Hypergiant helps big brands look beyond the AI buzzwords

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are phrases that get tossed around a lot these days, to the point where they’re starting to seem meaningless. In fact, Ben Lamm said he’s seen the problem firsthand at his chatbot startup Conversable.

“We kind of noticed this huge gap,” Lamm said. “Everybody has an emotional reaction to AI, everybody wants AI, nobody seems to know what that means.”

So Lamm founded a new startup called Hypergiant, which will work with large brands and enterprises to address what he described as “this hunger for pragmatism in AI.”

In his view, most existing AI solutions either require “super powerful” technology, or they’re “complete BS marketing fluff.” Lamm’s goal is to find the sweet spot in the middle, where the technology can be used by Fortune 500 companies to solve real business problems.

For example, Hypergiant has already worked with TGI Friday’s to create Flanagan, an AI-powered mixologist. Sound gimmicky? Well, Lamm said Flanagan allows the restaurant chain to collect more data about its customers’ tastes, and to increase loyalty by offering personalized drink recommendations.

There are actually three divisions within Hypergiant. At Hypergiant Applied Sciences, the team will be working to develop and commercialize its own AI products. However, when it comes to working with brand costumers, Lamm said Hypergiant Space Age Solutions (yes, that’s the real name) will happily adopt whatever technology best meets the customer’s needs.

And then there’s Hypergiant Ventures, which invests in AI startups. It’s already backed Pilosa, Cerebri AI and Clearblade.

Lamm founded Hypergiant with two of his old colleagues from Chaotic Moon, the technology studio that Accenture acquired in 2015 — John Fremont (who served as artificial intelligence lead at Accenture after the acquisition and is now Hypergiant’s chief strategy officer) and Will Womble (who serves as chief revenue officer). And while Lamm is Hypergiant’s executive chairman and CEO, he’ll continue working as CEO at Conversable.