Curious about the worth of AI in your entrepreneurial endeavors? Then you simply can’t miss this episode! Susan Sly, a co-founder of a leading AI company since 2017, is here to share her insightful expertise. Buckle up and let’s dive in.
Using AI to improve business
Incorporating AI in existing platforms
Attracting investors with AI
Scaling with AI
Enhancing product value for customers
Susan Sly’s Bio
Susan Sly is a tech investor, co-founder, best-selling author, keynote speaker, entrepreneur and podcast host of Raw and Real Entrepreneurship. She has appeared on CNN, CNBC, Fox, Lifetime Television, The CBN, The Morning Show in Australia and been quoted in MarketWatch, Yahoo Finance, Forbes, and more. Susan is also a member of the Forbes Business Counsel. Susan holds an Advanced Certificate for Executives in Management, Innovation, and Technology from MIT and is the author of 7 books. As a highly acclaimed keynote speaker, Susan has spoken for MIT, NVIDIA, Intel, Lenovo, and shared the stage with Tony Robbins, Jack Canfield, Robert Kiosaki, and more. She has been a featured guest speaker for the National Restaurant Association, Executives Next Practices Institute, Forbes Roundtable, Corenet Global and the Edge AI Summit.
In 2022 Susan was honored to receive the Rosalind Franklin Society Award in Science and nomination for the Rising Star in AI from Venture Beat.
Susan is the Co-CEO, and Co-founder, of RadiusAI – an award-winning artificial intelligence company with offices on three continents.
Susan has completed the Boston Marathon 6X and placed Top 10 in the Pro Division of the Ironman Triathlon in Malaysia. Susan is passionate about philanthropy and has dedicated a significant amount of time and money working to liberate girls from trafficking and invest in education to support women and girls who have survived trauma and abuse both domestically and overseas.
Susan is the mother of four children and resides with her husband in Scottsdale, Arizona. Find out more about Susan at www.susansly.com.
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Susan Sly 00:00
Hey everyone, on today's episode we're going to be talking about does it make sense to incorporate AI into your business? And if it does, how are you going to do it? I am so excited that you are here. Let's get started with this episode of Raw and Real Entrepreneurship.
Susan Sly 00:23
This is Raw and Real Entrepreneurship, the show that brings the no nonsense truth of what is required to start, grow and scale your business. I am your host, Susan Sly.
Susan Sly 00:37
Well, what is up, Raw and Real Entrepreneurs wherever you are in the world, I hope you are having an amazing day. You're hearing a lot about AI in the news, it still continues, there's a lot of hype, there's a lot of fake news about AI and on top of it, it is also very attractive, especially for you as an entrepreneur, perhaps you're thinking about starting a business and you're wondering how can I incorporate AI into that? Or maybe you have a business and you're thinking, if I incorporate AI into it, will I have a bigger valuation? Will I have a faster exit? And these are all great questions to be asking. And so today as a co founder of a AI company that's been in business since 2017, and in AI, that's a very long time, I'm going to be walking you through how and why to incorporate AI into your business. And we're going to get rid of the nonsense, rid of the junk. And as usual, just focus on the raw and real truth about how to do something as an entrepreneur. And I want to thank you, our listeners, that you know, are going all over the globe. It's fun every single month on social media. You can follow me @Susansly on Instagram, I'm sharing our top 10 countries and we have some you know, Canada, US, UK are always in that top five, but we have different countries coming on. And it's so exciting. Candidly, I love to see how this show is going all over the world. And I love hearing from you. So if an episode helps you, if one of the founders I interview, or one of the solo shows I do gives you something that really feels your business, please write in. Go to Susansly.com, I would love, love, love to hear from you. And if you haven't done so already, in iTunes, please go in there and give a five star review or whatever streaming service you are listening to the show on. So as I pull back the curtain on a topic that has been taking the business world by storm, I want to share with you that there are you know, so many great reasons to think about AI as a tool, as an extra team member, and a way of enabling your business. And there are a lot of scary things that people talk about with AI and a lot of that is really media driven currently, because just like, you know, wherever you are in the world, you know, the old, in the old days, we say, you know, the scary news is what sells newspapers. You likely read a newspaper I still do honestly, I like this the weekend Wall Street Journal. But the reality is, is that hype and fear that's clickbait people, you know, are gravitating towards those scenarios in the the movies like Ex Machina and so forth that paint this picture of AI. The reality is that we are still ways from an AI that is going to look like a