About

We created XOKind in order to bring the benefits of AI directly to everyone with beautiful, human-centered design. Our products enable humankind to experience and accomplish more in their lives without compromising on privacy.

Arjun, Yinyin, Scott and Sarah founded the company in 2019. Since then, we’ve raised $3.25M from a world-class team of investors. We’ve expanded from our San Diego office to welcome team members across the USA. And we’re excited to be launching our first product, Una, in the travel space.

Team

Arjun

Arjun Bansal

CEO

Prior to co-founding XOKind, Arjun was a vice president in the Artificial Intelligence Products Group at Intel where he led a large AI software and research effort that spanned the United States, Israel and Poland. Arjun joined Intel after the acquisition of Nervana Systems, a company he co-founded. Nervana developed a new computational paradigm consisting of a cloud to silicon stack designed for deep learning. Nervana helped enterprises make sense of big data at scale. Arjun oversaw development of Nervana's software framework and led engagements across vertical industries, including agriculture, automotive, energy, finance, government and online services.

Before founding Nervana in 2014, Arjun worked at Qualcomm on brain-inspired computing for robotics and mobile applications. Earlier in his career, he was a postdoctoral research fellow in neurology at Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital, focusing on cognitive experiments, computational modeling and quantitative analysis of large neurological data sets.

Arjun holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from Caltech and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Brown. He has written more than a dozen published works on topics related to brain-machine interfaces, machine learning applied to computational neuroscience, deep learning and AI. Arjun was recently chosen as a 40 under 40 by Fortune magazine. Arjun has been invited to share his thoughts on AI and its implications for humankind at several conferences in the US, Europe and China, including Fortune Brainstorm Tech, O’Reilly AI, Re.Work, Stanford Future Fest and WebSummit, as well as Forbes publication and the Simulation show. In his free time, Arjun enjoys travel (27 countries, 25 states plus D.C. and counting!), tennis, yoga and family time in the San Diego outdoors.

Yinyin

Yinyin Liu

CTO

Yinyin is responsible for designing and building the technology roadmap to achieve the business and technology goals of XOKind. Through her years of experience in the machine learning domain, Yinyin has collaborated with CSPs and enterprises in various verticals to apply AI/Data Science to build/deploy AI systems and services, and has always been passionate about designing and packaging the right AI algorithms to solve problems for enterprises and end-users.

Previously, Yinyin was the Head of Data Science in the Artificial Intelligence Products Group at Intel where she led a global team of deep learning researchers and data scientists that is engaged in in-depth data science for AI product engineering, as well as Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Reinforcement Learning (RL) research. She was responsible for setting the strategy and leading the execution of connecting data science and AI research with AI hardware, enabling AI use cases through open-source data science tools in NLP, RL, model compression, and working with Intel partners and customers on innovative AI solutions across industry domains. Yinyin has also driven algorithmic design for the Intel Nervana NNP-L, one of the first Deep learning training ASICs, and contributed to neon (open source DL framework) and nGraph (open source DL compiler). Yinyin represented Intel at the Partnership on AI, a multi-stakeholder organization that brings together around 100 academic, industry, and civil society organizations working on making AI beneficial for people and society. Prior to working at Intel, Yinyin was a Principal Data Scientist at Nervana Systems (acquired by Intel in 2016), where she was responsible for developing deep learning algorithms and frameworks, and AI solutions for enterprises. She also previously worked at Qualcomm Research as a ML/neuroscience researcher working on Deep Learning, Robotics and Neuromorphic computing.

Yinyin was named one of the 9 women in Silicon Valley to watch who are leading in AI by Silicon Valley Business Journal, and one of the top 30 Women in AI in US by RE.WORK. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University, China, and a Ph.D. focused in Machine Learning from Ohio University.

Scott

Scott Leishman

VP of Engineering

Scott has over twelve years experience creating machine learning based solutions to solve large-scale, real-world problems. Prior to co-founding XOKind, Scott was a Principal Engineer in the Artificial Intelligence Products Group at Intel where he led and managed teams building systems to support deep learning on specialized hardware. Scott joined Intel via the acquisition of Nervana Systems, where he was an early employee. At Nervana, Scott led initial architecture design and was a core contributor to Nervana’s deep learning framework neon. Scott also kicked off Nervana’s cloud efforts, building one of the world’s first deep learning as a service offerings.

