Nylas CTO Christine Spang talks about how businesses are leveraging machine learning and conversational AI to stay competitive.
Nylas is a developer API platform that helps build productivity features directly into applications. Earlier this year, the company raised $120m in Series C funding led by Tiger Global. The round also featured individual investments from some notable entrepreneurs, including Stripe co-founders Patrick and John Collison.
APIs are used by many businesses as a way to integrate complex functionality into their platforms. Founded in 2015, Nylas started with email and scheduling APIs but has since expanded into security, automation, intelligence and UI/UX.
Earlier this month, the company announced plans to expand its operations across Europe. While it operates with a remote-first workforce, the company has offices in London and Amsterdam and may add more locations in Europe as part of its expansion.
Christine Spang is the co-founder and CTO at Nylas, where she leads the company’s technical strategy and the development of productivity-driven products and experiences for software developers and technical teams. She spends a lot of her time strategising about the future of software and how Nylas can lean into existing and emerging trends and applications in order to push the platform forward.
Prior to founding Nylas, she was a principal developer at Ksplice and Oracle, where she focused on back-end systems. Spang is also a strong advocate for diversity within the tech community through organisations such as Lesbians Who Tech, DevColor, and Women Who Code. She holds a degree in computer science from MIT.
‘Digital transformation goes beyond assessing day-to-day operations, it is a culture shift’
– CHRISTINE SPANG
Are you spearheading any major product or IT initiatives you can tell us about?
While there are numerous exciting projects going on right now at Nylas, one that is tremendously exciting is the adoption of our Neural API and how our customers are leveraging machine learning and conversational AI.
We are seeing that through our Neural API, businesses are leveraging automation to build better, more intelligent workflows that are freeing up their employees and teams to focus on projects of greater impact and importance.
How big is your team?
Nylas is more than 200 people across numerous locations, countries and continents. Our engineering team recently surpassed 100 people. We look to outsource when appropriate. Whether that is for specific projects or through unique integrations, we have found that the combination of outsourcing and automation combined with hiring great people has been a core component of our ability to ship products, features and services faster without compromising on quality.
What are your thoughts on digital transformation and how are you addressing it?
Digital transformation is the process of fundamentally reshaping your business through the use of digital tools, technology and processes. Digital transformation goes beyond assessing day-to-day operations, it is a culture shift.
It is rethinking business interactions for both employees and customers and identifying where and how to infuse modern technology into those processes. Over the next decade, advancement in AI/machine learning will drive massive efficiency, making this transformation absolutely necessary to stay competitive.
What big tech trends do you believe are changing the world?
Companies are increasingly viewing AI and automation not as a way to replace humans, but as a way to support them and help them be more productive and efficient in their roles. This will involve leveraging AI and automation to more efficiently access and structure data, giving humans the ability to surface real-time information in order to more productively complete tasks.
Companies will also increasingly look to build automated workflows that can remove humans from administrative tasks such as inputting information, downloading attachments, setting up meetings etc, allowing them to focus on more high-touch and critical issues.
In terms of security, what are your thoughts on how we can better protect data?
As software becomes more complex, automation becomes table stakes not just for building features, but for security as well. And while there are numerous compliance-as-a-service options available that can dramatically accelerate security and compliance, security starts and ends with people.
Training and educating employees on how to identify and report suspicious behaviour is the best way to mitigate risks and avoid sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands.
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