Tech UPTechnologyIs this Basque entrepreneur the new Steve Jobs?

Is this Basque entrepreneur the new Steve Jobs?

No. I’m not saying it. The data says it, the experts say it, and so do those who join it. First it was Doug Solomon, who was once Apple’s Strategy Director, who encouraged the protagonist of this article, Xabi Uribe-Etxebarría, to create Sherpa in 2012, now known as Sherpa.ai. Last year it was Tom Gruber, the creator of Siri, which is Apple’s intelligent voice assistant, who joined the team of the Basque company. But it is that today the incorporation to Sherpa.ai of Joanna Hoffman has been announced, the one that for many years was the right hand of Steve Jobs himself.

In Claret Askartza Ikastetxea, Leioa, Bizkaia, in that educational center that defines itself as Christian, Claretian and Basque in the Biscayan town of Leioa, the figure was created, the company? and perhaps even the first ideas of one of the most recognized developments in the world of artificial intelligence (AI) today. The paradox of this success is that Xabi Uribe-Etxebarría, who was able to start this adventure and take it to his current status, was expelled from school. Josu María Zabaleta, Claretian friar and former director of the Claret Askartza, wrote in 2017, months before his death, an article in the newspaper Deia in which he said verbatim: “The one who is probably one of our most universal students was temporarily expelled from the center. Yes, expelled. It’s something I’m not proud of. He was expelled for those unusual attitudes that a young man with concerns has, that is out of the ordinary and that, sometimes, educators do not know how to value ”.

Zabaleta referred to Xabi as a person with charisma, rebellion, brilliance, solidarity, humility and sincerity. Some of these qualifiers dripped, they say, Steve Jobs himself, although those of humility and solidarity may not have been some of them, according to his detractors. But something will have this Basque entrepreneur who has been able to surround himself with renowned and successful former Apple executives such as Solomon, Gruber and now Hoffman. Nor does Uribe-Etxebarría hide his great friendship with John Sculley, who was Apple’s CEO and boss of Steve Jobs and later CEO of the apple company from 1983 to 1993.

The only Spanish company

For more inri, allow me the expression, last week Sherpa.ai was recognized by the consulting firm CB Insights as the only Spanish startup in the 2020 ranking of the one hundred most innovative companies in artificial intelligence, just as it also did in 2018, which earned it a place in Fortune’s index of the hundred companies with the greatest projection in the world in the field of AI. To glimpse the dimension of these recognitions, suffice it to say that in the ranking of this year 2020 there are 65 companies from the United States, 8 from Canada, another 8 from the United Kingdom, 6 from China, 3 from Israel, 2 from Germany and Sweden, and one from Chile, France, Japan, South Africa, Switzerland and, as I have mentioned only one Spanish: Sherpa.ai. In addition to this recognition, just a few weeks ago the specialized American publication Datamation placed Xabi’s company in ninth place among the ten most relevant in artificial intelligence in the world, just behind AI Brain, Amazon, Cognitive Scale, Google, IBM, Iris.ai, Microsoft and Open.AI, the artificial intelligence company founded, among others, by Elon Musk.

An ethical and humanistic vision of artificial intelligence

And what could Joanna Hoffman have seen to join the Sherpa.ai team? Those who place this company as one of the world leaders in AI say that the technologies it is developing are unique, at the level of the great GAFA (Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple), but with an ethical and humanistic vision of artificial intelligence. Hoffman will help Sherpa.ai to develop its business, in the product strategy and, of course, in the area that has established Jobs’s right hand in one of the largest, marketing.

That is the future that awaits Sherpa.ai, to be able to turn its innovative artificial intelligence technologies into products and services for companies, whatever their scope. And, furthermore, advance in the development of its conversational and predictive digital assistant, which learns from the user’s context and is able to anticipate their needs. Will the new Jobs, Xabi, be able to achieve it? In the United States, no one doubts that it will. And in Spain?

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