Success stories

“Lausanne will be one of the AI capitals on the European continent”

Kare Knowledgeware is a British AI startup operating in the area of automated knowledge management and customer support. The company has chosen to expand their business to Lausanne in order to benefit from the tech talent pool and clear commercial opportunities. The following interview is with kare’s Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Michele Sama.

woman using mobile phone in front of screen
British startup Kare decided to open a tech-lab in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Using cutting edge predictive technology, kare provides solutions that seamlessly integrate with existing customer relationship management (CRM) platforms to enable businesses to proactively engage with customers. By leveraging new or existing knowledge, kare uses its multi-patented conversational AI technology, known as MIND, to dialogue with customers and guide them towards the knowledge they seek. In doing so, kare reduces the friction between businesses and users by making it easier and faster to convert customer's interests into successful outcomes.

In 2017, your company decided to open a tech-lab in Lausanne, Switzerland. Why then and what were the crucial factors in the selection of Switzerland as a location?

Our survival as a tech company depends on the availability to recruit and keep Machine Learning (ML) specialists to maintain our competitive advantage. We could not find or keep the right candidates in London and we were challenged by extreme costs of recruitment and training. Plus, Customer Experience is a highly competitive market in English-speaking countries. This combination of challenges forced us to look elsewhere, for a place to grow.

Lausanne will be one of the AI capitals on the European continent: It is fueled by a strong supply of new talents from local universities, technical resources, vibrant open communities driven by research, and support from local governments. We were also attracted to Lausanne’s cosmopolitan environment: locals speak four languages and more than 40% of the inhabitants are foreigners, which facilitates hiring foreign talent. Recruitment and training costs are lower due to a “long term” mentality. Employees in Lausanne tend to stay for a longer period of time than in the UK. Similarly, as a family-friendly environment Lausanne is also appealing to employees who wish to have a family. All this together contributes to lower churn, which ultimately implies lower hiring and training costs. Plus, Switzerland’s flexible employment law is very appealing to employees.

We were also attracted to Lausanne’s cosmopolitan environment: locals speak four languages and more than 40% of the inhabitants are foreigners, which facilitates hiring foreign talent.

What support services have you found most useful?

We have worked with DEV who support tech companies through the process of incorporating in the Canton of Vaud, completely free of charge. We also worked with Innovaud who support tech companies post-incorporation, which has been a great networking and scaling resource for us. We have also benefited from Innosuisse who helps research and innovation in Switzerland, as well as from local benefits such as tax reliefs, growth schemes, loans, and free consultancy.

What is kare’s future vision?

By the end of 2020 we want the brand kare to be acknowledged as the market leader for research and innovation in Natural Language Processing/Understanding (NLP/NLU) in the center of the continent. Our tech hub in Lausanne should be the go-to point for all technologists wishing to push the boundaries of modern AI and NLU. Operating from Switzerland will give us access to France, Germany, Italy as well as to other countries in the continent.

In what ways has the tech hub in Lausanne influenced kare and what have been the results?

Since we started our Swiss journey we have been innovating at full speed. We have released two new major versions of our engine since last fall and a third one is coming. We also presented some of our latest research work at the Applied Machine Learning Days, a conference hosted by EPFL, and our work has been extremely well received.

To find out more about kare visit: https://www.karehq.com

Since we started our Swiss journey we have been innovating at full speed.

The Swiss Business Hub UK + Ireland is the representative of the official international trade and investment promotion agency Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE). Part of the Embassy of Switzerland in London and in Dublin, it is responsible for promoting Switzerland as a business location and supports UK and Irish companies in setting up entities or R&D collaborations in Switzerland. For more information please email lon.sbhuk@eda.admin.ch

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