It has been almost a decade since David Benigson, Wesley Hall and myself founded Signal AI, and after this rewarding but long and intense experience I have decided to step down as Signal AI’s Chief Data Scientist and transition into an NED position.

The decision of transitioning is purely a personal one, and one that I would not be able to make if I did not trust Signal AI’s leadership team, especially in the technology side. I know Signal AI will continue to thrive without me being full-time. On the data science side, I am excited to welcome Dr. Alexandre Martins Pinto as our SVP of Data Science. Alexandre will lead our Data Science function from now on, expanding the impact of the team and company value overall. Alexandre has a wealth of experience both in academia and industry and he is perfect to continue and improve the impact of the data science function, keeping Signal AI at the forefront of research and innovation.

Signal AI recognised as business innovators by Bloomberg in 2016

During the last decade, Signal AI has grown from three people to more than 200 worldwide, in three different continents. All while raising more than a hundred million dollars and having thousands of happy clients. We started Signal AI in a garage in North London with absolutely no clue what an amazing and crazy journey this would be. These last years have felt like a lifetime that has just passed in a second. I have given the company everything I had and in return, I cannot be prouder of how much I have learnt and how much we have accomplished. 

My main role as Chief Data Scientist has been to create, grow and lead our data science function, as well as ensuring we use data science principles and ideas to provide clear value to our clients while innovating across the company. In this regard, the contribution of the team has been immense, from the first AI components for text classification and entity linking to the newest work mapping connections between our entities and topics, all while processing more than 4 million documents a day. Another aspect I would like to mention is our university collaborations and visiting researchers program. This was quite unique when we started it and it has allowed more than 30 researchers to visit Signal AI, heavily influencing many of the components we have in the system and keeping our publication record. This, in addition to our involvement in the community over the years, built our branding as a well-recognised and rewarded data science function by both academics and data science practitioners. 

Almost everyone in Signal AI enjoying lunch out together in 2017

This chapter of my life has been a fantastic adventure but, after almost a decade, it is time for a change and a new set of challenges. Over these years, I have changed dramatically, starting as someone completely green out of uni (technically speaking while at uni doing my PhD) and the company ambitions have grown bigger and bolder every year. With all my faults, I believe I have done a good job at reinventing myself over time. However, a growing part of me misses the more chaotic and uncertain environment of start-ups and early scale-ups, as well as a new challenge for me to solve.

SignalFest 2022. (Almost) the whole worldwide Signal AI team

I want to thank everyone who has worked in Signal AI over the years. It has been an immense privilege to work side by side with such a group of talented and interesting people over the years and it will continue to be a privilege to do so from the sidelines as Signal AI’s success continues growing. There are too many people who have played a role helping me grow and learn but a few ones need to be called out. Dr. Dyaa Albakour, for helping me shape the culture and principles of our data science function, as well as leading our university collaborations in the latter years. Hanna Linden and Luca Grulla, for coaching and mentoring me during the times I struggled to adapt and grow as quickly as the company needed and for always being there to provide advice. David Benigson and Wesley Hall, my two co-founders, for David’s crazy ambition, drive and vision, and Wes’ development culture and mentoring in my first years in Signal AI. Also, to both of them for betting on me when I was just a PhD student who was still writing his thesis. 

So, what is next for me? I will take some time to reflect and decide my next adventure. For the moment, I plan to do some travelling and meet as many clever and interesting people in entrepreneurship and technology as I can. I will expand my advisory work and angel investing and I will also spend some time refreshing some data science and technical hands-on skills.

This is a bittersweet moment for me. Leaving my day to day involvement with Signal is a sad moment, but reflecting how much the company has grown and knowing it will continue thriving without me makes me immensely proud. At the same time, I am extremely excited looking at the uncertainty of my future and cannot wait to discover what my next adventure will be.

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