We continue our series on companies to watch today with x.ai, an artificial intelligence-based personal assistant that schedules meetings.  

Year founded: 2014

Founders: Dennis R. Mortensen, CEO; Alex Poon, COO; Matt Casey, CTO; Marcos Jimenez, Chief Data Scientist

Dennis R. Mortensen headshot

Mortensen (right) co-founded Visual Revenue, which was purchased by Outbrain in 2013. His vision of killing the inbox triggered the formation of x.ai and the artificial intelligence driven personal assistant. He's an accredited Associate Analytics Instructor at the University of British Columbia, the author of "Yahoo! Web Analytics: Tracking, Reporting, and Analyzing for Data-Driven Insights" and a frequent speaker on the subject of analytics and data.

Poon co-founded Visual Revenue and has more than 15 years of experience in data analytics, software development and product management. He served as a VP of engineering at Outbrain after it acquired Visual Revenue. Earlier in his career, as an engineer at Lockheed Martin, he built software for unmanned aerial vehicle and radio/wireless signal processing. 

Casey was a front-end engineering lead at Visual Revenue and continued this work at Outbrain, where he overhauled its editorial product’s design and implementation. The application he built is being used by editors from sites like CNN, Weather.com and NBC. 

Jimenez has more than 10 years of experience in both academic research and private industry projects in data analysis, data acquisition and statistical analysis. He has had significant roles as an author of several scientific articles, including the first Higgs boson search and discovery paper from the European Nuclear Research Center (CERN), and subsequent landmark Higgs-properties publications. 

Headquartered in: New York City

Number of employees: 60

Number of customers: Still in closed beta.

inside the x.ai company office

Awards/recognition: MongoDB Innovation Award. Finalist for 2015 Great Tech Awards (UK)

What is one thing you have no one else does in this space? The ability to schedule the 10 billion formal meetings US knowledge workers set up every year. Our AI scheduling agent Amy Ingram takes on the job of scheduling your meetings in full. You just cc Amy, and she’ll reach out to your guests. You won’t hear from her again until she has successfully negotiated a date, time and location for that meeting. And because Amy is a pure AI solution, she can do this at scale. (Editor’s note: This works. “Andrew,” Amy's AI brother, scheduled a meeting successfully with our reporter).

What is your total funding to date? $11.3 million

What can we expect in terms of innovation in 2016? We will bring Amy (and her brother Andrew) to market and begin to realize our vision of democratizing the personal assistant.

Customer take: Gail Barnes, managing partner, Personify LLC. Amy is integrated into Barnes’ company in exactly the same way she would be if she were human. 

dr. gail barnes headshot

“She has been invaluable in saving me from the ‘herding of cats’ that scheduling meetings can be, and is the first of a range of future AIs that I expect to work with, in a scenario in which there will be a mix of human and non-human/AI contributors,” Barnes told CMSWire. “In Africa we have an expression that if you give something a name it will be yours forever. So it was with Amy and I. I cannot now imagine working in any other way.”

Barnes began to work with Amy early on in her development at a time when she was not as sophisticated as she has now become. 

“There was a learning curve that I went through as I learned how to communicate with her in an unambiguous way and to think through the various time buffers that I would need,” Barnes said. “For example: to allow for travel time to physical meetings. New users would now simply set those time buffers in their preferences.”