Learner Story: Founding a Technology Startup

Learner Story: Founding a Technology Startup

Roy Raanani drew on concepts, skills, and connections from Stanford University’s Machine Learning course on Coursera to found his startup, Chorus.ai. Here’s his story:

After my wife took a job opportunity in Switzerland, I quit my job as a business consultant and moved to a remote Swiss village with her and our newborn. The move and my new role as part-time stay-at-home dad and part-time entrepreneur gave me the opportunity to pursue two topics that had always fascinated me – machine learning, and spoken language.

Although I’d been an engineering student in college, I’d never worked as an engineer. Coursera made it easy to sign up for Andrew Ng’s classic Machine Learning course, offered by Stanford University. I watched lectures and worked on assignments from our couch while the baby slept, and I became very active in the course forums – posting questions and ideas, meeting people from around the world.

I ended up recruiting a close friend, Russell Levy, to take the course with me, and together with an expert in the field, developed an idea for a machine learning-based product that would analyze spoken conversations and predict their success in terms of outcomes like trust and persuasion. Our initial idea evolved into Chorus.ai – Conversation Intelligence for Sales Team, and we’ve since raised venture funding. We’re offering truly innovative, transformative technology to the world.

Building Chorus has been the most authentic, rewarding, and challenging thing I’ve done professionally – and the first step on this journey was taking the Machine Learning course. The course helped me understand what was possible, and having that understanding helped me establish my credibility as someone who could turn this vision into a reality.

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