human, engage with you like a human even though there are robots that look very humanoid, there's still some time to go. And the thing I want you to know with regard to the hype around AI, is a lot of AI capabilities are being embellished at this time. But the real AI that is able to take your workload and make your life easier as an example using chat GPT when I'm thinking about a talk that I'm giving, sometimes I'll put some key points into GPT 4, and it will help me organize my thoughts. I've got a lot of speaking events coming up. And if you haven't seen on social media, I'm super grateful. I was just named as a finalist for outstanding women in artificial intelligence and that award ceremony is going to happen October 18, in my hometown of Toronto, which is awesome. I'm also going to be speaking in New York, at the Women in Tech Conference sponsored by HPE. So I'll have colleagues from Nvidia and AMD there. And it's going to be tremendous. I'm also speaking in Washington DC at an AI conference, I'm going to be speaking in Austin, Texas, in a talk sponsored by Lenovo on AI. So I do a lot of speaking on AI. And, again, I want to help you cut through the hype, and figure out how you can take AI, use it in your business, even if it's simple things like I said, using chat GPT to help offload some things or if you're really tired and need to reorganize your thoughts is great for that, or using AI chat bots or whatever it is to help improve your company's operational efficiency. So that's what we're going to talk about today. And if you have questions about AI, go to Susansly.com and ask a question. I'd love to answer your question on a show. And candidly, when I do these solo shows, and my producer's like Susan, you need to do more solo shows. Sometimes I'm looking for topics that are going to make sense for things that you want to know about. So please send, go, Susansly.com, create a submission, ask me a question. I would love to answer your questions not just on AI but on entrepreneurship in general. So I was, just for fun, I asked GPT 4 to come up with some quotes on technology and this is the one that, the first one I came up with, which is from Mark Zuckerberg, Founder, CEO of Meta, he said the biggest risk is not taking any risks. In a world that is changing quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks. And there are a lot of entrepreneurs who are not embracing AI in their business. And that's a big risk, because they're potentially giving up on the operational efficiency or improving profit margins, or even expanding their creativity, or getting to revenue faster. I mean, it's a risk, in my opinion, AI is here to stay. Just like when the internet came on in the 90s where, you know, people just you know, we're talking about it. There were a lot of entrepreneurs that were sitting back. And many of those entrepreneurs that sat back and didn't embrace the internet, they don't, those companies don't exist anymore. And then people are saying, well, AI is like the.com bubble. So during the.com bubble, if you added .com to your company, your valuation went up by 10% that same day, and there were, there were, it was crazy on Wall Street where companies were being bought. There were just really PowerPoints that said .com and for crazy amounts of money. And we're seeing something, there's a lot of caution coming out of Wall Street and Silicon Valley with AI companies because there are a lot of dot AIs that aren't true AI and there's a lot of companies that claim to be an AI company that aren't a real AI company. But what we're talking about today is not becoming an AI company, it's incorporating AI into your company to improve your offering. So what I'm you know, what I'm getting at is I don't want you to go, I mean, a lot of the good dot AIs are already taken, I don't want you to go and you know, say okay, well, I'm you know, I have this bakery. Now I'm an AI cupcake company. What I'm telling you is that whatever it is your company does. Whether you are having now nonprofit, or you're just conceptualizing a business, or you have an existing business or a legacy business, you can incorporate more AI into your business. And it will make you more attractive to investors, it will make you more attractive to your customers. And it can ultimately help you grow that business. And I have been asked recently by a couple of CEOs from legacy companies. One is oh my gosh, I think probably around 40 years old and other one is just almost 25 years old. And they came to me and they're saying, Well, you know, we have massive amounts of consumer data. How could we incorporate AI? And so I was giving them some ideas about how they could do that and what the benefit would be and for, especially for legacy companies, they have so much data on buying patterns of people and when you have a lot of data, AI is a very data hungry
Susan Sly 09:58
