Company Which Combines Advanced Neuroscience And Artificial Intelligence To Capture Non-Conscious Drivers Of Consumer Behavior Appoints Dr. Rajan Srikanth To Head India Operations

Chennai, India—March 5, 2019—MachineVantage, a global leader which is pioneering the combination of advanced neuroscience with artificial intelligence systems, announced that it has appointed Dr. Rajan Srikanth as President of its India operations.

Through its Indian headquarters in Chennai, MachineVantage offers businesses proprietary neuroscience-based artificial intelligence and machine learning systems to power innovations in marketing and product development. The firm, with its worldwide headquarters in Silicon Valley, has major multinational clients in the U.S., Europe, Latin America and the Asia/Pacific region.

Dr. Srikanth joins the firm from his previous role as Chairman and Managing Director of SmartKapital, a venture funding and advisory services firm he founded in 2008. The company works with senior management in a range of businesses, helping guide them through critical growth stages and strategic development processes.

“As we continue to grow our partnerships with many of India’s finest companies, MachineVantage is adding a highly-regarded leader in Dr. Srikanth,”, said Dr. A. K. Pradeep, founder and CEO of MachineVantage. “The breadth of his professional background, the depth of his knowledge and capabilities, and his first-hand experience with leading companies across a wide variety of categories enables MachineVantage to bring even more value to our clients. I am proud that he is our new President in India.”

MachineVantage specializes in applying highly sophisticated neuroscientific methodologies combined with the technological power of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to capture the non-conscious drivers of consumer behavior. The firm notes that “95% of daily decisions are made in the non-conscious, so it is critical for Indian companies to understand and leverage that knowledge to improve the effectiveness of their marketing and new product development processes”. MachineVantage deploys semantic analysis customized and modified by core learnings from the science of human behavior, to extract actionable information from a large corpus of unstructured and semi-structured data.

Applying neuro-based AI and ML systems to isolate and analyze the unique non-conscious inputs that impact consumers, MachineVantage delivers unique, expansive, and insight-rich windows into the key drivers of consumer perceptions and behaviors.

The MachineVantage team pioneered the application of Neuroscience to the field of global Marketing Research, which broke new ground in developing advanced learnings and insights into the core non-conscious influences of consumer attitudes and actions. The team is now pioneering the application of powerful, proprietary AI and ML technologies to Product and Marketing Innovation.

Dr. Pradeep is the co-author of a fast-selling new book on the topic, “AI For Marketing And Product Innovation”

Dr. Srikanth’s international career has included consulting with Fortune 500 companies in fields ranging from energy, defense, technology, healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, and retail, among others. Prior to forming SmartKapital, he served as worldwide Partner and President of Mercer Consulting , Asia. His earlier roles include leadership positions with Accenture, where he was Executive Partner and Global Lead for the firm’s organizational change strategy practice, as well as similar roles with KPMG Peat Marwick and Bain & Company.

“The founding team of MachineVantage have been the pioneers for ‘going where no one has gone before’ in marketing, and this time is no different,” said Dr. Srikanth. “In a market that is jaded with high decibel, high contrast messaging that literally is trying to shout its way into your attention, MachineVantage brings a breath-takingly novel approach. Our proven methods work the non-conscious to deliver subtle but sure results for our clients. I am excited to be part of what will clearly be the next revolution in marketing.”

In addition to serving on the boards of several charitable organizations such as United Way of India, where he was a founding member, Dr. Srikanth has also been Trustee of the Alumni Charitable Trust of IITM and a director of the IIT Madras Incubation Cell. He earned his Ph.D from the Stern School of Business at New York University, and a B.Tech degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras. He has taught at the Walter A. Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.

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Tom Robbins

‘AI for Marketing and Product Innovation’ Offers Unique, Practical Guide for Generating New Growth and Customer Loyalty

IRI’s Andrew Appel, MachineVantage’s A.K. Pradeep and Unilever’s Stan Sthanunathan Co-Author New Book That Arms Business Leaders With Road Map to Unlock Increased Revenues and Market Share

CHICAGO — Dec. 6, 2018 — IRI®, a global leader in innovative solutions and services for consumer, retail and media companies, has announced  that “AI for Marketing and Product Innovation,” a new book co-authored by President and CEO Andrew Appel, is available here as of today.

