multiple exits or extensive startup experience, and a number of PhDs or Master’s grads in applied math and data science from Harvard, Oxford and NYU. While mai Social is made to be light-hearted and fun, its mission has broader implications for design and culture. The team aims to define the intersection of art, science and digital innovation while addressing the underrepresentation of certain identities in character design and digital identity creation. Behind all of this is a long-term interest in what data science and deep learning has to offer for the social world. It’s a sophisticated project that few companies — the likes of Amazon, Facebook, etc. — are also working on. Ultimately, these technologies will guide the user experience or let the avatar express itself with autonomy, if the user so chooses.

We look forward to this journey with you, it is just the beginning.


-Matt, for the mai Social team

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