pushing the boundaries of AI and applied neuroscience to solve business problems
Charles Blake Thomas, CEO, EYEQUANT

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7 Min Read

EyeQuant: pushing the boundaries of AI and applied neuroscience to solve business problems

Charles is an entrepreneur at heart. He is a pioneer of SaaS having been involved in the industry for 20 years. Most recently he has invested significantly in AI which he sees as one of the next generation of humanity-changing technologies.

Conception of EyeQuant

Charles starts by pointing out, “At EyeQuant, the business is possible because of the team of which I am part. Each one of them plays a vital role in helping us achieve our goals.

I am one small jigsaw piece and so each of them deserves recognition for what they do every day to drive us forward.

On a personal level, I’ve worked in and around new tech for a lot of my career and it always struck me that AI has a huge role to play in disrupting the status quo of how brands attract and retain customers”, says Charles.

“AI has an amazing power to uncover insights and make connections between data that would otherwise take far too long for people on their own.”

“So, in thinking about that, it became obvious that there were significant opportunities to build new products, powered by AI, that could address many of the inefficiencies that existed (and still do) within digital advertising and e-commerce ecosystems,” he adds.

He cites an example of how much digital advertising budget is wasted every year: “It is estimated that 40% of all digital advertising is wasted each year. That alone is worth in the region of $200bn last year. At EyeQuant, we are focusing on solving BIG problems like that.”

AI technology – challenges galore

“Whilst people are rushing to adopt wide-AI technologies like ChatGPT, there should be deep concern about how technology like this is governed and controlled with particular emphasis on the training data to which it has access” notes Charles.

However, AI goes far beyond just being a new technology. In essence the development of AI is akin to introducing a new life-form into humanity. So if you compare the governance around DNA and cloning to AI, for example, there is no comparison.

AI technology companies are free to do what they want, and history shows us that avarice will trump reason almost every time.

In my mind, these two fields are similar and should be regulated accordingly. There should be standards, controls and procedures, set out by central authority, to ensure that AI is developed and rolled out in a controlled manner.”

EyeQuant –The AI solution

EyeQuant is classified as narrow AI – in that it solves a set of very specific problems. “We use a field of AI called Deep Learning. In this case, we have developed software that can mimic how the visual cortex reacts to any type of stimulus ex: a web page.

That means the AI can predict things like human attention, perception and certain emotions.” It is proving a vital tool for brands, globally in areas like advertising, e-commerce and digital products, to enable them to pre-test and optimize content, long before it goes live and whilst it is still being designed.

This leads to multiple benefits like increased ROI from digital advertising, better understanding of customers’ needs and much quicker internal processes.

The technology is the result of more than a decade of institutional academic research by leading neuro and data scientists. In fact, Caltech, one of the world’s leading scientific institutions, is one of our shareholders”, adds this passionate entrepreneur.

Leadership traits

A good listener and an avid learner, Charles feels that trust in and respect for people are the two traits that drive his approach.

“Within our organization, we have a strong focus on experimentation-driven learning – I constantly encourage people to try things and to learn – it’s the acquisition of knowledge and experience that makes us better.”

Others may view this as “failure” – but you need to fail to learn – so I prefer to focus on that outcome.

“Changing your mindset to accept that you can’t control everything and creating a culture where “failure/learning” is acceptable is a very positive step to take. By allowing people to make mistakes, they will learn from them, own the outcome and move forward.”

AI – the journey ahead

“I see too many startups describing themselves as an “AI company” which is wrong in my view.

AI is an incredibly advanced capability that can be applied to solve different problems. Their focus should be on how you solve a problem better than any other company, rather than labeling themselves as purely “AI”.

AI then becomes secondary – the enabler of your solution set. Over the past few years, we’ve studied the market carefully, including interviewing all of our clients, large and small, and only ONE in that whole time ever bought AI for the sake of AI. All the others were focused on solving a problem they had.”

To combat natural resistance and fear, he urges AI-led companies to understand the existential threat AI poses to their target audience. “When you understand that you will understand how to position your technology for maximum adoption.”







Charlie is the CEO of EyeQuant with more than 20 years of experience in establishing and leading high-growth SaaS companies. His previous roles include running the Internet Banking redesign program for Lloyds Banking Group and, being Chief Product Officer at Findmypast. Most recently, he has invested significantly in AI which he sees as one of the next generations of humanity-changing technologies.

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