CEO, Thought Machine
I founded Thought Machine in 2014 because I wanted to bring modern software technology to banking. I strongly felt something needed to be done about the way most banking systems were so cumbersome and awkward, not to mention deeply frustrating and practically useless for millions of end users. We discovered this after originally setting out to make intuitive banking apps based on advanced machine learning and then hitting a brick wall time after time when attempting to integrate or get proper data feeds. Our conclusion was that we should build our own core banking platform from scratch and encourage our customers to scrap their archaic technology.
Hence Vault was born in the spring of 2015. Will Montgomery wrote the code while I acted as product manager – setting and guiding the overall direction of the system – a role I still play today.
Before founding Thought Machine, I founded two other successful technology companies – Rhetorical Systems, which was acquired by Nuance in 2004 and Phonetic Arts, which was acquired by Google in 2010. I was CTO for the former and CEO for the latter, until we became part of Google, after which point I served as a research scientist and manager of the speech team in London. We launched the Google text-to-speech system in 2012, which still provides the basis for all of Google’s speech output, from driving directions, voice search and accessibility to machine translation. The system has been installed on more than a billion phones since 2012.
In addition to my practical work in technology, I take pleasure in sharing my passion through academia; I have been a lecturer in Linguistics as well as director of the Centre for Speech Research at Edinburgh University. I also spent two years within Cambridge University’s Engineering Department, writing the book, Text-To-Speech Synthesis.
At Thought Machine, I take pride in having helped to build an extremely strong team of talented people and a fantastic company culture. Team work and fun are very important to me; it’s crucial that we continue to create incredible products and have a great time in doing so.