Startup Of The Week

Startup Of The Week: Canvass AI

Canvass AI, a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Innovators community, uses AI and low code/no code technology to help industrial engineers to build and scale AI across their operations to optimize processes, reduce waste, and cut their company’s CO2 emissions. Funded by Yamaha Motor Ventures and Alphabet’s Gradient Ventures, Canvass’s customers include corporates in the automotive, chemicals, energy, food and beverage, and metals and mining sectors globally.  

“Our technology is purpose built to empower industrial sector engineers on the plant floor to have an impact on the day-today operations and on the sustainability side,” says founder and CEO Humera Malik. “We focus on three core areas: aiding the engineers to work on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and optimizing the use of water and energy so that there is less consumption. We want to empower every engineer on the plant floor to have an impact on climate change.”

The idea is to serve as a blueprint for day-today problem solving. “We give engineers a voice and a platform,” says Malik.

Canvass, which is based in Ontario, Canada, promises to help companies deploy AI on the plant floor withing 60 days but Malik cautions that change management is an important part of the equation. It “requires a process of engagement,” she says.” If there is no key decision maker supporting the AI project that is part of the engineering team then adoption will not get off the ground,” she says. Employees need to be trained and companies need to decide who are the people who should be part of the necessary change management.

Canvass has so far been involved in over 50 different AI projects. “Optimization does not happen in 60 days,” says Malik. “Our 60-day program is a way to get started, identify areas, do rapid experimentation and learn from that, and then decide what are the areas where you can make a change and prove there is value.”

The six-year-old company’s competitors include big players such as C3 ai, DataRobot and traditional industrial data platforms for control systems.

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About the author

Jennifer L. Schenker

Jennifer L. Schenker, an award-winning journalist, has been covering the global tech industry from Europe since 1985, working full-time, at various points in her career for the Wall Street Journal Europe, Time Magazine, International Herald Tribune, Red Herring and BusinessWeek. She is currently the editor-in-chief of The Innovator, an English-language global publication about the digital transformation of business. Jennifer was voted one of the 50 most inspiring women in technology in Europe in 2015 and 2016 and was named by Forbes Magazine in 2018 as one of the 30 women leaders disrupting tech in France. She has been a World Economic Forum Tech Pioneers judge for 20 years. She lives in Paris and has dual U.S. and French citizenship.