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Alex Bates has spent the last decade bringing artificial intelligence and machine learning to the forefront of the industrial market. In 2016, Alex sold his company, Mtell to AspenTech for $38 million. Unlike most tech startups, Alex and his co-founder raised only $1m in funding and maintained ownership of the majority of the company. As part of the acquisition, Alex had to stay with AspenTech for two years. Now, he’s dedicating his life to driving AI tech forward. Alex wrote his book, “Augmented Mind: Al, Superhumans and the Next Economic Revolution”, he is an active angel investor, and he is a partner in AI incubator The Sandbox.


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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [3:10] Jeremy introduces his guest, Alex Bates.
  • [5:15] What is the difference between AI and IA? Where did Mtelligence come from?
  • [13:50] How did Alex and his team approach larger organizations?
  • [15:45] Alex talks about how the business grew. How did they choose which product to focus on?
  • [19:15] The highs and lows of a startup.
  • [21:30] Alex talks about the acquisition process and tips for making it succeed.
  • [25:30] What was the moment like when Alex decided to leave Aspen Technology?
  • [27:15] Alex talks about the AI projects he is working on with his incubator.
  • [33:15] What led Alex to write his book, “Augmented Mind?”
  • [35:30] Practical applications of augmented intelligence.
  • [37:00] Why intuition can make all the difference.
  • [39:25] How far away are we from prolific self-driving cars?
  • [43:15] Why Alex believes our economic model will soon be obsolete.
  • [44:45] Alex talks about getting into a “Flow state.”
  • [48:15] What is Alex’s favorite aspect of his book?
  • [51:30] Alex shares a low moment from his career.
  • [54:15] A proud moment from Alex’s career.

In this episode…

What goes into creating and then selling a tech startup? Where does a leader go after reaching that zenith of success? On this episode of Inspired Insider, you’ll hear from entrepreneur and innovator Alex Bates. In his conversation with Jeremy, Alex talks about where the idea for Mtell came from, how they were able to grow the company, what the acquisition process was like, why he loves working on AI, and much more. If you’ve ever wanted a peek inside the world of a tech startup, this is the episode for you. Don’t miss it!

If you were to script how a tech company would get started how would write it? Chances are, you probably wouldn’t come up with a story the like one Alex Bates shares. He happened to meet his business partner on a camping trip where the two hit it off and eventually decided to go into business together creating, Mtell. They dabbled with augmented reality for a brief period of time and then ultimately landed on their work bringing artificial intelligence and machine learning to the forefront of the industrial market. What can you learn from Alex’s story with Mtell?

How in the world does a tech startup like Mtell grab the attention and interest of big businesses like Exxon Mobil? As it turns out, it is about as challenging as it sounds! Alex and his team knew that they had something special with the idea and solutions they were coming up with at Mtell, but they struggled to get any businesses to take them seriously. Eventually, Alex would learn the secret; you can’t be a jack-all-trades; you’ve got to master one specific niche and build out from there. As challenging and frustrating as those early days were Alex, is thankful for all the lessons he has learned along the way.

As they built Mtell up, Alex and his business partner entertained offers from serious businesses and investors who wanted to acquire the tech startup. Unfortunately, many of the interested parties would get a close up look and then back out. Can you imagine what that type of experience does the morale of a business leader? Alex didn’t let the fail acquisitions keep him down; he stayed focused on growing the business and doing everything he could to add value. A little over ten years since its inception, Alex and his business partner were able to successfully sell Mtell in 2016 to Aspen Technology.

Where is the future of our society headed? Will AI and augmented tech end up taking over our lives or will we go in a different direction. Alex Bates is convinced that we will see more self-driving cars and other improvements become mainstream and accessible. When you hear from Alex, you really get the sense that he has a hopeful and optimistic view of the future. He even believes that our current economic model will soon be obsolete. You can go deeper with Alex’s perspectives and follow the work he invested in by visiting the link to his website located in the resources section.

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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