Over his career, Scott has contributed award-winning models, analysis and software to support automated house price valuation, securitized asset rating, and credit card fraud detection. He's had multiple top ten finishes in the KDD Cup and Kaggle competitions on tasks ranging from author disambiguation to music preference rating. Scott is a former member of the Machine Learning group at the University of Toronto. Supervised by Sam Roweis, his research focused on ways to improve optical character recognition by exploiting contextual and language-based cues.

Outside the office, Scott enjoys travelling to far-flung destinations (21 countries so far), long distance running, and craft beer.

Sarah

Sarah Harris

Head of Product

Sarah is passionate about positively impacting the role technology has in shaping how we live, work, think and feel. Her experience in the tech sector encompasses product management, partnerships and marketing at companies including Apple, where she focused on consumer apps on iOS, macOS and tvOS, and at HP, where she focused on enterprise hardware. Sarah holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, a PhD in Media Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a bachelor’s degree in Radio, TV and Film and International Studies from Northwestern University. During her PhD and postdoctoral fellowship, she conducted Fullbright-funded international research on Internet users’ attitudes and behaviors, and investigated how online culture is shaped by industries, governments and social networks in the offline world. Her analyses have been published in blogs, journals and publications including Signal Traffic: Critical Studies of Media Infrastructure (2015). Prior to her PhD, Sarah served in the Teach for America program, teaching in the Bronx and Chicago. She also has experience in radio production and documentary filmmaking, and she’s lived and worked abroad in Turkey and Bolivia where she picked up Turkish and Spanish. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys exploring new hikes, San Diego’s beaches, music and film, and spending time with family and friends.

Annie

Annie Devine

UI/UX Designer

Annie is a UI/UX designer whose work spans the entire user-centered design process, from the earliest stages of user research to polished visual designs. She creates intuitive, engaging experiences that are firmly rooted in user needs.

Originally from the marketing and advertising world, Annie transitioned into the tech sector through a programming apprenticeship at a startup in Detroit, where she developed web and mobile products for small independent brands and large corporations like General Motors. While closely collaborating with designers, she built her own design acumen and perspective, and she has been working as a designer ever since, most recently at Designlab—an online design education company—and PINT, a web development agency in San Diego. Whether sketching a prototype, conducting usability tests, or honing a wireframe, she loves the collaborative and iterative process of developing impactful, elegant design solutions.

Annie holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication & Media from the University of Michigan, where she focused on cognitive science and marketing while serving as a research assistant across a variety of departments, including neuroscience, sociology and linguistics.

When she’s not designing, Annie loves traveling (16 countries so far!), baking, drawing, and exploring new restaurants and hiking spots.

Marcus

Marcus Ng

Frontend Software Engineer

Marcus is a mobile app developer who is passionate about making people’s lives easier and more productive through technology. He founded Amarok Technologies during his sophomore year at Stuyvesant High School in New York. Since then, he has developed and shipped highly rated iOS and Android apps for Amarok. Marcus also teaches mobile app development to thousands of students and professionals online and continues to expand and deliver new content. As an intern at WeWork Labs, Marcus designed, built, and deployed key consumer products and internal tools while also mentoring early stage startups on bringing their products to market. Marcus studied Computer Science at the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College in New York. When he’s not programming, Marcus enjoys listening to audiobooks on entrepreneurship and personal growth, playing competitive video games, and exploring new neighborhoods with his dog.

Vasanth

Vasanth Petlu

Backend Engineering

Vasanth is a product-focused engineering leader responsible for backend engineering at XOKind.

Prior to XOKind, Vasanth was at Amazon for 7 years starting off as an engineer on its merchant payments product, and later in scaling its last mile logistics business from a 100 packages/day in the US to 1MM+/day globally through hiring and leading tech teams with an expertise in building internet-scale platforms. Vasanth studied Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo.

