GIST TechConnect: Utilizing Artificial Intelligence to Advance Your Startup


Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the ability of a digital computer to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings, such as rational ability to reason, discover meaning, and learning from past experience. AI has promised so much but is it delivering for everyone? Big corporations have been leveraging AI to great benefit, but how can smaller companies and especially early-stage startups benefit from the AI revolution? In this discussion, we'll explore areas where AI is being well-utilized to garner large returns—such as fintech and health tech. We will also look at how idea- and early-stage startups can integrate AI into their business canvas to bootstrap and grow more effectively.

Originally broadcast 17 November, 2020.


Lakisha Hall
Director, Transformation and Strategy at IBM
Lakisha R. S. Hall is Director of the Transformation and Strategy for IBM’s Financial Services Sector (FSS), Global Markets team.  Her team is responsible for the transformation, integration and management of a multi-billion dollar portfolio that includes IBM’s Integrated Accounts for FSS. Formerly, Lakisha was the Director of Delivery in North America for the newly-formed Data and AI Expert Labs and Learning organization.  Her team was responsible for the execution and implementation of solutions and services for a combined Data and AI portfolio.  

Fraser Kitchell 
Co-founder and CEO, KEF Robotics
Fraser serves as the CEO of KEF Robotics (, where he leads the company's corporate strategy and business development.  KEF develops autonomy for aerial platforms for applications in defense and commercial aerospace.  The company qualified in first place in the Lockheed Martin AlphaPilot competition in 2019, and is developing technologies with NASA and numerous DOD groups, including DTRA, Air Force, SOCOM and the Army.  In his prior role at Astrobotic Technology, Inc., Fraser founded and led the company's Research and Development group to notable successes including a $10M NASA Tipping Point award and commercial contracts with Bosch Research and Moog Space and Defense.

Vishal Kapur
Principal, Deloitte’s Strategy and Analytics practice
Vishal Kapur is a principal in Deloitte’s Strategy and Analytics practice and has consulted with several large public sector agencies and commercial organizations for more than 20 years. He has extensive experience in leading large-scale business transformations using information-driven solutions that span advanced analytics, cognitive computing, text mining, applied data science, and large-scale data management disciplines. Kapur received a master’s degree in mathematics and computer science from the Indian Institute of Technology.



Richie Bavasso, MBA
Co-founder and CEO, Medical Inc
Richie Bavasso is CEO and co-founder of nQ Medical Inc, a machine learning computational biomarker company leveraging personal devices to manage neuromotor diseases. nQ builds powerful, AI solutions to support the continuum of neurological health. He is also Senior Executive Consultant, Digital Health and MedTech, Americas, for Scottish Development International. In this role, he supports the Scotland Government advising and assisting Scottish life sciences, MedTech, and digital health start-ups with expansion into the US market. He also works with Fortune 500 US- based life sciences companies interested in expanding their footprint in the Scottish market and seeking to promote better and more productive UK-US collaborations. 


About GIST TechConnect

GIST TechConnects provide entrepreneurs around the world with direct access to leading U.S. experts from business and academia, but without the travel and other related costs. Young science and technology entrepreneurs can engage with experts and the larger GIST community to learn about best business practices and startup resources.

  • GIST TechConnects are live webinars in which a panel of experts and thought-leaders discuss topics of importance to early-stage, science and technology innovators from across the globe.  
  • Viewers of TechConnects can ask questions directly to the panel of speakers through an accompanying chat-space next to the TechConnect video.
  • TechConnects are regularly live-translated into French and Spanish to ensure that viewers from across the globe can engage and benefit from the program.
  • GIST TechConnects provides entrepreneurs around the world with direct access to leading U.S. experts from business and academia, but without the travel and other related costs. 
  • Young science and technology entrepreneurs can engage with experts and the larger GIST community to learn about best business practices and startup resources.
  • In addition to the panel of experts answering questions, there is a Chatspace Expert responding to all questions and comments made in the chatspace - providing insights, sharing critical resources, and enabling conversation among innovators across the globe.


Why you should host a viewing group and promote the TC’s to your network:

  • Increased Knowledge: Innovators from across the globe get unparalleled access to experts to answer their burning questions about building and growing a startup. From how to raise an investment, to understanding marketing best practices, innovators can gain important insights and knowledge.
  • Connecting to broader GIST network: You’ll be able to connect to the broader global GIST network and get access to additional resources, such as GIST Pitch Competitions, GIST Startup Trainings, and access to the entire GIST TechConnect video library.
  • Engaging your local ecosystem: Hosting a viewing group is also a great opportunity to engage your community's innovators--viewing groups often host a local speaker series or event in tandem with the GIST TechConnect, to capitalize on having all of your innovators together.
  • Exposure to GIST community: Photos of viewing groups are highlighted at the end of each live TechConnect, which is watched by viewers across the globe.


If you plan to host a viewing group please contact Genesis Lodise who will guide you through the TechConnect hosting best practices.

If you have questions about GIST programming please send us an email at [email protected].


Watch past online programs here.


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