The first inkling of Testfire Labs entered Dave Damer's head on Day 6 of a 10-day meditation retreat.
A couple of months before he had exited ThinkTel, the successful telecom company he founded in early 2003. He had some ideas "in his back pocket," a favourite place he stashes inspirations that come up on his path through business.
The retreat was a great experience that brought "great clarity," Damer says.
His inspiration? "We would take some recent developments in speech-to-text and machine learning and natural language processing and we would make a companion for business people so they wouldn’t have to, in my initial iteration this, stress about all the mental to-do lists we have.... They would be better at staying on top of things and prioritizing their daily activities."
With some consultation and working through the idea, the first product was narrowed down to Hendrix.ai, an intelligent companion who helps make meetings more productive.
Testfire Labs is one of a growing number of AI and machine learning companies setting up in Edmonton. AI and machine learning involves computers and machines that do tasks that would normally be considered to require human-level intelligence, dealing with complex data sets and in the case of machine learning, able to learn and improve without specific programming in a data set.