“AI has enormous potential to unlock growth and success for brands and retailers if it is executed well, or to destroy them if it isn’t,” said Appel. “AI offers unmatched opportunities to create a vastly more accurate and actionable understanding of customers overall on a very micro level that hasn’t been possible historically due to the lack of data and analytic horsepower. While other books either delve into AI theory or outline hypotheticals, our book offers practical solutions created by authors with decades of brand and retail experience.”

Authors Bring Unique Experience
The authors share more than 100 years of unparalleled expertise in strategy and product development, branding, and insights and analytics:

Andrew Appel, president and CEO of IRI: During his six-year tenure, Appel has dramatically expanded IRI’s services and reshaped the company into the innovation leader for CPG brands and retailers and media companies. Prior to IRI, he served as chief revenue officer of Accretive Health, as chief operating officer of Aon and as a senior partner at McKinsey & Company.

A.K. Pradeep, CEO of MachineVantage: Pradeep founded MachineVantage in 2016 to use the extraordinary algorithmic power of AI and machine learning to help marketers understand consumer purchase behavior and shape strategies around products, pricing, promotion and related activities. Prior to starting MachineVantage, Pradeep served as chief provocateur at Nielsen and earlier was founder and CEO of Nielsen NeuroFocus. Before that, he held positions at Meridian Consulting, BoardVantage and General Electric.

Stan Sthanunathan, executive vice president of Consumer & Market Insights for Unilever: At multiple roles over his 30-plus year career, including six years at Unilever and 17 years at Coca-Cola, Sthanunathan has been an aggressive advocate for improved utilization of data and analytics to enhance product and marketing strategy. In his 2016 Harvard Business Review article, “Building an Insights Engine,” Sthanunathan outlined the 10 critical characteristics of an optimal insights engine, divided into operational characteristics, such as functional independence and experimental orientation, and people characteristics, such as business acumen and well-balanced analytic and creative thinking styles.

Soon, 85 Percent of Consumer/Brand/Retailer Interaction Will Occur via Machine
“AI for Marketing and Product Innovation” begins by highlighting the potential for AI, such as drastically improving the success rate for new product introductions — which currently hovers in the pitiful 10 percent range — and eliminating millions in wasted advertising spends due to ineffective planning and targeting.

It continues by digging deep into the math behind AI and the types of data incorporated to achieve dramatic improvements in critical areas of brand management and retail, ensuring readers and authors are on the same page when addressing specific ways AI improves decision making. “AI for Marketing and Product Innovation” then delves into new territory, such as outlining how AI uncovers consumers’ conscious as well as subconscious thoughts and identifies the contexts and associations for these thoughts (e.g., a musical lyric might evoke memory of certain foods). With this type of information, marketers can build algorithms that result in identification of new product ideas and answer questions such as, “What can we add to this product idea to premiumize it and fetch a higher price point?”

IRI will donate Appel’s proceeds to Not Impossible Labs, an award-winning technology incubator and content studio dedicated to changing the world through technology and story.

For more information about “AI for Marketing and Product Innovation,” visit:

About the IRI Partner Ecosystem 
IRI fundamentally believes that delivering differentiated growth for clients requires deep, highly integrated partnering with a variety of best-of-breed companies. As such, IRI works closely with a broad range of industry leaders to create innovative joint services and access to capabilities to help its clients more effectively compete in their various markets and exceed their growth objectives. IRI is committed to its partnership philosophy and continues to actively enhance its ecosystem of partners through alliances, joint ventures, acquisitions and affiliations. The IRI Partner Ecosystem includes such companies as 84.51°, Adobe, The Boston Consulting Group, Clavis Insight, comScore, Data Plus Math, Edison, Experian, GfK, Gigwalk, Google, Ipsos, Jumpshot, Mastercard Advisors, Omnicom, One Click Retail, Oracle, Pinterest, Research Now SSI, Simulmedia, SPINS, Univision, Valassis Digital, Viant, Yieldbot and others.


