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Meet Marcelo Noronha: The brain behind Mr. Turing’s AI business assistant


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Meet Marcelo Noronha: The brain behind Mr. Turing’s AI business assistant

Meet Marcelo Noronha, the unstoppable force and brain behind Mr. Turing, an AI (artificial intelligence) business assistant revolutionizing how companies work with their data. In an increasingly AI-driven world, Mr. Turing is a true game-changer, providing companies with a powerful tool to unlock the full potential of their internal data to save time, knowledge and money. 

Like Alan Turing, the trailblazing mathematician and computer scientist who laid the foundation for modern computing and artificial intelligence by cracking the German Enigma code during World War II, Noronha is pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with AI.

What sets Mr. Turing apart from the competition is its unique ability to manage all of a company’s information in one place. With its innovative Alan technology, Mr. Turing helps companies process, interpret, and manage the knowledge generated from their internal data more effectively than ever before.

So, who is the mastermind behind Mr. Turing, and what inspired him to create it? We sat down with Noronha to discover his inspiration, the unique benefits of their AI-powered business assistant, Alan, and the measures they have put in place to safeguard sensitive information. If you’re interested in the intersection of entrepreneurship and AI, read on to uncover Noronha’s insights and discover the next big thing in business technology. 

What inspired you to build Mr.Turing? 

As a tech entrepreneur for 20+ years, all the companies I worked for used image processing for document management. However, every company had a gap in delivering value to its customers; we would process the documents but only deliver 20% of the value from all the information contained within them. This always bothered me because it was a lot of work for very little delivery. At the time, the technologies weren’t ready to process, interpret, and generate knowledge. When I came across the AI technique of Language Processing, I realized that this was where I could change the game.”

Tell us how your AI-powered business assistant (Alan) works.

Imagine needing information across different types of media: documents, videos, audio, websites, meeting minutes, and other sources. Now, imagine all of this scattered across multiple platforms within a company. How would you access and leverage it to improve your business processes? It would be practically an endless search, wouldn’t you agree?

This is the challenge we addressed with Alan, a tool that can manage and generate knowledge for companies, integrate with any system and process any type of media. After processing, interpreting and integrating where the information is, Alan is ready to respond naturally to the needs of those looking for information. And the best part of all of this is that this knowledge is secure within the company, so they can make informed decisions on how to use it.

How does Alan differ from other data management solutions on the market?

Our differential is the ability to manage all knowledge produced by company teams in a single platform, Alan. We can make connections between meeting videos, emails, projects, dialogues, and communication platforms.

With the increasing focus on data privacy and security, how do you ensure that Alan adheres to data protection standards? What measures have you put in place to safeguard sensitive information?

At Mr. Turing, we place great emphasis on data privacy and security. To ensure that we comply with data protection standards, we have implemented a range of measures to safeguard sensitive information. These include encryption, regular security audits, access controls, and user authentication. We are committed to staying up-to-date with evolving data privacy regulations and continuously improving our security practices to protect our users’ data.

How have you leveraged natural language processing to develop Alan? Can you walk us through your approach to training?

We utilized natural language processing (NLP) techniques and cutting-edge AI models to create Alan. Our methodology for training and refining the model involves several stages:

  • Data collection: We obtain a diverse set of data from multiple sources, including text, audio, and video content, to ensure a comprehensive understanding of a company’s information;
  • Data preprocessing: The collected data is cleaned and preprocessed to eliminate irrelevant or redundant information; 
  • Model training: The preprocessed data is employed to train our NLP models, with a focus on comprehending context, semantics, and relationships between different pieces of information; 
  • Fine-tuning: The trained models are refined using reinforcement learning techniques, which enable Alan to enhance its performance by adapting to the specific needs and preferences of each client; 
  • Evaluation and feedback: Alan’s performance is continually assessed against predefined benchmarks, and any insights gleaned from user feedback are utilized to further improve the model.

