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CEO Paul Kruszewski (centre) with the wrnch team
CEO Paul Kruszewski (centre) with the wrnch team

Get to Know Cohort 5: wrnch

wrnch is a Montréal-based AI software company that enables computers to see, understand, and respond to humans the same way that people do. Its flagship product, the wrnchAI platform, processes digital images from cameras and videos using deep learning models to detect humans in images, recognize skeletons and shapes, understand motion and gestures, and deliver results so that computers can respond rapidly to what is seen. Founder and CEO Dr. Paul Kruszewski and his team are participating in Cohort 5 of the Lazaridis ScaleUp Program.

 

Lazaridis Institute: How did wrnch get started?

Paul Kruszewski: I had just exited my second company and was ready to start something new. I was waiting for a friend at a restaurant when I saw another friend in this deep conversation with two other people. The people he was talking with were Helge Seetzen and Émilie Boutrous from TandemLaunch. Helge had this piece of image processing IP that he wanted to productize and I wanted to learn about image processing because I knew a lot about computer graphics. Two years later, we successfully sold off that tech. But during that time in the TandemLaunch incubator, I realized that everything that happened in the last 30 years of computer graphics would repeat itself in the next five years in computer vision. This represented a huge opportunity to build a company that delivered a state-of-the-art computer vision engine. The rest is history.

 

LI: As CEO, what is do you enjoy most about building a company?

PK: First off, I love tech. I love building things. I love making pixel magic. I love the feeling when you build something that blows people’s mind with wonder and delight. As I’ve gotten older, the thing I appreciate is the joy of playing with a great team. I give a lot of credit to Chayfe Nemri [wrnch COO] for this. Computer scientists are some of the most individualistic creatures on the planet, but when you’re part of a team and everything is working together, it’s unexpectedly joyful.

 

LI: What milestone achieved by wrnch are you most proud of?

PK: AI has so much hype. At wrnch, we are laser-focused on democratizing AI by commercializing AI products. I am most proud that we are shipping product and that we have customers and revenue. These are huge milestones.

 

LI: What motivated you to apply to the Lazaridis ScaleUp Program and what do you hope to get out of the experience?

PK: I grew up in Alberta on a farm. The attitude there is to do it yourself and “git’er done” – often with mixed results. I used to think getting help was a sign of weakness. Now I realize it’s a sign of intelligence. Here we are, looking at scaling to 100 people and it’s hard. Why wouldn’t we want all the help we can get?

 

LI: Which program weekend are you most looking forward to and why?

PK: As CEO, you’re responsible for deep diving into everything with your team and not being afraid. I am approaching the ScaleUp Program as an opportunity to gain valuable insight from a great intellectual enterprise. I am getting a PhD in scaleup. As far as I am concerned, I am looking forward to every program weekend.

 

LI: What’s the best part about being located in Montréal?

PK: Montréal is made up of a diverse group of humanity including acrobats from Cirque du Soleil, AI researchers at Mila, and hard-core video game programmers. It’s both hyper-creative and hyper-deep tech. For wrnch, which exists at this intersection between computer graphics and AI, I can’t imagine a better city to be.

Learn more about the Lazaridis ScaleUp Program.

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