In 2016 Alexandr Wang, 20, took time off from his graduate computer science studies at MIT. He headed to Silicon Valley to join his friend and fellow developer Lucy Guo, 23. Two years earlier, Guo – a 2014 Thiel Fellow – had left her senior year at Carnegie Mellon to pursue her own tech career. Now, little more than a year after Wang left Cambridge, the two are leading a $4.7-million startup. Scale, “The API of Human Intelligence,” serves such giants as Alphabet, P&G, GM Cruise and more.
From high school dropouts to Stanford Ph.D’s, most of the Forbes 2018 30 Under 30 Class in Enterprise Tech are augmenting Artificial Intelligence with indispensable human skills. Both Wang and Guo have substantial experience in tech, including stints at Snap and Quora. So they know that despite the considerable hype AI is, as they describe it, “not ready for prime time.” And, like much of this year’s class, they took risks to create something new.
Scale offers immediate access to human-powered services such as image recognition and audio transcription via a simple developer API. As a business, Scale is going against an existing behemoth, Amazon, as well as its contractors-for-hire website Mechanical Turk. Wang and Guo want to differentiate their company via quality and simplicity. While onAmazon’s job site ompanies must filter for quality workers, Scale pre-screens and trains its contractors who, according to Scale, “are used heavily for tasks where quality is absolutely crucial, such as building training datasets for self-driving cars and computer vision companies.”
Artificial Intelligence is the focus of the leap Greg Brockman, 29, took when he left Stripe in 2015. As the company’s first CTO, Brockman helped the online payments company grow from 5 to 205 clients. But it was his dinner with tech rock stars including Elon