Yactraq's passion for innovation and pushing the limits of technology is tempered by a practical sense of how technology can be applied to build better businesses and drive their success. Our team’s love of technology is born out of our diverse and comprehensive backgrounds in science and engineering, and our drive to build sustainable businesses stems from our shared entrepreneurial spirit.
At the heart of Yactraq is a fascination with artificial intelligence, and how AI can be utilized to evolve businesses to greater levels of success while helping them provide ever better products to their customers. At Yactraq, we are all fundamentally geeks (comes with the territory), but we are also business pragmatists who understand the needs of businesses large and small, and we specialize in providing custom solutions to help your business get to where you want it to be.
As for our team, walking into a Yaqtraq conversation can land you in a discussion ranging anywhere from natural language processing and machine learning to quantum mechanics or black holes. Yeah, we might be geeks, but we are a fun bunch that is dedicated to pushing the boundaries of technology and having a good time while doing so. Please take a moment to learn more about our team below and drop us a line if you have any questions.
Jeh Daruvala - Founder & CEOJeh has 22 years of entrepreneurial, investment banking, product management and business/systems analysis experience in information technology at startups, Microsoft, T-Mobile, TELUS, Avendus Advisors, Gateway Capital. Before migrating to Canada in 2002, Jeh played a key role in incubating Customer Asset, an India based IT infrastructure services venture that evolved into the $300 million, Firstsource Solutions. While working on Delsys, his first startup, Jeh sold the first-ever ethernet switch in India (Cisco).
Jeh has a Masters in Management Studies (Finance) & a Bachelors in Engineering (Electronics) from Bombay University. He is also a lifelong manned spaceflight enthusiast and believer in technology innovation as the key driver of corporate and economic growth.
Leland Huss - Chief Marketing OfficerLeland is our CMO and head of business strategy. His capabilities across various functions including product strategy, marketing, finance, business development, and technology make him a key member of Yactraq's business team. Leland's most recent role as Director of Commercial Strategy at Pandora equips him with key insights into the needs of fast growing media & advertising businesses. His overall experience over the last decade includes finance and strategy roles at Salesforce, Blackrock, and Barclays Global Investors. Leland has an undergraduate degree in Astrophysics from Berkeley and a MBA in Finance from Cal State East Bay.
Pat Pattabhiraman - VP of Research & DevelopmentDr. Pat has extensive experience in Natural Language Processing and Speech Technology, in both academic- and industrial environments. At Conversay, Dr. Pattabhiraman led teams of speech engineers and computational linguists, contributing to the design and development of major components of speech recognition and text-to-speech systems in 20 languages. His efforts resulted in commercial products deployed on over 8 million devices. At Seagate Software (now SAP Canada) in Vancouver, he architected a natural language interface to Crystal Reports and developed several of its major modules.
He also has substantial R&D experience in text analysis, natural language generation, automated translation, and design of development environments for large-scale NLP systems. He has published and presented in major conferences, guest edited two special issues of Computational Intelligence Journal on Natural Language Generation, and has served as paper reviewer, thesis examiner and conference committee member regularly.
Dr. Pattabhiraman has a BS in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, and a Ph.D. in Computing Science from Simon Fraser University. His Ph.D. dissertation is used as reading material in a graduate course at the University of Strasbourg.
Lee Iverson - VP of TechnologyDr. Lee is our VP- Technology. His work includes 8 years at SRI International in the AIC on Computer Vision, Computer Graphics and GIS systems where he helped build TerraVision and was one of the principals behind SRI’s attempted creation of the GeoWeb infrastructure. Lee was also Assistant Professor in Software Engineering (Dept. of Electrical & Computer Engineering) at the University of British Columbia (UBC). His work at UBC included research in online privacy, web engineering and CSCW. He also taught Computer Graphics, CSCW, and various other Software Engineering courses as well as the final year group project course. As Founder & Chief Scientist at Crowdtrust Technologies Inc, Lee worked on revolutionizing personal and social information management.
Lee has a PhD in Electrical Engineering from McGill (Computer Vision) and received his MEng and PhD working in Steve Zucker’s lab at the Centre for Intelligent Machines. His research focused on brain-inspired low-level vision algorithms. Lee’s PhD thesis was given the DW Ambridge Award as the outstanding PhD thesis in Science and Engineering in 1994. Lee also holds an undergrad degree in engineering from Princeton University.
Eric Benhamou - AdvisorChairman - Cypress Semiconductor, Board Member - Silicon Valley Bank and CEO - Benhamou Global Ventures. Eric earlier served as Chairman & CEO - 3Com, Chairman - Palm and on the board of Real Networks.
His past & present engagement with academia includes Vice Chair at Ben Gurion University & teaching at INSEAD & IDC, Herzeliya. His philanthropic activities include Chairing the Israel Venture Network. Eric has a masters in electrical engineering from Stanford.
Alex Rudnicky - Technical AdvisorDr. Rudnicky, a Research Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, has over 30 years of experience in speech recognition, dialog systems, artificial intelligence and Human-Robot Interaction (HRI). He has contributed to the CMU Sphinx and to the Ravenclaw Olympus toolkit.
Deborah Dahl - AdvisorDeborah Dahl has over 25 years of experience in speech and natural language technologies, including working on research, defense, and commercial systems. She is also active in speech and multimodal standards activities in the World Wide Web Consortium, serving as Chair of the Multimodal Interaction Working Group. She is an editor of the EMMA (Extensible MultiModal Annotation specification).
Dr. Dahl received the prestigious "Speech Luminary" award from Speech Technology Magazine, in 2012 and 2014. Her academic background includes post-doctoral studies in Cognitive Science at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Minnesota.
Subhash Bal - AdvisorA veteran silicon valley entrepreneur, with huge start-up experience, Subhash held senior marketing and sales positions in multibillion-dollar US organizations (e.g. Synopsys, Rockwell, 3Com, PMC-Sierra, National Semiconductor).
Executive positions were held at startups: Excelan, SwitchOn Networks, Micom communications, Teradiant networks, Touch Communications, India West. The exits in these included IPO or acquisitions.
Subhash actively mentors startup entrepreneurs in India and North America & also volunteers his time as an educator. His academic background includes engineering and business degrees from IIT, Carnegie Mellon University & University of Santa Clara.
Mangesh Mahajan - AdvisorFormerly COO/CPO at Yactraq, Mangesh currently advises us on business and technology strategy. Prior to Yactraq, Mangesh successfully built and exited from a communications security business, which he grew from 2 to 260 people.
He has also handled engineering strategy, design and architecture for Quants. He holds a BS/MS in Quantum Chemistry from IIT, Bombay and a MS from the London School of Economics.