Celebrating the Pursuit of Innovation — How ObEN Attracts Top Research Talent

Published in
5 min readFeb 19, 2018


Team ObEN in our home in sunny Southern California

When you were in graduate school hard at work on your research and busy completing your dissertation, how did you imagine life after school? Did you dream of working on a tiny sliver of an overall project and hoping your contributions would be acknowledged in the large company whose leadership you’ve never even met? Or did you dream of working on a problem that could impact multiple areas of your field of research, having the freedom to pursue big problems with innovative solutions, and tackling emerging ideas and industries with the chance to see your ideas rapidly implemented?

At ObEN, we take great pride in developing and supporting a diverse group of research talent. ObEN employs nearly 45 team members out of our offices in Pasadena — over half of whom are researchers and engineers hailing from top schools in the nation including MIT, Caltech, Carnegie Mellon, UCLA, UC Berkeley, USC and leading international universities including the UK’s Cambridge University, China’s Tsinghua University and France’s Pierre and Marie Curie University.

What entices them to our shores? A holy trinity of impact, growth, and learning that they would be hard put to find at larger companies. With investments from leading companies including HTC VIVE, Tencent, and Softbank, ObEN is riding a great wave of growth while still maintaining the curiosity and drive of our startup roots, allowing our researchers to work on projects that can have a massive overall impact in their field. In short, we offer researchers greater security and compensation than an early stage startup, while still maintaining the fast pace of innovation that researchers crave.

Speech Researcher Pierre and Engineer Weijia celebrating their ObEN work anniversary

Accelerated Career Growth

At ObEN, our researchers and engineers are tackling problems that most companies only explore in piecemeal. They direct projects that impact multiple areas of AI, including the fields of speech, computer vision, natural language processing, and machine learning. Our speech team, for example, is exploring a combination of personalized text-to-speech, and even speech-to-singing technology that allow us to breath life and personality into our Personal AI (PAI) — allowing our users to create PAI that look, speak, sing, and behave like them. In addition, as an early adopter of the Project PAI blockchain protocol, ObEN’s researchers get to explore new avenues in their research as they work to develop AI on the blockchain and lead the pack in developing one of the leading technological innovations of our era.

Team ObEN at the Interspeech Conference with ObEN Advisor Dr. Abeer Alwan

Researchers and engineers dive head first into projects led by their senior leaders, accelerating their growth in the way only hands on experience can. They are guided by luminaries in their fields — ObEN’s advisors include Dr. Abeer Alwan of UCLA, Dr. Simon King of the University of Edinburgh, Dr. Sarah Taylor of the University of East Anglia, Dr. Yisong Yue of Caltech and Dr. Kevin Knight of USC. In addition, we love to celebrate the fruits of our team’s efforts, and strongly support and encourage our researchers to patent their work and present and attend leading conferences in their field.

ObEN’s full-stack AI technology, featuring our CEO’s PAI

Daily Impact

Go big or go home is a prevailing theme for our teams. Rather than hem and haw (and move through 20 or 30 levels of corporate structure) over whether an innovative avenue of research and development is worth pursuing, our researchers and engineers take the reigns and have delivered some astounding results. The reason? Everything we do has to be better and more advanced than the mega corporations if we are to survive. Which is why our AI can take your voice and transform you speech into different languages, not just the language you know how to speak. Which is also why any success by our teams are immediately reflected in our product, not hidden inside a tiny sub-feature that no one may ever notice.

Our team also benefits from the extensive research we do into our consumer audience. Unlike most companies, where research is isolated from marketing and product, our researchers have the option to get direct feedback from users about directions they take. This feedback helps them rapidly refine their research goals, providing invaluable insight into the everyday applications resulting from their work.

Team ObEN’s annual holiday celebration

Constant Learning

At the heart of any true scientist is the urge to learn, to push farther, to explore more than those who have come before. Our researchers and engineers don’t tackle minor issue and call it a day. We expect and encourage them to learn more and try more, because the two exist in a cycle that continues to feed each other, and feeds the rapid development of our technology. We’ve been privileged to have a steady team that has been agile enough to learn and adapt to every new challenge we’ve faced, from our start with only speech technology to ourdevelopment of full-stack AI products, to our current work bringing PAI to the blockchain.

We may be biased when we say ObEN is the best place to work. But it’s hard to argue against the ability to make an impact, accelerate your career growth, and consistently learn more in and outside you field, all at the same time.

Convinced? ObEN’s team is growing, and we are hiring for a variety of research and engineering positions. If the freedom to pursue your research and learning isn’t enough, the catered meals and unlimited vacations aren’t bad either. Learn more at https://oben.me/careers/. You can also view our Introductory Deck at http://goo.gl/gxpxwT

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Enabling every person in the world to create, own and manage their Personal AI. Tencent, Softbank Ventures Korea & HTC Vive X portfolio co.