you know, data hungry I, you know, being for lack of a better word. And so when you look at things like consumer data, if you have a significant amount of that, then AI can be both for predeictive in terms of what is the likelihood just like Amazon's AI is incredible, it knows the likelihood that you're going to purchase, and when you are going to purchase, the amount of your order basket, the lifetime value of a customer. And Costco knows it, and Walmart knows it, and Target knows it. And all of the big retailers know that because of machine learning and AI models that they use to predict your behavior. And so they're taking all of that data. And they're able to even using that data to forecast their profit margins and forecast their gross revenue, and this concept of taking data, and then not only being able to use it to predict consumer patterns, but also to be able to forecast and do, let's say, something like a, almost like a trial before you actually implement something. So what I mean by that is target could use AI to predict if a promotion is going to be successful or not, which, as an aside, they should have done with some of the big failed things that they did earlier this year that cost them a huge drop in their valuation. But being able to predict based on who their consumers are, they have consumer profiles on everyone who shops there. Not that it's so specific and granular. But they know those buying patterns, they know those trends. So when they make a decision not to do certain offerings, Is it a data driven decision? I don't know, I don't work at Target. But it could be a data driven decision. So is it a good idea as an example, to make their Magnolia offering where the Chip and Joanna Gaines stuff that they have is like if that should have bigger floorspace or how they can perhaps do models, and predictive models using AI to optimize that. Is it in the right location? So if they move it, would consumers actually buy more if they were more likely to see it, and so forth. So there are a lot, there's a lot of practical use for AI and the huge companies. The other thing I'm seeing, I'll be very candid, oh my gosh, this one drives me crazy. So there are a lot of companies that have attempted to create their own AI and they have failed. And instead of using startups that only have to focus on AI and doing one thing really, really well, where they could either acquire that startup, invest in that startup, hire that startup, they'll bring a team of people and try and do it. But what happens is those, that team is often overloaded and being pulled in so many directions that a lot of these companies fail. And then they come to companies like say, Radius and ask us for our services. So this concept that large companies are using AI, incorporate AI, but are going to try and build their own AI. It's the, what we're also seeing is that there are more companies like that acquiring AI companies. And so it's, you know, even again, if you're not, if you don't have the the wherewithal to create your own AI company just by utilizing AI, you can become attractive to the strategic investors, you can become more attractive to angel investors, you can become more attractive to enterprise companies who are looking to incorporate more optimization into their existing platforms. So I want to get right into it and share some statistics with you. And in the first six months of 2023, this year, there was 15.2 billion invested into Gen AI companies, according to PitchBook. And now the bulk of this comes from Microsoft, investing 10 billion into open AI, which developed chat GPT. So, but we're also seeing big companies like Google and Amazon are investing major sums of money into AI and technology. And last year alone, in 2022, AiIstartups received 52.1 billion in venture capital. And so part of this that investors see, and they know is that the global artificial intelligence market size is projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 37.3% from 2023 to 2030. So investors are saying, hey, you know, some of it is when, when it comes to investors, and I've pitched a lot of VCs, one thing they look for is, is this company, does it have real technology? Is it going to be able to scale, which I'm gonna talk about in a moment, and right now, if it does have AI, is it B2C AI or is it B2B AI? And is it you know, is it you know, that a lot of it for the venture capitalists is some speculation. They're vetting on the team, have they had successful exits before? You know, what is their EBITA right now or if it is a pre revenue startup, you know, do they have something that has proven to be something that is going to have some demand? So have they, you know, done some beta testing, and so on and so forth? Right. So there's a lot of speculation happening in AI. But the good news is, you can capitalize on that, which is awesome. So as of June 2023, 20% of the S&P 500, have brought up AI in their earnings calls. And I don't know what the other 80% are doing. It's silly not to. So some more stats for you. PwC, in the US recently announced its planning to invest 1 billion over the next three years in AI projects. And so that is significant. And earlier in the year, Salesforce said it was doubling the size of its Gen AI fund to 500 million. And Thomson Reuters said it was gonna pay $650 million for legal AI assistant case text. And then Databricks announced that it is paying 1.3 billion to buy two year old startup mosaic ml. So how would you like to be that startup, where you started, and two years later, you're selling