With the recent advances in natural language processing and conversational AI, how do you see your assistant evolving? Are there any new features or functionalities you’re excited to roll out?

The recent advancements brought by OpenAI with ChatGPT have given Mr. Turing the missing piece of the puzzle. We expected this to come around mid-2025, and it has been accelerated, which is great news!

We believe that we operate at the process layer of companies, with the capability of integrating, processing, and interpreting all the information that flows within them. With this, we can more precisely control what the conversational part of GPT models can synthesize without attempting to fabricate any information from non-existent data.

How do you balance the need for automation and efficiency with the importance of maintaining human oversight and control over data management processes?

Finding a middle ground between the need for automation and efficiency and the importance of maintaining human oversight and control is crucial. 

This can entail utilizing automation technologies such as Artificial Intelligence to boost the efficiency of data management processes while also keeping a check on human oversight and control to ensure the accuracy and quality of the managed data. 

Furthermore, it is crucial to ensure that data management processes are well-documented and that policies and procedures are adhered to consistently to uphold data integrity and regulatory compliance.

Can you discuss future plans or goals, such as expanding into new industries or integrating new technologies?

We plan to expand into new industries such as healthcare, finance, law, and education. To remain at the forefront of AI and NLP technologies, we are enhancing collaboration features, developing advanced personalization features, and incorporating environmentally-friendly strategies into our operations and product offerings.

What advice would you give an aspiring entrepreneur in the AI space?

No matter the industry, the first step is to assemble a strong team with a common purpose. Then, it’s important to understand that building AI applications requires time, effort, and a great deal of persistence. Success cannot be guaranteed simply by utilizing AI technology, and it’s crucial to be ready to adjust and improve your ideas as you progress, given the rapidly evolving nature of the field.

Ready to save your business time and money with Mr. Turing? Click here to discover more >

The DMZ’s News Roundup: What went down in May

Power up with DMZ’s News Roundup: a blog series dedicated to providing you with a quick look back on what went down in the Canadian startup and innovation ecosystem this past month.

We’ve got you covered with the most relevant news and notable wins from the ecosystem, DMZ updates and more.

Here’s a rundown of what went down.


New BDC report reveals a record-breaking 2021 for venture capital and private equity deals, while 2022 is expected to experience turbulence

A new BDC report revealed that 2021 was a shattering year for VC, with Canada breaking records by almost every metric. Canada saw a jump in domestic and international VC investing, with 752 deals made, representing $14.7 billion CAD. However, this past quarter, VC deal counts and the money behind private equity deals took a fall. Despite the forecasted challenges, BDC suspects that the startup economy and Canadian entrepreneurs are well-positioned to take them on.

Check out the full report here.

Neo Financial secures $185 million CAD in Series C funding, becomes the country’s newest Unicorn status company

Calgary-based Neo Financial closed their Theil-led Series C funding round, in which they raised $185 million CAD. This additional funding launched the company’s valuation to more than $1 billion CAD, making them the newest tech company to earn official unicorn status in the country. Neo Financial is an online bank bringing a low-fee alternative to the Canadian financial market, helping users save costs on spending and earn high interest on savings.

Learn more here.

Neo Financial becomes Calgary's latest $1 billion tech 'unicorn' | The Star


SPM solution provider, Forma.AI, is expanding platform development with $45 million CAD secured in Series B funding

DMZ alumni Forma.AI (Incubator ’18), a sales performance management solution provider, recently closed its Series B funding round. With the $45 million CAD secured in funding, they plan on expanding the marketing and development of their fintech platform.

Read more here.

Fable secured $10 million USD to make online accessibility a reality for disabled users

Fable (Incubator ’20), a Toronto-based startup that helps companies make digital products more usable by people with accessibility challenges, announced a $10.5 million USD round in venture capital funding to support the company’s growth. Alwar Pillai, CEO and Co-Founder of Fable, says the company is focusing on unlocking access to more clients by targeting large corporations’ digital teams to target their users.

