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YYJ to YUL for a local AI startup

YYJ to YUL for a local AI startup

Technology Sector

Revela revels in Next AI experience

Mike Leslie is thankful for Zoom. The co-founder of local AI company Revela landed in the highly competitive Next AI accelerator — but it happens to run 4,882 kilometres across the country in Montreal. So, despite a recent trip East, Leslie says he’s grateful that programs like Next AI have retained an option to attend remotely since the pandemic, allowing West Coast startups like his to be fully involved.

Revela offers a monitoring solution that understands the patterns in data to detect meaningful errors and anomalies. This service reduces the cost of managing machine learning (ML) models, allowing organizations to focus their data science investments on strategic work such as developing new models. “We provide tools to support other companies who want to build and deploy AI faster and more reliably,” Leslie summarizes.

He compares it to how DevOps brought proper engineering best practices to software development. MLOps, Revela’s niche, is here to bring best practices to AI development: Revela exists to monitor AI models that have been deployed into production.

“This is incredibly important because, unlike traditional software, AI naturally degrades over time,” Leslie points out. “If you don't monitor it, the AI model that worked perfectly well a month ago may now be making completely inaccurate predictions. Therefore we play a critical part in building trust in AI systems.”

Leslie’s co-founder, Zev Isert, created the company in 2019, and Leslie joined him to lead the business side in early 2022. He details that his motivation to join Revela came through seeing the successful exits of fellow portfolio companies from Alacrity: the local not-for-profit incubator. “I had engaged with Alacrity a few years before and almost jumped on board, but decided to go another route,” Leslie says. “Then I started looking into their incredibly high success rate as a startup incubator and figured Owen [Matthews, Alacrity’s chairman] and the crew must be doing something right.”

While Leslie is clearly well-connected locally, most of Revela's customers hail from outside of Victoria, which is a familiar refrain I heard when I recently chatted with VIATEC CEO Dan Gunn. However, Leslie credits Next AI for setting him up for some potential home cooking.

“Through the program, we learned how Revela can be adapted for smaller AI startups in a variety of verticals, which is when we can start supporting AI-first companies in our hometown,” he said.

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Media Contact : Victoria Tech Journal

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