Rob Delaney is CEO at Infinia ML and a Director at Carrick Capital Partners (Carrick).
Infinia ML helps companies streamline workflows and gain new insights with a machine learning-powered platform for intelligent document processing. At Carrick, Rob leads investments in ML/AI and analytics, including in Infinia ML. He received his MBA from Harvard Business School. Before that, Rob previously worked at Accenture, focused on advising and executing data science and analytics investments. Rob studied Government and Law and Economics at Lafayette College, where he was also captain of the basketball team.
- What is in your pockets?
I don’t like pockets. Usually I’ll have a phone that’s either in my hand or in my bag and I’m pretty digital in how I pay for stuff so, there’s currently literally nothing in my pockets.
- What exciting thing has happened recently for you or your organization?
It’s been an incredibly exciting time at Infinia ML. Some people may be familiar with the arc of our story. We were spun out of Duke in 2017, with more of a services business focused on AI and machine learning. We have transitioned to now we’re a platform business focused on what we call data liquidity, but it’s really around extracting meaningful content and insights from complex documents. Documents could be an email, RFP (request for proposal), or a clinical trial protocol. We had a recent new release of our platform, as well as several new customers that went live at the end of December on this new platform version. It’s a really exciting time at Infinia where this is the life of a platform company, where we’re constantly iterating and launching new versions of ourselves. It was exciting that a recent new release included new customers tied to it.
Another exciting thing to add is how many people we’re hiring. We’ve got dozens of open roles across engineering, sales, and marketing. We always have an evergreen open role around data science. We have 20 data scientists now. The core of our company was around machine learning and data science. Those are the founders and we continue to have a really strong AI data science team. The ethos at the core of our company is deep ML background started at Duke with our founders. Now we are a platform company with more facets to our business but our differentiator is that unique set of machine learning expertise.
- What is your favorite coffee spot?
My most frequent coffee spot is definitely the Starbucks that’s on Page Road that’s about 300 yards from our office. But my favorite coffee, which everybody criticizes me for, is Dunkin Donuts. I’m from the Northeast where they are very popular. I just love the simplicity of it.
- What keeps you up at night?
If you’re running an early stage startup, a dozen things keep you up at night. There’s always more you could be doing and that’s the most exciting part about the job. There’s always an improvement. You’re always on a journey but the number one thing that keeps me up at night is how are my people doing, because especially over the last two years it’s been really hard. We’ve got around 20 employees at Infinia ML that joined the company post-pandemic and haven’t had a day-to-day office to go into. Our office is open for people who would like to go in, even though we have policy where it’s your choice.
I’m always thinking about how can we provide an environment where people can thrive and have their needs met. You’re a person first and work is secondary. Our core business is based on the brilliance, ingenuity, and the hard work of our people and so that’s what keeps me up at night. How are they doing? How are they coping with everything that’s going on in the world? And how can we make sure that we’re doing everything we can to support them?
- What is your favorite restaurant or happy hour?
My favorite place to go is the Bull Durham bar at the Washington Duke Inn. I live remotely in the Northeast. Pre-Covid, I came down to the Triangle area four to five days a week and would stay at either the JB Duke or the Washington Duke Inn near Duke campus. I now come less often. The Bull Durham bar is one of my favorite places to relax, have a meal and a beer.
- What is next for you or your organization?
What’s next is for us to become the leader in the complex document processing space. There’s a next generation of companies that have started and introduced model-based and machine learning technologies for helping businesses get more insights and data out of their documents. Of those companies, we are the most focused on really providing insights, not just the automation piece. We believe in this concept of liquid data versus illiquid data. There’s a bunch of illiquid data sitting in documents, and documents are the way businesses communicate and organize themselves.
Our belief is that we are going to become the market leader in helping you get the information out of those documents, so make that illiquid data liquid. But then once it’s liquid, we help you spend that data. We help you drive insights from that data, because that’s what everybody’s looking for. Everybody’s looking not just to automate a process. They want to be able to find something else out about their customers, about their business that’s unique, and that’s the real power of what machine learning can do. I believe that’s our core value. What’s next is continue to strive along that journey to push the boundaries there, and to become the market leader in that space.