Check it out here.

WBI-affiliated technology firm CyborgTech to acquire DMZ FinTech alumni Fortuna.AI

DMZ alumni Fortuna.AI (Incubator ’18) announced its acquisition from WBI-affiliated technology firm CyborgTech, home to robo advisory platform Cy, for an undisclosed amount. Fortuna.AI is an AI-powered platform helping financial services scale digital tools to get new clients in the marketing and advertising sector. Fortuna.AI was the winner of the DMZ-Bank of Montreal Fintech accelerator program.

Learn more here.


Introducing DMZ’s Pre-Incubator Fall 2022 cohort of cutting-edge tech companies

In a new DMZ blog, we welcome 13 up-and-coming tech companies into our new Pre-Incubator cohort. Hailing from across Canada, the United States, Brazil, Estonia and Africa, this new cohort is already hitting above their own weight in a diverse range of industries. Check out all the companies in our new Pre-Incubator cohort here.

Looking for more startup ecosystem news and DMZ updates? Subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter to stay in the know here.

The DMZ’s news roundup: What went down in April

Power up with the DMZ’s News Roundup. Our new blog series is dedicated to providing you with a quick look back on what went down in the Canadian startup and innovation ecosystem.

We’ve got you covered with the most relevant news and notable wins from the ecosystem, DMZ updates and more. 

Here’s a rundown of what went down in April. 


How the Federal budget will impact the startup and innovation economy

The federal government unveiled their long-awaited budget for 2022, which outlines a number of commitments for the Canadian tech and innovation economy. The first budget since the Liberal’s re-election last fall, the 2022 budget focuses on growing the Canadian economy while aiming to make everyday life more affordable. Big ticket commitments include a new innovation and investment agency, a growth fund to encourage private sector investments and a commitment to build a world-class intellectual property regime. 

Read more here.

Canadian innovation companies come to a halt on TSX

In the first quarter of 2022, there was not a single Canadian innovation company that went public via an initial public offering (IPO) on the Toronto Stock Exchange. 2021 saw a record breaking year for IPOs, with seven companies going public in the first quarter alone. 

Learn more here.

New report shares gender biases women founders face in raising capital

A recent study from the Conference Board of Canada found that compared to men, women take longer to raise Series A financing. Marie Chevrier Schwartz, Founder and CEO of Sampler (DMZV), shares her experiences raising capital and the gender bias she faced with Betakit.

Check out her interview here.


PocketHealth closes $20M CAD Series A financing to transform medical image access

PocketHealth (Incubator ‘18), a patient-centric medical image sharing platform, has secured $20M CAD in Series A funding led by healthcare venture capital firm Questa Capital. PocketHealth will be expanding its talent base, building U.S and Canadian clinical partnerships and invest in product innovation. 

Read more here.

U.S investors are pumping cash into Canadian enterprise tech startups

U.S venture-capital investors raised a record $13.6B USD last year in Canadian information-technology startups. In recent years, Google, Microsoft, Intel, and Uber have opened or expanded offices and research-and-development campuses in thriving tech hubs such as Toronto and Vancouver. In turn, this has fostered a homegrown pool of skilled tech workers that is becoming increasingly scarce in the U.S. More than half of all Toronto-area venture-capital deals have included at least one American investor.

Learn more here.


12 tech startups that are disrupting the Canadian tech ecosystem – Meet the DMZ’s Incubator spring cohort 

Out of hundreds of the high-calibre startup founders that applied from Canada and around the world, the DMZ has hand-picked 12 tech companies to join a new 18-month cohort in the Incubator. This cohort has startups joining from Vancouver, Canada to Budapest, Hungary, across diverse industries like logistics, insurtech, fintech, proptech, and more.

