Kevin Dewalt with Prolego is still finding ways to be amazed at the magic of technology.
A 20+ year veteran of the startup world, Dewalt has found success as the co-founder of Prolego, a company recently joining the ranks of the Inc. 5000 list. The company works to implement artificial intelligence (AI) solutions within large companies. Their homepage says “Let’s build a future where AI is the default operating system of your business.” But what does that really mean?
“We’re going to start offloading a lot of the tasks that people have traditionally done,” Dewalt says. “We’re going to be offloading that to computers to do for us so that we can begin to do other things. It’s going to radically change how almost every industry works.”
He believes that continued investments in AI infrastructure are what brought us to the fourth wave of how we use computers.
“If you look at the last 50 years, computers have really done three things for us,” Dewalt says. “They’ve helped us work more efficiently, communicate more effectively and automate manual activities that people have previously done.”
“We’re now entering the fourth wave of how we’re going to use computers,” he says. “We’re going to start asking computers to begin thinking for us.”
Cue the images of red-eyed T-9000’s stomping through a wasteland in Terminator. But this AI is a little different.
“The robots aren’t replacing people,” Dewalt says. “We’ve been a man-machine society for centuries.”
He adds, “A lot of the things that we’re automating are the robotic activities of people. Robots aren’t replacing people, rather they’re replacing the robotic things that people do. It will free them up to do other tasks.”
Prolego primarily sells its services to executives at large companies that want to start implementing AI or hope to get better at their AI investments.
Dewalt admits that this demographic is incredibly difficult to find. Sales cycles can take up to two years. But he’s resilient. After all, this isn’t his first venture.
“This is my 5th or 6th startup I’ve founded,” he says. “Honestly, I’ve lost track of how many.”
He continues, “I had tried a machine learning startup with a friend of mine. What we found was that the product wasn’t very good, the market wasn’t ready for it, nobody cared, and it wasn’t really solving a real problem. But when I was out talking to executives of companies about the product, they nicely said, ‘We don’t care about your crappy product, but…tell us about this AI thing.’”
Dewalt is excited at some of the creative ways AI has been used in modern-day tools. He references DALL-E, the AI-driven platform that creates images based on text submissions.
“It’s the closest thing to magic I’ve ever seen,” he says.
It’s an interesting time to get into AI in the state of Georgia. The state is expecting to see tens of thousands of new jobs through a recent federal grant totaling $65 million. The move comes from President Biden’s recent $1 billion initiative to increase tech manufacturing and renewable energy throughout the States.
Dewalt is confident about Prolego’s future and the future of AI. He sees long-term success with a good pipeline of clients for a fully remote company.
“I know what their biggest problem is,” he says. “And I know how to solve it.”