Sonasoft Corp. (OTCQB: SSFT), a best-of-breed autonomous AI platform, closes out 2020 with new partnerships, expanded C-suite management, revamped engineering and data science teams, and exciting IP. While COVID has been a challenging year for many companies, Sonasoft has weathered the storm and is in a great position for 2021. 2020 saw Sonasoft complete its switch to an AI-first company, completing a strategy that began in 2018.
A focus on AI
Since 2018, Sonasoft has shifted entirely to focus on delivering AI solutions for customers. Sonasoft’s Unified AI platform, NuGene, lies at the heart of this strategy. NuGene simplifies how developers and data scientists build and deploy AI bots. The Sonasoft ‘bot factory’ streamlines the process of creating and deploying AI models. This starts with defining the problem and gathering the data, then it uses its own AI engine to build a robust model. Finally, it simplifies the process of deploying the model in production. This allows companies to benefit from AI without needing to employ large teams of data scientists. Uniquely, NuGene is capable of dealing with extremely rich and diverse datasets without the need to simplify the raw data. This means the resulting AI models are far more robust against bias.
Key investment in AI Engineering
Central to Sonasoft’s success has been its focus on AI engineering. According to Gartner:
“Developing a disciplined AI engineering process is key. AI engineering incorporates elements of DataOps, ModelOps and DevOps, and makes AI a part of the mainstream DevOps process, rather than a set of specialized and isolated projects.”
In Q4 of 2020, Sonasoft hired veteran ML engineers and data scientists. This allowed a focus on taking NuGene from MVP to a fully-fledged product.
The Head of Engineering is Max Lee, who has an extensive background in creating hardware and AI solutions for chatbots, signal processing, and computer vision. He epitomizes the way the whole engineering team works. He is able to solve problems by applying his multi-disciplinary knowledge that spans mathematics, science, engineering, and ethics.
The Head of Data Science is Caroline Zaborowski. She brings years of experience applying data science to solve complex problems in the online gambling industry. Prior to that, she completed a Ph.D. in Astrophysics at the University of Oxford. She ensures Sonasoft applies rigorous standards of data science, which has allowed NuGene’s performance to improve significantly.
New Management Team
2020 saw significant changes in the management of Sonasoft. This started in December of 2019 when Mike Khanna was promoted to CEO. One of his first priorities was to bring in a new C-suite with the experience to complete Sonasoft’s transformation that began 2 years earlier.
Rob Baumert, Sonasoft’s CFO since Feb 2020, brings over two decades of experience to the Sonasoft management team. Prior to Sonasoft, he spent 7 years at RedBubble, serving variously as Chief Operations Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and Director of Financial Planning & Analysis. Over that time, they saw sales surge from $3MM to $143MM.
Paul Clauson, appointed as COO Q4 2020, has worked with ML engineers and data scientists for the better part of a decade. He focuses his time on building world-class teams and go-to-market strategy. He has been instrumental in building Sonasoft’s new engineering team.
Josh Rose was hired as Chief of Staff in Q4. He has a background in private equity. This experience has been invaluable as Sonasoft focuses on building new strategic partnerships. He has also been spearheading Sonasoft’s latest successful round of fundraising.
Sonasoft signs strategic partnership with a multi-billion dollar financial services company
2020 saw Sonasoft sign some key strategic partnerships. The biggest of these will see Sonasoft building AI bots for one of the world’s largest financial services companies. This will place AI analytics at the very center of the financial data ecosystem. Clients of the partnership will see a transformation in how they can leverage financial data. This will see them transition to predictive and prescriptive analytics, making them more competitive than ever before.
“Here at Sonasoft, we believe AI should lie at the heart of every business,” said Mike Khanna, CEO. “AI offers financial institutions the ability to understand and leverage their data like never before.”
2020 also saw Sonasoft complete a key AI project with Delaware Electric Cooperative (DEC). DEC is one of the largest utility cooperatives in the US. DEC sources its power from several providers. One of the biggest costs to their business is coincident peaks, which happen when there is a surge in demand. To try and control these costs, DEC issues “beat the peak” notices to its members, asking them to reduce consumption.
Sonasoft developed a set of AI bots that are able to correctly predict these coincident peaks. In the first two months of going live, the bots demonstrated their ability to deliver annual cost savings of up to $1.3MM. This was only possible because DEC is a data-driven company. As Bill Andrews, President and CEO of DEC, said, “People don’t understand AI. You have to have good data and you have to understand what you are trying to attain.”
Sonasoft files significant IP
Q4 saw Sonasoft file an exciting patent application relating to a key AI technology, convolutional neural networks (CNNs). CNNs are at the heart of many AI models and are the central technology for many computer vision systems. However, they don’t perform well when they have sparse or noisy training data. Sonasoft’s unique solution provides a robust and noise-tolerant system that will create reliable models with far less training data than traditional CNN-based systems. Moreover, the resulting models are smaller, allowing them to run on less complex hardware.
“This has the potential to allow the development of classification or predictive models with less data,” said Max Lee, Head of Engineering. “This biologically inspired model takes inspiration from others, such as Numenta’s HTM and Applied Brain Research’s spiking neural network design. By studying how intelligence works in biological systems, we can continue to improve and provide more robust artificial intelligence.”
Sonasoft goes all in on AI
In 2020, Sonasoft continued its pursuit of completing its pivot from a services company to a pure AI company. This pivot from Sonasoft included an aggressive divestment policy as part of the long-term AI strategy. E-Connect Software Inc. and Sonavault were both sold to previous Company Officers, allowing Sonasoft to focus much more attention on AI, as well as saving some $250k in annual burn.
Looking ahead to 2021
Over recent years, AI has helped transform many businesses. However, startups and enterprises alike often struggle with AI initiatives because they miscalculate the costs involved. This is especially true when trying to embed AI within existing pipelines. In effect, the limitations and complexity of the technology have prevented it from reaching its full potential. 2021 will be a pivotal year for AI, and the work done in 2020 will ensure Sonasoft will be right at the leading edge.
This release contains statements that constitute forward-looking statements. These statements appear in a number of places in this release and include all statements that are not statements of historical fact regarding the intent, belief or current expectations of the Company, its directors or its officers with respect to, among other things: (i) the Company’s financing plans; (ii) trends affecting the Company’s financial condition or results of operations; (iii) the Company’s growth strategy and operating strategy; and (iv) the declaration and payment of dividends. The words “may,” “would,” “will,” “expect,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “intend,” and similar expressions and variations thereof are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Investors are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the Company’s ability to control and that actual results may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements as a result of various factors.