Check out the tech companies here

Looking for more startup ecosystem news and DMZ updates? Subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter to stay in the know here

The DMZ’s news roundup: What went down in March

Power up with the DMZ’s News Roundup. Our new blog series is dedicated to providing you with a quick look back on what went down in the Canadian startup and innovation ecosystem this past month.

We’ve got you covered with the most relevant news, notable ecosystem wins, DMZ updates and more. 

Here’s a rundown of what went down.


New BDC report reveals Canadian tech sector driving growth across the economy and expects tech sector revenue to grow by 22% by 2024

The Canadian tech sector is driving growth across the economy. Experts are expecting tech sector revenue to grow by 22% by 2024. A new BDC report states that growth in the tech sector is expected to be 5.3% in 2022, and growth for the 2021-24 period is expected to be 22.4%. 

Read more here.

Export Development Canada makes pandemic investment program permanent for small- and medium-sized businesses

Export Development Canada (EDC) is making its investment matching program permanent after it was first launched as an emergency pandemic measure. The program provides up to $5-million in capital for companies that are raising funds from private investors. So far, EDC has invested $223-million in 82 companies through the program. Moreover, it aims to build a portfolio worth up to $500-million. 

Learn more here.

Canadian flag in the sky

“Y Combinator on steroids” – New security-focused tech fund

Glenn Cowan, a former member of Canada’s elite special operations unit, Joint Task Force 2, and Shopify co-founder Daniel Weinand launched a new venture capital fund aimed at financing national security startups. Cowan led high-risk military missions across the globe and recognized that special force units are the breeding grounds for new security related technologies, and are comparable to US accelerator Y Combinator. 

One9 Venture Partners launched its Special Mission Fund I, which is focused on national security and infrastructure. 

Read more here


Vancouver-based tech recruiter, VanHack, is supporting Ukrainian tech talent

DMZ alumni VanHack (Accelerator ‘18) is helping tech professionals from Ukraine find work. A global leader in tech recruitment, VanHack is waiving its placement fee for all Ukrainian tech hires. Plus, they are encouraging employers to donate to verified Ukrainian-based charities in lieu of its placement fees. 

Read more here.

Vanhack founder - Ilya Brotzky

Virtual Gurus Secured $8.4 Million CAD to Grow Virtual Assistant Marketplace Across North America

Virtual Gurus announced a $8.4 million CAD Series A and non-dilutive funding round to support the company’s growth. The company is a virtual assistant marketplace that focuses on supporting underrepresented individuals who have been historically overlooked for quality jobs.

Additionally, Founder and CEO Bobbie Racette is one of the first Indigenous women from the Canadian startup ecosystem to successfully raise a Series A round.

Check it out here.

Proptech startup iRestify raised $6 million CAD and announced its expansion into the United States

DMZ alumni iRestify (Incubator ‘17) announced a $6 million CAD raise to pursue expansion plans in the United States. The all-in-one technology-driven solution for building maintenance management has been adopted by Canadian property management brands Minto and Canadian Urban. 

After a successful soft launch in New York, Co-Founders Erifili Morfidis and Charlotte Gummesson are excited for further growth. 

Learn more here.


The DMZ revealed inaugural award recipients of DMZ’s Women of the Year

All of DMZ's Winners of the year headshots for 2022
In celebration of International Women’s Day,
the DMZ unveiled the inaugural winners of our highly anticipated annual award: DMZ’s Women of the Year. Launched this year, the award honours inspirational women in Canada’s tech and business community and highlight their outstanding accomplishments and contributions to creating impact.

Check out all award winners here

Looking for more startup ecosystem news and DMZ updates? Subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter to stay in the know here.

NFTs for dummies: The hype, explained.

NFTs have taken the world by storm. And while celebrities like Snoop Dog, Paris Hilton, Eminem and Emily Ratajkowski have embraced the NFT marketplace with open arms, you may still be asking yourself what the heck is a NFT?

Don’t worry — we are right there with you. 

