Who doesn’t love a good comeback story?
Mike Murchison was an eager freshman international relations major at University of Toronto in 2007 before a traumatic brain injury left him with a severely hemorrhaged parietal lobe. He woke up in an emergency room with a unfamiliar brain and a grim diagnosis for the rest of his life — shoddy short term memory and limited cognitive function. He pulled out of school and spent the next 12 months in and out of the hospital in the company of the world’s best neurologists and neuropsychologists. Throughout the long, frustrating recovery, Mike grew madly determined to prove his diagnosis wrong, and more importantly, madly in love with human cognition. When faced with a broken mind, he grew intimately aware of his own cognition and how one can build, shape and form new intelligence.
Mike took this newfound drive back to University of Toronto where he ultimately studied Human Computer Interaction. Luckily for us, this was only the beginning. After teaming up with David Hariri, a brilliant designer and developer from the storied firm Teehan+Lax, they began building companies that solved problems at the intersection of human cognition and computer systems. Today, we’re proud to announce our investment in their latest endeavor, Ada.
Ada’s AI chat platform provides powerful artificial intelligence to non-technical support teams. Their proprietary AI automates responses to inbound customer support requests, reducing the time spent on repetitive questions by 70%. This allows customers to receive answers to many of their questions much quicker than with human-staffed customer support, while also receiving 24/7 service. In the short time we’ve known the team, the pace of their technical progress has been remarkable. Today, Ada is automating answers to more than 2 million customer questions a month for companies like Shopify, Coinbase, Telus and Medium.
It’s no secret that in the last decade, deep learning breakthroughs have driven an AI boom that has resulted in countless companies and billions in venture investment. Among the many teams we’ve met building in this space, few have had the balance of expertise and commercial-readiness we’ve found in Ada. So much of the noisy, AI hype-cycle has been driven by the sales and marketing machines of old corporate tech giants. The message we constantly hear is ‘AI is the future of work’, but Ada is already impacting the work of customers support teams today. This is why, time and time again, we’ve seen customers of all shapes and sizes leave shiny products from tech monoliths to adopt Ada.
Ada’s building a product that can change the future of work in an massive industry with rich customer data sets. That’s why we’re proud to back Mike, David and a fast growing team in the machine-learning capital of the world — Toronto, Canada.