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STATWORX 2019 – A Year in Review

Sebastian Heinz Blog, Data Science

Once again, an amazing year at STATWORX is coming to an end. The frequency and magnitude of positive things happening to our company are continuously increasing with every new client, employee, or partner coming to our company. That is why the very first paragraph of this post ends with a massive THANK YOU to my whole team, our customers and partners. We would not be where we are now without you. Let’s keep up the awesome work!

STATWORX is constantly growing each year, both in revenue and profit, as well as in services and products – likewise in 2019. Our growth deeply embodies a high pace of change into our company’s DNA and all the things that surround us. That is why sometimes you can lose track of all the different things happening throughout the year. To keep track of our evolving company, I’ve decided to write down some of the most important things that moved our company this year, ranging from exciting projects, new partners to great festivities and special events. Let’s begin the time travel!

Projects & Academy

The various kinds of data science, machine learning, and AI projects, which we deliver for our cross-industry customers, are the cornerstone of our company. And by cross-industry, I really mean it: automotive, finance, pharma, retail, insurance, aviation – you name it. I would assume that there isn’t a single industry we have not worked in so far. That greatly enlarges our perspective on the field of data science and AI and helps us to translate solutions from different industries or functions into our project environments across our customers. This year, there have been so many fascinating projects, both end-2-end as well as prototypes / MVPs, that it’s tough to pick the gems. My personal favorites would most likely be the ground operations optimization project for one of our airline customers, as well as our various ML and NLP projects we’ve conducted for the purchasing department of one of our automotive customers. Besides that, we’ve delivered several forecasting products, customer analytics solutions, as well as different dashboards and ML fueled applications. Furthermore, in our strategy department, we’ve supported several new customers from the financial and insurance industry, who are just getting started with data science and AI by setting up their data and analytics platform strategies. Whew!

Besides our consulting projects, the “STATWORX Academy” brings a multitude of different data science, ML and AI trainings and workshops to our customers. One of the most exciting training projects this year was, for sure, a company-wide AI leadership training for one of our biggest customers. With a team from their professional development department, IT, and data science in finance, we’ve forged a manifold and interactive workshop, specifically targeted at middle to top management leaders. Besides multiple training sessions in Germany, this also led to cross-continental trainings in the USA as well as China. It was fascinating to discuss with leaders from various cultural backgrounds about AI and its implications on business, society and life in general. I am really looking forward to continue this training initiative in 2020.

Another great workshop event this year was our brand-new “Deep Learning Bootcamp”. Besides our battle-proven „Data Science Bootcamp”, we’ve created a 5-day workshop all around neural networks and deep learning. Thereby, we are digging into the basic concepts, such as MLPs, CNNs, and LSTMs, but also into more advanced topics such as GANs, autoencoders, and deep reinforcement learning. The first Bootcamp was a great success, for which we received loads of positive feedback from our participants. I can’t wait for the next session in the first quarter of 2020, with many new topics and programming exercises in Python and TensorFlow.

Investments

In 2019 we’ve also conducted our first financial investments into companies and products we believe in: first to mention is bamboolib, a product two former STATWORKERS created in their newly founded company. bamboolib is a low-code data preparation and visualization GUI for pandas in Jupyter (yes, a GUI for Jupyter). It allows data science professionals to carry out time-consuming data prep and manipulation steps 10x faster. Furthermore, it enables Python and pandas starters to learn the concepts of data prep more easily. bamboolib is currently making huge waves on LinkedIn, so I definitely recommend that you check it out!

Besides bamboolib, we’ve engaged in a joint-venture called ONEZERO-X that is bringing data science, machine learning, and AI to sports business. We’ve already had our first project for a German soccer club and created a great MVP for forecasting soccer stadium utilization by using historical sales data and many external effects. I will be presenting the new joint venture at IN-BETA AUDITIONS in Frankfurt in January 2020.

Partners

STATWORX is continually engaging with new partners to leverage synergies and to bring our services to a broader audience of customers. One of our longest and most fruitful partnerships is with Dataiku. The French software startup just reached unicorn-level company valuation and never ceases to surprise us with new powerful features on their innovative data science platform as well as with their excellent team spirit and collaborative work approach. Additionally, to support our clients on all major cloud platforms, we have further extended our cloud service provider network by entering partnerships with Microsoft and AWS, on top of our existing partnership with Google (GCP).

Depending on high-quality data in everything we do, we understand how important it is for all companies to build up a clean and structured data foundation. Therefore, on multiple occasions, we joined forces with the data management and data governance focused University of St. Gallen spin-off CDQ. Last but not least, we added renowned semiconductor manufacturer STMicroelectronics to the list of our partners. We are thrilled to leverage their STM32 microcontrollers’ capabilities, to run AI directly on edge controllers, which allows the integration of state-of-the-art neural networks in highly specialized industrial applications.