NFTs have exploded in popularity, but there’s a lot of confusion around what they actually are. 

We thought we’d give a breakdown of what NFTs are, so our community can get in on the craze.

So, what in the world is a NFT?

NFTs, which stands for non-fungible tokens, are stored and secured on the public blockchain. They are unique tokens that cannot be changed, modified or destroyed. 

This means it’s a unique transaction that can’t be replaced with something else. Whereas fungible transactions are interchangeable, meaning you are trading money for the value of something. 

A prime example of a fungible transaction is when you purchase coffee. You pay a barista $4, and you get your latte. 

Non-fungible transactions are like sport trades. The Toronto Raptors traded DeMar DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard in 2018, which led to Toronto’s first-ever NBA title. The trade was a one-of-a-kind transaction. 

A computer screen with two people working at it

Where to start.

In order to do anything in the NFT realm, you’ll need to set up a few things: 

  • Crypto wallet: A crypto wallet will allow you to interact with the Ethereum blockchain. There are a ton of Ethereum wallets to choose from, but MetaMask is one of the most widely used wallets.
  • Cryptocurrency: There are a variety of different currencies that exist, and you’ll need to buy them to make transactions. For example, you can easily buy Ethereum directly within MetaMask, or through crypto-exchanges such as Coinbase
  • Marketplace: An NFT marketplace is the only place where you can store, buy and sell your NFTs. The most popular marketplace today is OpenSea. OpenSea also offers an easy process to create your own NFT, which is called “minting”. 

Once you’re set up with a crypto wallet, you’ll need to connect it to your marketplace. Think of this as setting up a credit card on your Uber Eats account.

What kind of NFTs should you buy?

That is completely up to you! NFTs are unique digital assets that you own, so think of it the same way you would a physical collectors item like art or a trading card — just in the digital economy. 

Types of NFTs you can buy include art, GIFs, sports highlights, video game skins and more. 

What do you do with a NFT after you buy it?

Again, that is entirely up to you! Just like you would collect art throughout your lifetime, you can collect NFTs to support creatives.

Some people will hold onto NFTs for potential long-term growth to turn a profit, whereas others actively trade NFTs to take advantage of price fluctuations. 

There’s no right or wrong answer here.

An image of the NFT collection Bored Ape Yacht Club

How much can NFTs go for?

In 2021 the NFT market grew exponentially, with trade volume at nearly $25 billion — up from $95 million in 2020. 

To put it into perspective, a popular NFT collection called the Bored Ape Yacht Club costs about 100 Etherum or over $400,000 CAD today. 

However, just a few short months ago you’d only be paying around 1 Ethereum for the NFT. Of course this is one of the space’s fastest-growing NFT collectibles, but nonetheless gives you an idea into just how much a NFT could be worth.

The future of NFTs

While many believe it’s only a matter of time before the NFT bubble pops, they’re certainly here to stay. Use cases for NFTs go far beyond just digital art and video games, and can translate to legal contracts, proof of ownership, licensing, certifying authenticity and much more.

For example, NFTS can be used for music royalties. Artists could generate royalties whenever their NFTs are traded, sold or bought and regain control over the value of their music. It’s safe to say that as our world becomes increasingly digitized, the need for digital ownership will be a growing need — a growing need NFTs can support.  

Ready to dive into NFTs?

Check out the DMZ’s Instagram to participate in our giveaway contest! 

We’re giving away 2 NFTs minted from a one-of-a-kind piece of artwork that was given to us from our partners at LAPSE Productions and created by Dreamdoodle.

Members of the LAPSE team gifting the NFT to the DMZ
Dario Nouri and Kyrill Lazarov, Co-Founders of LAPSE Productions, presenting their gift to Abdullah Snobar, the Executive Director of the DMZ, and Natasha Campagna, the Director of Marketing and Communications at the DMZ.

You can check out Dreamdoodle’s piece on OpenSea here