for 1.3 billion, I'm telling your friends, that's only gonna happen with AI. And so when we see these statistics, and we see these acquisitions, we're seeing these investments, it becomes very attractive as a founder to say, oh, you know, I would like to be a part of it. And, my friends, I think we're all here at this moment in time for a reason. And great entrepreneurs take advantage of timing, they take advantage of trends, they take advantage of problems, and they figure out one key problem that they can solve a technology and one of my friends, he founded a company when he was I think 22 years old, and they sold it a couple years later. And it was just solving really one key problem. And the company was called Media Kits. And it was essentially taking, you know, whether it was a micro influencer or influencer, and then making a attractiveness score for different people who want to use influencers to market based on how many followers they had on Instagram, and different social media platforms and so forth. So it was one key problem they were solving, which is to say, Hey, I'm a business, I want to use an influencer, but I don't really know who's good. And it would, it would populate the media kit for that influencer. And he sold it very quickly. And one of his early investors was Andreessen and so now he's on to his next startup. And, again, as a founder, that's what you're looking for, what is that one key problem I'm solving? And how do I create a company that is going to solve that problem? How do I prove that I'm able to solve that problem? That's why it's good to have an excellent origin story. And then now I'm going to throw this in, and how do I incorporate AI tools in order to make my business perform more efficiently so I can sell that baby or IPO. And a lot of my friends, I have one company I invest in, Blocpal that, you know, may IPO at some point, but like a lot of my friends who are founders, they're just focused on acquisitions. The IPOs are down significantly as many of you are aware. And so it's like, Hey, if you're if you're planning on IPO-ing, I want to interview you on the show, so that's as a total aside. So, if we look at the key things that are going to make you attractive, foreign investor, I'm going to begin with the first one, which is AI integration. So attracting investors with AI integration, because investors love progress, and they love potential. So incorporating AI signals that your startup is forward thinking, it's ready to harness the power of modern tech, and it can be a magnet for funding. So what I recommend is showcasing how you're planning to use AI in your pitch deck and also on your website. So even again, if you're not an AI company, just what is our, you know, how are we incorporating different forms of AI, and it could be tools that you're using as an example. So with Radius, earlier this year, in New York, we had, we had the privilege of having a booth in the innovation lab, which was sponsored by our friends at Nvidia and Lenovo. And there were lots of companies that AI on their title. But we were the only company that did live AI. And so we had
Susan Sly 21:12
the biggest booth, there's a custom booth, and we had our multi camera tracking, and it's patented. So with computer vision, we're doing that. We also had our AI enabled shopping experience, we did that live. And as a result of this, many, many VCs approached us, and we're, you know, very interested in potential investment in our company. And the whole race of real AI and being able to deploy at scale. And at the time, I'm doing the show, it depends when you're listening, we are the, one of the only companies, if not the only company that has ever deployed computer vision AI at scale in the retail sector. And so that is very attractive, obviously, as an AI company. But you're saying, well, Susan, Hey, I am not an AI company. That's okay, showcase to your potential investors what your AI roadmap is, even if it is incorporating AI, and depending on your level of funding, how much money you have, one thing I recommend, too, is you might want to hire a consultant to be able to help you with that AI roadmap, because you might not know and it is a worthwhile investment. And it doesn't have to be a long project. And it could even be incorporating AI tools that are off the shelf. Or it could be doing a combination of off the shelf AI and some custom AI. But either way, be clear about your roadmap and that's going to help. Number two is scalability. So investors want to see that you can scale. And so with AI, the capability to scale isn't just about expanding your workforce or infrastructure. It's about leveraging data, automating processes and multiplying output without linear cost increases. So this kind of scalability is attractive for your growth and for your valuation. So investors want to know how your company is going to scale. And this can include customer acquisition and being able to deliver your product or service beyond a small beta launch. AI can help scale your product in a variety of ways from research, target marketing, streamlining processes, to lowering costs, customizing your customer experience, or using customer data, as I mentioned before, to be