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Former Yahoo and Netflix executive joins South African startup board

December 14, 2017 • People, Southern Africa, Startups, Top Stories

Former Yahoo and Netflix executive joins South African startup board

John Robison joins the Xineoh board.

On Wednesday 13 December 2017, South African startup, Xineoh, who developed a new type of machine learning recommendation engine, announced the appointment of ‘tech giant’, John Robison, to its board of directors.

Robison is a senior executive leader with many years of expertise in rapid growth and scalability of technology solutions. He has filled top positions in some of the world biggest tech companies as he was the VP of Engineering at Yahoo, Director of Engineering at Netflix and CTO of Move, Inc, the operator of Realtor.com. Robison will officially join the Xineoh board of directors after its annual general meeting that is scheduled for December 15, 2017.

Vian Chinner, Xineoh CEO, first became acquainted with Robison when Chinner co-founded a tech start-up funded by Move Inc, where Robison was CTO. “As an experienced senior executive leader with an emphasis on agile results-oriented product delivery and strategic business execution in high-growth web and mobile environments, Robison’s appointment will support Xineoh’s local and international growth. His guidance and expertise will be of utmost importance in ensuring that Xineoh’s recommendations as a service solution can scale with the demands of rapid market uptake,” said Chinner.

Xineoh developed a machine learning algorithm that the company believes is the best available generalisable recommendation engine on the market, a product the team worked on for over a year. The company believes that it has proven that the algorithm works in every vertical as  its test results demonstrate that it is significantly outperforming the competition. According to Chinner, the difference between what they developed versus that of their closest competitors, is that they created an algorithm that not only thinks like a human (and learns as it runs), but it can work in almost any type of industry. Xineoh has already proven its capability in e-commerce, mortgage lending and real estate. It will now showcase this algorithm in its latest project, VideoLlama.com, where people are matched to movies and television shows in an entirely new way.

While VideoLlama is a project to reveal its algorithm in streaming video, the company is now also licensing its technology to other companies as well. The value of accurate recommendations is well known in many business sectors, Amazon and Netflix are good examples. It is estimated that around 35% of Amazon’s sales are generated as a result of their recommendations, while Netflix estimates that their recommendation algorithm is worth $1 billion to them every year. Xineoh is now licensing its algorithm to businesses of all sizes in an attempt to democratise AI by making the power of recommendations more accessible to all businesses.

Edited by Dean Workman
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