Roger JinCo-Founder & CEOMaster in Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University. Roger previously worked with Visa and Oracle and is a serial entrepreneur. Prior to founding Rulai, Roger co-founded UnionPay Smart, a company specializing in financial big data analysis.
Yi ZhangCo-Founder & CTOProfessor in University of California, Santa Cruz. Her major fields of research include artificial intelligence, natural language processing, personalized recommendation system and machine learning. Dr. Zhang has took consultant roles for many corporations including Alibaba, Whirlpool, Toyota, etc, and was awarded National Science Foundation Faculty Career Award, as well as Research Gifts from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc. Dr. Zhang holds a master and a doctoral degree in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a bachelor degree from Beijing Tsinghua University.
What is your startup vision? Roger:My last startup experience was quite successful in China and since then I deemed myself as a technical entrepreneur, which is also why I wanted to do a technical startup in Silicon Valley. I believe that the age of artificial intelligence has arrived. With the advance in computing power over the past decade, companies are picking up internet technologies in their businesses, driving the need for a corporate AI solutions. The need for customer service increases as business sizes increase. To improve both the efficiency and cost of customer services, AI has a detrimental role to play and we deem US the right market for us to realize such vision. Hence, I founded Rulai with Zhang Yi. As a Professor Emeritus in the University of California, Santa Cruz, Yi has been longing to put her years of research to drive changes in the business world. As Chinese entrepreneurs with technical backgrounds, we desire to prove ourselves in Silicon Valley, the global frontier of technology.
What is the greatest challenge you have encountered in your startup road? Yi:The era for deep learning AI has just begun. Despite the strong interest from corporate users, the application of AI in a corporate level requires a step-by-step adoption process. We are approaching AI from a higher level, involving semantic understanding, semantic logics and even more complex semantic interaction. There exists many customer service chatbot providers in the market, yet theynever really tapped into developing a deep-learning-technology-driven service engine. We are confident that Rulai can excel in this area.
How has Zhong Wei Capital helped you? Yi:The entrepreneurial background of Zhong Wei Capital’s team has been helpful in advising us the differences between the China and the US market, guiding us to correctly position ourselves at various stages. As a startup in this pioneering sector, finding an influential user and endorsement is detrimental. In such regard, Zhong Wei Capital proactively connect us to potential clients in both China and the US. Further to client resources, Zhong Wei Capital also helped Rulai on brand building through its media resources, as well as connecting us with potential investors in subsequent fundraising rounds.
Why did you choose Zhong Wei Capital for investment? How is Zhong Wei Capital different from other funds? Roger: I was introduced to Patrick, one of the founder in Zhong Wei Capital, through an angel investor of Rulai. Instead of employing the parenting management style, Zhong Wei Capital has been more like a friend in terms of helping with our corporate growth. Shareholders of Zhong Wei Capital comprises of successful entrepreneurs and businessman from various industries. I think that Zhong Wei Capital’s shareholder resources and management team are great to help Rulai connect to quality clients.