able to do predictive models. Also, if you have enough customer data, there's off the shelf, LLM models, large language models, so Gen AI, that allow you to be able to essentially create a Gen AI on your own data, which is amazing. And the cost to do that is significant, but it is coming down. And for those of you who are in GitHub, and some of you don't know what the heck I'm talking about, so I won't get- this isn't the show where I get super geeky. But if you ever see me in real life, I am super geeky, but proud, proud of it. But if you want to go ahead and research how to create your own LLM model or to be able to get an off the shelf model, then by all means do that. There are other off the shelf models as well that you can begin to incorporate. I know Nvidia is working with some off the shelf retail models and so there's lots of off the shelf AI depending on your budget, but the bottom line, there are so many ways that AI can be a force multiplier for you and that is going to help you scale and get your higher valuation. Because the more you scale with efficiency, the of course the the more value your company has. The next thing, number three, is enhancing product value for your customers. So, if you look back at Spotify, you know, their recommendation engine was powered by AI. And it really set them apart in a very red ocean, and crowded market. And if you integrate AI, you can provide unique tailored user experiences that make your product indispensable. And I've got a great example of this. So recently, I invested in a company, full disclosure, I always disclose my investments, called AIM7, and I've had Dr. Eric Korem on the show, and depending when you're listening this episode, he is the next episode coming up. Our launch day is Monday, August 28th, in the App Store, and I'm so excited about this technology. So it is something I've been wishing for and dreaming for. So as a you know, where I'm at in my life, just very transparently. So I'm you know, 50 years old, I am a former marathon runner, I've run six Boston marathons, I want to do four more. I used to be a professional triathlete until I was diagnosed with progressive MS back in 2000. And I run at a very fast pace in my life. And I'm not talking about running like physical running, I'm just talking about in my life, overseeing a company, as an investor, as a mom, as a wife, you know, I sit on a couple of boards, I advise companies, all the things I do. And my stress levels at times are really, really high. And when I had Eric on the show, and he was telling me about what AIM7 was doing, and at that time, they were just in the process of having 500 beta users so they could get the initial test data, I got so excited. And recently, Eric and I reconnected, I invested in the company, I also advise the company. And what they're doing, I firmly believe that with utilizing AI, that they're going to medically change lives. I believe this technology might even save marriages, to be very candid. I think people will become better parents, better children. I mean, it's incredible. And by talking about being adult children to our aging parents. So I want to share with you the data that came out after 30 days for the first 500 beta users. There was a 19% increase in motivation. And I want to pause there. Imagine if you were 19% more motivated, What would you do? You know, would you generate more sales? Would you have more joie de vivre in your business? Would you work out? What would you do with 19% more motivation. And then 16%, better sleep quality, I don't think I need to say much about that one. 17%, better mood, 13% more energy, 15% Less stress, that's 500 members over six months. So what Aim7 is, it's device agnostic. So I'm a Garmin user, but you can use your Apple Watch, you can use different devices. And unlike other technology that kind of nags you, you didn't put airlines today, I talked about a certain app, I have missed this driver to that app. This is predictive, and it's on our roadmap, we are incorporating Gen AI, we're launching that later this year as well. And so if you, depending if you're listening this after August 28, and you go in the app store, you can use the code, or just go to aimseven.com, you can use the code rawandrealaim7, nd not only will you get a free trial, you get 30% off of your app. So you can go and check that out. But I'm so excited. So in that company, again, we're using the AI and we're incorporating Gen AI. And that, of course is making just a radical change for the user experience. And you're probably wondering, like, what is this app even, you know? So it's, what is going to do is going to help you by being suggestive. So if you're kind of that person who, I used to be this person, I was working out so hard and eating so little, but I gained so much weight because my cortisol levels were, stress hormones through the roof. I wasn't training properly. It was like hammering, hammering every single day. And with an app like Aim7, what it's going to do, it's going to tell you Okay, this a good day to just maybe do some yoga, go for a walk or this is the day to go hammer, go have a really hard workout. And so it's so much more than that. But anyway, I could, I'm not doing a