Taking Machine Learning Up a Notch at Capital One

By Paul Hurlocker, Senior Director, Software Engineering, Capital One,
and former CEO & Co-Founder of Notch

In 2014, David Der and I cofounded Notch, a technology consulting company, to help clients adopt real-time, distributed platforms and machine learning to fundamentally change the way they leverage their data. Since then, our team of machine learning and data engineering experts has delivered nearly 70 projects to 34 clients — ranging from early-stage startups to Fortune 100 companies — accelerating their ability to harness the size, speed, and fluidity of their data for the greater good of their businesses and their customers’ experience.

So, it’s with great excitement that today our team embarks on the next phase of our journey: we’re joining the team at Capital One! As part of Capital One’s Center for Machine Learning — an in-house consultancy and center of excellence for machine learning product delivery, innovation, education, and partnership across the business — we’ll be expanding on the work we started over the past year to harness machine learning in new, powerful ways that will help Capital One’s millions of customers with their financial lives.

How We Got Here

When we founded Notch in late 2014, the maturation and convergence of cloud-based infrastructure, software automation and monitoring, microservice-based architectures, distributed computing platforms, and machine learning formed the basis for a major technological shift that is still playing out. Nine months after Notch began, David’s brother, Matt Der, joined as a partner and our CTO upon completion of his PhD in Machine Learning from UC San Diego. Together, we set out to build a unique consultancy to closely align these shifts with our clients’ business objectives.

To do this, we focused on creating a distinct consulting engagement model and culture. First, we only performed team-based, solution-oriented work, often embedded with our clients’ teams. Second, we split our time evenly between three different types of clients: startups, enterprises in need of significant modernization, and enterprises that were paving the way technologically. These choices led to the development of an extremely talented and versatile team. We bootstrapped Notch ourselves, gaining traction quickly because there are few companies that have our real-world expertise. We are proud of the fact that we helped both move established organizations forward and assisted in the launch of startups through our work.

On Joining the Capital One Family

When we began working with the Center for Machine Learning at Capital One over a year ago, we were immediately impressed by their commitment and progress in the areas our team is passionate about. We’ve seen first-hand how Capital One’s transformative data and machine learning journey has established a foundation upon which we felt our team could make a significant impact. They have created a collaborative environment that caters to the unique needs of developers, and they are guided by the belief that continuing to push deeper into machine learning will help their customers become more financially empowered and create opportunities to interact with them in a more natural, seamless, and accessible way. In short, we loved what they were doing so much we decided to join!

Over the course of our working relationship, it became clear that Capital One would be a natural fit for the Notch team for several key reasons. We found that Capital One operates with the innovative mindset and skills of a top technology firm, but with the scale and expertise of a leading bank. Our teams come to work every day to collaborate with other talented engineers and data scientists to solve interesting and challenging problems while pushing the adoption of machine learning in diverse, new, and impactful ways to drive business value. And we’re both aligned in our belief that actively promoting continued learning and development will keep us on the cutting edge of machine learning and data engineering capabilities.

I’m personally excited to see what we will do when we’re focused exclusively on changing banking for the better by becoming part of Capital One’s extremely talented team. I’m also eternally thankful for our team because Notch was truly the sum of its parts.

Here’s to the next chapter, and to continuing to deliver technology that will constantly improve our customers’ experience.


These opinions are those of the author. Unless noted otherwise in this post, Capital One is not affiliated with, nor is it endorsed by, any of the companies mentioned. All trademarks and other intellectual property used or displayed are the ownership of their respective owners. This article is © 2018 Capital One.

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