Annabelle hopes that NeuralBay’s solutions will help SMEs to increase their profits, which would then translate into higher salaries for their employees. The company’s unique business model had them developing AI solutions for multinational companies and repurposing them for use by SME clients. NeuralBay is now developing image- and video-processing software that provides data-driven insights to retailers. She aims to roll out the solution next year and expand its application to other industries thereafter. Her work at NeuralBay also feeds into her belief that a person can give back to society and the community in knowledge and skills, not just with money or time. “This is what I am trying to do with NeuralBay, to use my expertise to develop something that SMEs can benefit from.” Founded in 2017, the company has already snagged international clients. It managed to pip global competitors like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to win a project for an international chocolate company. With the buzz generated by NeuralBay, Annabelle has been invited to speak on topics around the world, including Dubai, Iran, China and Indonesia. Earlier this year, she delivered the keynote address at London Tech Week.
A YOUNG START
Annabelle’s passion for tech started when her parents bought her a LEGO robotics set when she was in primary school. Her interest grew exponentially when she got hooked on playing computer games. She would stay up late into the night gaming, which irked her parents. “At one stage, my mum took my computer and locked it up! But I could always pick the locks,” she says with a chuckle.
This early deep dive into world of bits and bytes led her into a career in the technology sector after she graduated from Nanyang Technological University with a Mathematics degree in 2014. One of her first jobs saw her getting her hands dirty building image-processing robots in a workplace filled with men much older than her. But rather than feel handicapped as a young woman in a male-dominated field, she relished the challenge and proved herself through her sheer ability. She soon left to found her first company Smart Cow, a hardware company that builds AI devices, before going on to start NeuralBay in 2017.
Through it all, she never felt hindered by her youth and says she enjoys interacting and gaining valuable life experiences and advices from senior and experience individuals. Nor does she believe that women should get a “free pass” just because of their gender. “I attend a lot of tech conferences where women complain about not having equal pay. But I believe you have to prove yourself and earn the respect of those around you.”