Events

When it comes to events and conferences, STATWORX is always ready to jump in. Not only to gather new knowledge but also to network, make new connections, and get new leads. One of our favorite events throughout the year is the Data Festival in Munich. This year, our Head of Data Science, Fabian Müller, gave an exciting talk about XAI (explainable AI), its current applications, and limitations. The Data Festival is getting bigger and bigger each year, which triggers the creativity of our marketing to come up with great new ideas for our STATWORX booth. This year, we launched our „Beat the AI“ campaign, where visitors of our booth could compete against a reinforcement learning agent that learned how to play Super Mario on NES.

“Beat the AI” was also our campaign at EGG Germany 2019 in Stuttgart, the 1-day AI conference organized by our friends at Dataiku. Here, we gave a talk on how to bring data science and AI to organizations using Dataiku together with our friends from Mercedes Benz.

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Another exceptional event this year was the „KEX Forecasting Challenge“. Here, a selection of AI vendors was given a dataset of daily sales data that they were asked to forecast. The actual sales data was held back to ensure a fair competition. In an intense weekend session, the “STATWORX Black Ops” team managed to build a machine learning model for 10 different products that was able to forecast 365 days ahead. During the presentation of the results, we’ve received great feedback from the data supplying company and currently engage in a joint project.

Another highlight of 2019 was our participation in the Swiss AI Hackathon, where we competed against 10 other teams in the development of a machine learning model for turnaround delay prediction. This 2-day event in Zurich certainly was one of the most challenging events this year, since we had a great variety of data sources to deal with to make the model work. After 2-days of coffee, red bull, beer, and pizza, the STATWORX team made it on to the winners‘ podium and presented our modeling approach in front of several members of the Swiss BOM.

Data University

As you could read up until here, the last year was filled with new opportunities and challenges for us. One of those challenges for us as a team was the Data University, our first-ever open event. We created the event with the help of our partner BARC in early 2019. Together, we developed a marketing plan, designed the curriculum, built a website, and created the workshops. In October, we held the interactive 2-day workshop-event at the Goethe University in Frankfurt, with 40 participants, 8 trainers, and a whole lot of pizzas. Furthermore, our friends from Frankfurt Data Science organized an event in the evening about “How to become a Data Scientist” with over 100 participants that perfectly matched our topics at Data University. I want to thank everyone at BARC again for the great partnership. If you’re interested in our newest events and plans, then follow us on our various social media accounts and stay tuned.

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Work events

With all the hard work we do here at STATWORX, we also like to relax and have some after-work fun. There have been multiple occasions during the past twelve months, where my team prepared parties, fun get-togethers and excursions to take our collective minds off of work. One of these occasions was the famous STATWORX summer barbecue, which took place on a very hot Friday evening in June. Everyone prepared something to eat, like a salad or tasty finger food, and we enjoyed the great weather with some fresh cocktails on our terrace.

But the barbecue wasn’t the only time we had great luck with the weather. In October, part of our crew went on a day trip to the picturesque Rheingau, the famous wine region known for its world-famous Riesling wines. With sunglasses on and a glass of delicious white wine in hand, the group went hiking for about four hours in the vineyards.

Last but not least, the Christmas spirit found its way into the STATWORX office. For our Christmas party in late November, the team prepared a large pot of hot wine, wrapped gifts for everyone, and showcased some very creative Ugly Sweaters. To finalize this amazing year, we also took a weekend trip to Belgium, where we time to unwind, talk, play games, laugh, and party.

As you can see, we had a lot of fun days and nights together. A big shout out to everyone who helped organize these events. Cheers!

Outlook on 2020

What a year! By writing all of this down, I started to realize how diverse and inspiring all of the different things were that happened at our company in the last year. And there is always more to come: in the first half of 2020, we will move into the brand-new STATWORX HQ in Frankfurt on 1’400 sqm on 2 floors. This will be our biggest and boldest move so far, which will enable our company and employees to grow, prosper, and develop even further. In terms of services, we will continue to strengthen our team and offerings in data and software engineering to accord with the skyrocketing demand for ML ops and industrialization of machine learning and AI applications. In addition to that, we will be launching our first own AI software product in 2020, which will be another massive step for our company on our collective journey along the road of STATWORX.

I can’t wait to see what 2020 holds for us! The only thing that remains constant in life is change. I am wishing you a happy holiday and a joyful new year.

Best wishes from your friends at STATWORX. This text was written by GPT-2 (just kidding).

Über den Autor
Sebastian Heinz

Sebastian Heinz

I am the founder and CEO of STATWORX. I enjoy writing about machine learning and AI, especially about neural networks and deep learning. In my spare time, I love to cook, eat and drink as well as traveling the world.

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