whole show on Aim7 because the next episode is all about Aim7 because Dr. Eric is back. If you didn't listen to the first show with Dr. Eric quorum, then please, by all means, go and listen to that. And they are looking for angel investment. If you are a qualified investor, and what that means is that you have to meet, in the United States, the investor qualification and ISQ qualified, investor suitability questionnaire, which means you have a certain annual income or a net worth outside of your home, then, definitely, definitely you can maybe you know, it's up to you. All investments have risks, but maybe reach out and have the conversation. Alright, last thing I want to talk about is incorporating AI is going to help with predictive analytics and decision making. So for you, right, not just boosting your valuation, but if your company becomes more efficient, the side effect of that is increased profit margin. And the side effect of that is better valuation. So startups face uncertainty, we know that, but when you're using AI, driven predictive analytics, some of those uncertainties fade, and even some of the accounting software will do predictive models for you. And that's, again, with your investors, with your employees, using AI tools and being very transparent about it and letting people know, this is what we're doing and this is how, what that roadmap looks like. So there was another stat I wanted to share. So Infotech research group reports that 44% of private sector companies plan to invest in AI systems in 2023. And so you, if you have a startup, you are a private sector company. So just know that one of the two out there are going to be investing in the systems. And that would be a trend, right? So you might be saying, well, Susan, like, is this complex to incorporate AI? And the answer is not really. There are so many AI tools out there that are, some are very inexpensive, some are very elegant, some are very, you know, pricey. It's about looking at what your personal pain points are in the business and asking yourself where AI could help. Because your goal is to solve a problem for your customers and AI's goal is to solve a problem for you, if that makes sense. So we you know, I want to wrap up with a quote by Jensen Wong, and he's referencing Marc Andreessen's quote. So, Marc Andreessen said software is going to eat the world. So Jensen Wong, the CEO of Nvidia said, he paraphrase this, and he said, Software is eating the world, but AI is going to eat software. So my friends, figure out how you can incorporate AI into your company, into your roadmap, be transparent about your tools, let your potential investors know, show them that you are level headed, that you are clear, that you're focused, that you're deliberate and continue searching for ways to bring AI into your company so you can offload some of your own personal pain points and you can go out there and crush it and deliver a high quality product or service to your customers.
Susan Sly 34:05
So with that, please again, if you have a question, send it to me at Susansly.com. And, you know, I
Susan Sly 34:13
would love to answer your questions. I would love to! This show is for you. And I want to finish it up by saying you know, as an entrepreneur, it's tough. It is really tough and I've had friends who listen to the show and friends, girlfriends and wives and boyfriends and husbands and different people. And they always appreciate how raw and real it is. And you're gonna go through some ups and downs, you're gonna have an emotional roller coaster, you're gonna have wall kicking moments, I call them. You're gonna have times when you feel like quitting. You're gonna have people who you know, you feel have betrayed you. The list goes on and on and on. But I believe you started this company for a reason. I believe that you know, with some focus, maybe some hard decisions that you will get to wherever it is that you set out to be. So sometimes you just need to hear it, just keep charging. And my friend once said, The climb is tough, but the view is amazing. And if you're going through a climb that's really tough right now, I just want you to know, I've been in some really tough climbs, but those VISTAs man Oh, man, they feel so good. So with that, God bless, go rock your day. And I will see you in the next episode.
Susan Sly 35:38
Hey, this is Susan and thanks so much for listening to this episode on Raw and Real Entrepreneurship. If this episode or any episode has been helpful to you, you've gotten at least one solid tip from myself or my guests, I would love it if you would leave a five star review wherever you listen to podcast. After you leave your review, go ahead and email reviews@Susansly.com. Let us know where you left the review. And if I read your review on the air, you could get a $50 amazon gift card and we would so appreciate it because reviews do help boost the show and get this message all over the world. If you're interested in any of the resources we discussed on the show, go to Susansly.com, that's where all the show notes live. And with that, go out there rock your day, God bless and I will see you in the next episode.
Susan Sly 36:31
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