Dan Yang is a NextAI entrepreneur and Co-founder of NeuralIR, Inc.
Tell us a bit about you and your venture! What was your inspiration for creating your venture?
Since moving to Canada, I have enjoyed developing my research and information retrieval (IR) skills. I published papers in multimedia IR in Canada while applying the research in China. In Canada, Meta’s success with biomedical IR inspired me to develop a research engine in non-medical fields.
What problem is your venture solving? Why did you choose to tackle this market?
There is a large ecosystem of software and information providers in sciences fields, and users need to search and navigate it to retrieve information relevant to new problems. Biomedical ontologies were an early example of scientific consensus, and I’m interested in tackling other fields where a similar consensus is emerging.
When you first started, what were your biggest hurdles in building your venture?
At the the start of the program, I was still searching for partners, ideas and resources while other participants already had established companies and teams. The big hurdle was to decide whether to join existing fintech companies or pursue my own dream.
How do you believe technology will impact your industry over the next decade?
In the movie Blade Runner II, there is a global data blackout in 2022 to defeat human flesh search engines, and that certainly seems prescient.
What piece of advice would you give to someone who wants to start a company in your industry?
Follow Google’s example and start a small search engine with your university’s data and computing resources first.
What is the biggest mistake you’ve made as a founder?
Not raising enough money.
What are 3 books, blogs or newsletters you recommend for entrepreneurs looking to make an impact in your industry?
- Nature on Quantum Machine Learning
- Business Applications of Deep Learning Newsletter
- John Stackhouse’s Blog on Canadian Business
What would you say are the most important skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
The entrepreneur’s ability to persevere is a heroic quality. Situational awareness is critical to knowing how to create advantages out of new opportunities that arise.
What has been your most valuable lesson during your time in NextAI?
I recommend the notion of ‘thinking big’ to any Canadian start-up, and a valuable path to get there for me was the Entrepreneurial Strategy course.
Who is one person that has tremendously helped you through your time in NextAI? How did they help you?
Joshua Gans’ strategic landscape mapping exercise was certainly helpful to get me to the next level of thinking about my enterprise.
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