Engineering Spotlight: Neurala
Neurala's roots are deep in the world of AI. They are the creators of the Neurala Brain, which is deep learning neural network software for smart products like cameras, robots, drones, toys, and cars.
Neurala’s VP of Engineering, Vesa Tormanen, connected with us to discuss the company's complex technology, along with the details on what their engineering team is working on. Plus, he shares some information on what a potential employee can expect during the interview process and more.
Interested in joining Neurala's engineering team? Click here to see job openings in all of their departments, engineering included!
Quick Hit Details
Year Founded: 2006
Number of employees: 41
Number of engineers: 16
Industry: Artificial Intelligence
Can you share a summary on what Neurala does?
Between them, our three founders have four PhDs, 19 patents, and decades of experience working together to create groundbreaking AI. It started in a coffee shop in 2006: Max Versace said to Anatoli Gorchet, “Someday we’ll be able to run these models on a cell phone.” Anatoli promptly spit out his coffee. Just a few short years later, we created The Neurala Brain - our award-winning and patented AI technology that can run on the edge and on the lightest of devices. It’s based on advanced research work that co-founders, Max, Anatoli, and Heather Ames, conducted for NASA, DARPA and the Air Force Research Labs.
In 2013, Neurala emerged from stealth mode and joined the Techstars program to deploy our AI at a commercial scale. Now, we work with some of the most innovative companies in the world to bring intelligence to products and devices as diverse as drones and smartphones. We are harnessing the power of the brain to find solutions to problems that change the world in meaningful ways. Neurala’s groundbreaking technology has been hailed one of the most innovative in the world by several organizations, including Draper Ventures, CB Insights, the Edison Awards, Netexplo / UNESCO, Softech INTL, AUVSI, BostInno, and MassTLC.
What are some of the different technologies that the engineering team gets to work with and at what scale?
Most prominently, deep learning. For example, recognition, object detection, segmentation. Embedded throughout our technology is our signature Lifelong AI. We also have a team dedicated to web development, infrastructure for our deep learning SaaS platform, Brain Builder.
We also have a team dedicated to front end development, infrastructure for our SaaS product.
What are some of the interesting projects that the engineering team is tackling?
Brain Builder and Lifelong-DNN.
Does your engineering team have a chance to work on projects outside of their day-to-day responsibilities?
People do work on open source projects. Some experiment with things we don’t have a specific use for at this point, but they have an interest in. These projects and ideas are usually explored during tech lunches and reading groups.
What is the culture like at Neurala for the engineering team?
Pretty chill, laid back and open; you’re encouraged to throw your ideas out there to see if they stick. There’s no hierarchy; you can talk to anyone you want. Ideas are taken seriously from anyone at any level. My team doesn’t have to go up channels to talk to marketing or product teams.
What can a potential employee expect during the interview process?
The very first thing is whether someone fits into one of the domains we work in, whether it’s a vertical or another domain we work on. They should be very thorough with their resume because that’s what most questions are based on. Coding challenges -- not google-like, we don’t have 10, sometimes on the spot, sometimes offline. Furthermore, we look for a cultural fit with the company. An exceptional candidate should also be prepared to present any interesting projects that they have done. And of course, we want to know what sorts of things they do outside of work.
Are you involved in any local tech organizations or Meetups?
We are involved in Venture Cafe, Meetups ad hoc.
Rapid Fire Q&A
What’s on tap?
Neurala’s own beer, brewed right downstairs at Hopsters.
Star Wars or Star Trek?
iPhone or Android?
Coffee - hot or iced?
Favorite employee perk?
What TV show describes the engineering team’s culture?
Parks and Recreation -- “We may not be as big as Eagleton, but we still pack a punch.”
What music is playing in your office?
Cleanest desk / Messiest desk (photos):
Olivia Stork graduated from Boston University with a degree in electrical engineering and has since worked within the tech sphere. She’s exceptional when it comes to programming languages such as Verilog & C++. Aside from her time at Neurala, Olivia has worked on several other fascinating projects such as augmented reality Monopoly and different Android game apps.
Abhishek Gaur graduated from Boston University with a degree in computer engineering. Today, Abhishek works as a Deep Learning engineer at Neurala and he, as he puts it, “Mimics human brains for bots.” Prior to his time at Neurala, Abhishek worked at Boston University, HARMAN International and Infosys.
Images courtesy of Neurala