Daniel Hulme, the founder of the British owned artificial intelligence and data science company Satalia, openly and sincerely shares his thoughts about the respect he feels for Kaunas residents and their abilities, about the IT sector in Kaunas, the opportunities discovered here and the feelings that overwhelm him every time he visits the city.
Founded almost a decade ago by four friends in Kaunas, Data Dog started its activities as a developer of websites and e-shop systems and in 2019, after a long-lived partnership, this Kaunas residents’ company was acquired by Satalia, the artificial intelligence solution developer from London. The professionalism of Kaunas residents, successful implementation of increasingly complex international projects, solid contribution to the development of Satalia’s own products, smooth communication, cultural similarities, and countless other strategic advantages led to the fact that one of the world’s leading artificial intelligence organizations decided to become not only a client and partner of Kaunas-based company but a one business family.
What prompted Satalia to invest in Kaunas?
From the very beginning of our acquaintance, Kaunas residents impressed us with their creativity, diligence, consistency, responsibility, and a sense of duty. We are assured that Kaunas residents are and will be the key masterminds and innovators of our current and future products.
An equally important fact is that Kaunas is a university city. Here we met talents whose knowledge and achievements are truly impressive, and their motivation is enviable. We aim to involve them in the creation and development of innovative products. We enjoy a vibrant and successful ecosystem of the city’s start-ups, IT companies, and academic institutions. Combining all this and countless other factors, we have no doubt that Kaunas is a key part of our current and future success. And I’m not talking about “doing the job”, but about the maximum strategic and conceptual contribution of Kaunas residents to our solutions, products, processes and business.
What are the main advantages you, as an investor, see in Kaunas and its region?
Lithuanians in the Western world are distinguished by the fact that they are “hungry” (in a good sense) for knowledge, experience, challenges. You still want to prove your strengths to the Western world, so you are twice as likely to take a more active interest, to be better prepared, to analyze more deeply. For the investor, this means strong talent and incredible motivation that translates into great results.
I must commend the smooth and simple conditions for creating and growing a business in Lithuania. I think, at least in our field, Lithuania is one of the least bureaucratic countries in the world where a significant part of public processes is digitized, therefore, I wish you to continue to move forward. Policies to open, systematize and use publicly managed data could be a major impetus for the development and innovation of IT and artificial intelligence.
Speaking specifically about Kaunas residents, the curiosity, creativity, and entrepreneurship of the people are pleasantly surprising. Motivated Kaunas residents are unstoppable!
Since we have already turned to the topic of talent, we’d like to ask how would you assess the connection between business and the academic community in Kaunas?
It is a fact that Kaunas is a university city, which, in my opinion, is the most successful in Lithuania in terms of science “export.” What I like even more is that there are at least a few academic specializations available in this city, for example, not only the technological but also health sciences are strong here. I believe that innovation has not been just one-area object for a long time now, synergies are much more promising. In other words, not just “artificial intelligence”, but “artificial intelligence in health.” I sincerely believe that Kaunas has inexhaustible potential and there is a lot of space here for strengthening cooperation.
Tell us, what is the Satalia Lithuania team currently developing, and what are their immediate tasks?
The products we develop based on artificial intelligence solve complex mathematical problems and help our customers, including such companies as Tesco, PwC, and BBC to optimize the activities and processes of transport, trade, human resources, and other areas.
UK retail giant Tesco uses Satalia Delivery’s courier route-planning and optimization tool to help increase the scale of delivery and accuracy, improve customer satisfaction, and reduce fuel consumption, mileage, and natural footprint.
I want to pass on the biggest compliments and thanks to the Kaunas team working with this product. In the presence of coronavirus, with e-sales doubling almost overnight, our employees worked hard to avoid any system disruptions and help significantly expand our customers’ business.
Also, noticing that same-day delivery has become a priority for businesses, we decided to develop a new product, Satalia Delivery Same Day, which opens up new possibilities for planning, optimizing same-day deliveries, and creating dynamic pricing.
Our other big product, which we are also developing in Kaunas, is Satalia Workforce – a tool for planning and optimizing work shifts or teamwork. I will illustrate with a simple example: professional services companies can employ several thousand employees with unique skills and competencies, vacation schedules and priorities, distances to home or clients, and the like. Forming optimal teams, shifts, and schedules with these factors in mind is a huge math and optimization challenge that Workforce is successfully solving.
How often do you visit Kaunas yourself and how do you see it?
I visit Kaunas at least a few times a year and I always come with the greatest pleasure, always waiting for something new to discover. I have my favorite places, I don’t ask for directions anymore (at least in the Old Town), so I feel at home here. And I do not come to colleagues, but to friends. My family has also visited here more than once.
I have noticed how Kaunas has started to make more active use of its huge cultural, social, and quality of life potential in recent years. The city has become more beautiful, more vibrant, more open, just more European. I think that over the last 5 years Kaunas has set an example for other Lithuanian and world cities, which shows how relatively small, but important and visible changes for the population can create a huge impact, which turns into a desire to be here, to create.
Believe me, investors don’t trust in math alone. Long-term-oriented and high value-added entrepreneurs believe in regions, the inhabitants of which enjoy being, find it easy to grow, and improve as well as spend their time in the city. I think that Kaunas has made great and visible progress in these areas. Now it is very important not to stop and improve further because other cities and regions are not sleeping either.
Kaunas IN business department information
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