Outside of work, Vasanth enjoys cinema, traveling (21 countries so far), cooking and IPAs.

Ajay

Ajay Deshpande

Backend Engineer

Ajay is a computer science graduate from the University at Buffalo. Before joining XOKind he worked at AWS EBS(Elastic Block Store), Intel AI and Persistent Systems. He has led and been a part of the design, development and maintenance of multiple highly scalable applications spanning across and at the intersection of Distributed Systems, Machine Learning and Bioinformatics.

In his free time, Ajay enjoys playing competitive video games, traveling, playing outdoor sports and he’s currently learning to play the piano.

Dave

Dave Kim

Advisor

Dave Kim brings over 15 years of experience in building, launching, and scaling tech services that millions of people use everyday. He currently leads product marketing teams at Lyft focused on helping riders get a fast, reliable ride (Car, Bike, Scooter!) everywhere you go. Previously, he led product marketing efforts for rider and delivery experience at Uber, for Pinterest, and for Google Maps as well as having product management experience for Windows at Microsoft. He's passionate about travel and providing travel tools to help himself and others more easily explore the world.

Vivek

Vivek Wagle

Marketing

Vivek has always believed in the potential of great stories to empower people. After graduating from Harvard with a degree in Philosophy, he began his career in travel media. He authored and edited dozens of guidebooks for Lonely Planet before leading the company's digital product and editorial teams under the BBC. He then joined Airbnb at an early stage, where he helped shape the company's brand identity and core principles. Since then, Vivek has held senior marketing leadership roles in a variety of startups – from on-demand delivery services to digital infrastructure. He is convinced that technology ought to unburden people, removing the constraints preventing them from achieving their potential.

A guitarist and pianist, Vivek can't wait until rock bands are allowed to jam together again.

Avinash

Avinash Pujala

Data Scientist Intern

Avinash found his way into the flourishing field of machine learning and data science by way of neuroscience. His long-standing interest in understanding computations within networks first took him down the path of biological networks in the brain. He obtained his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Brown University, in partnership with the National Institutes of Health, and then went on to do a postdoctoral fellowship at Janelia Research Campus, part of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. During his years as a neuroscientist, Avinash used a combination of experimental and computational techniques to investigate the mechanisms within neuronal networks that give them the ability to produce complex, dynamic and adaptive behaviors. His work provided important insights into the neural basis of locomotion and the developmental changes in networks that facilitate the expansion and complexification of the behavioral repertoire of juvenile animals. As a postdoc, Avinash found himself increasingly using a variety of ML approaches to analyze behaviors and complex patterns of neuronal activity. The more time he spent using ML methods the more he became convinced that despite the present day ubiquity of ML applications, these represent only the tip of the iceberg and the most exciting uses of ML have yet to be discovered. Consequently, Avinash’s interests shifted from biological to artificial neural networks, and he decided to fully transition into the field of machine learning. To aid the transition, Avinash joined an intensive Artificial Intelligence fellowship program and completed a project wherein he developed a neural network-based tool that allows users to select and isolate salient sound sources of interest from videos containing many such overlapping sounds. Soon after completing this fellowship, Avinash joined XOKind in August of 2020.

Shaowei

Shaowei Png

ML Engineer/Data Scientist

Shaowei works on Machine Learning problems in XOKind. He is passionate in applying the magic of Artificial Intelligence to consumer products, making them more useful, and delighting the users.

Prior to XOKind, Shaowei was a Data Science Tech Lead at Grab Inc, where he worked on a variety of AI problems such as fraud detection, churn prediction, and ads recommendations. He was an early engineer in an AI startup GraphLab which was acquired by Apple, and there he worked on AI challenges on the Apple Watch. He started his career as a software engineer on Google Hangouts.

He did reinforcement learning research with Joelle Pineau and Doina Precup at McGill University, where he completed a Master in Science. He holds a Bachelor's degree (1st class) in Computer Science from the National University of Singapore.

He enjoys traveling with his wife, and one of his goals is to visit all the national parks in the USA. He strongly believes AI can help people make informed decisions in traveling and having fun!

Join our team! Explore our open roles.