In the latest of our Q&As with the innovators selected for Energy Australia’s inaugural Startupbootcamp program, we talk to Pawel Kaplanski, CEO of Cognitum. Kaplanski explains why improving data analysis via software should be a priority for industry, government and the health sector, and why he relocated from Poland to Australia.
Companies already use software and data scientists to analyse information. What’s the problem?
In simple words, large organisations have reached a point where they are drowning in data. An accepted estimate is that, by 2025, data creation will have increased ten-fold, and much of this data will be created by enterprise. Already, to stay afloat, companies are hiring teams of data scientists and consultants and paying them ridiculous amounts of money to use Excel spreadsheets and give them some insight that will allow them to make better decisions. But that is slow and prone to human bias. We say that there has to be a better solution – a better way for companies to harness the power that they already have inside their data streams and make better decisions.
And what does that better way involve?
We think the only way forward is to use AI. At Cognitum, we have built a solution called Octopus that has super-human precision, learns from data and adapts to the environment. Using Octopus with one large client in a sales context we found it performed 8 percent better than a human team could. That sort of improvement could equal millions of dollars for a business.
Would it be fair to say that Octopus offers senior staff and CEOs some sort of reassurance that they are making the most of their data?
Exactly. It’s important to note that Octopus is turning big data into little data so that companies can make better decisions themselves. It’s harnessing the information that already exists within their databases. We think it will help CEOs sleep better at night, knowing they have made the best decisions based on a sophisticated analysis of their data.
You’re headquartered in Warsaw but opened an office in Sydney about six months ago. Why did you choose Australia as your second base?
For one, we already have a partnership with a company in the United States, so that market is covered. Beyond that, we chose Australia because I personally was able to get a permanent resident’s visa here, which allowed me to set up the company directly. Also, here it’s not so crowded right now – Australia is actually looking for new ideas and smart people, which allows us to get more attention than in California, which is the natural place for an AI company to go.
And what have you gained from taking part in the Startupbootcamp?
Because we are new in Australia, it would have been very hard for us to get in front of decision makers from large organisations without support. The accelerator has allowed us to present in front of those decision makers, and it’s resulted in several very interesting opportunities that we are exploring now. Secondly, I’m a computer scientist: I’m not used to working with people! But this program has taught me how to work with people and how to pitch.