About IRI
IRI is a leading provider of big data, predictive analytics and forward-looking insights that help CPG, OTC health care organizations, retailers, financial services and media companies grow their businesses. A confluence of major external events — a change in consumer buying habits, big data coming into its own, advanced analytics and personalized consumer activation — is leading to a seismic shift in drivers of success in all industries. With the largest repository of purchase, media, social, causal and loyalty data, all integrated on an on-demand, cloud-based technology platform, IRI is empowering the personalization revolution, helping to guide its more than 5,000 clients around the world in their quests to remain relentlessly relevant, capture market share, connect with consumers, collaborate with key constituents and deliver market-leading growth. For more information, visit

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IRI Contact:
Shelley Hughes
Phone: + 1 312.474.3675


BERKELEY, Calif., Sept. 26, 2017 — MachineVantage announced today that world–renowned Cognitive Linguist Dr. George Lakoff has joined the company as its Chief Linguistics Advisor.

Dr. Lakoff is widely recognized for his groundbreaking research as the leading expert in the field of framing ideas and language and in research on metaphorical thought and the metaphorical language that expresses largely non-conscious metaphorical thought. He now brings that knowledge to MachineVantage’s pioneering work applying artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve both products and the marketing of products that better serve the public.

“Metaphors evoke deep and powerful responses in the non-conscious mind where MachineVantage’s technology is focused, and where more than 95% of decisions are made, including purchasing decisions,” said Dr. A. K. Pradeep, the company’s founder and CEO. “Marketing leaders understand that unique power, but until now it has been challenging to harness it effectively and consistently for both improving products as well as their brands. Combining Dr. Lakoff’s expertise in metaphors with our proprietary artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms offers companies a new and unmatched competitive advantage in the marketplace for healthier products that are also better marketed. Considerations of health and life improvement is what consumers need, but also what they want and will buy if they are marketed honestly and effectively.”

MachineVantage works with many of the world’s premier corporations, including global leaders in consumer packaged goods, healthcare, financial services, food and beverages, and more. The company’s specialty is the development of innovations in improved products as well as their marketing and messaging.

Dr. Lakoff is Professor Emeritus of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. He is the author of 11 major books, including the New York Times bestseller Don’t Think of an Elephant. Earlier he was Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley, where he taught for 44 years. Prior to that he taught at Harvard University and the University of Michigan. He graduated from MIT with a degree in Mathematics and Literature and received his Ph.D. in Linguistics from Indiana University.

“Most thought is non-conscious and conscious thought is the tip of the mental iceberg. The reason is that all thought is physical, carried out by neural circuitry — and we have no conscious access to our neural circuitry,” Dr. Lakoff said. “All language, and all thought uses mental structures called ‘frames’. In addition, largely non-conscious metaphorical thought arises naturally throughout the world. Metaphorical thought reflects the most important matters in human life, and linguistic metaphors are a key to what matters for human beings. We live according to our metaphors.”

MachineVantage and its Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning platform provide remarkable opportunities to apply the cognitive neuroscience–based paradigms and computational models of linguistics to suggest new products that would increase human health and the quality of life in general — and provide messaging innovations as well.  Integrating metaphors seamlessly into better product innovations and their marketing is a next big step.

MachineVantage was launched this year with Series A investments from Unilever Ventures and IRI.

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Tom Robbins


BERKELEY, California, June 27, 2017 — Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning company MachineVantage has been funded by IRI and Unilever Ventures. MachineVantage applies AI and ML powered algorithms focused exclusively on marketing, and product innovation.

Focused on consumer product and marketing innovations, MachineVantage applies proprietary artificial intelligence algorithms and machine learning techniques to extract product innovations, brand semiotics, creative inspirations, and digital and retail point of sale messaging. The company works with major multinational clients in North America and in individual markets in Europe, the Asia Pacific region, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Based in Berkeley, MachineVantage was founded in 2016 by Dr. A. K. Pradeep, who earlier pioneered the field of neuromarketing, the application of advanced neuroscience to marketing. His firm NeuroFocus, the leader in the field, was acquired by Nielsen in 2011. BoardVantage, the Software as a Service company he built earlier, was acquired by Nasdaq in 2016.

“Many of the world’s smartest marketers today are looking to leverage the extraordinary algorithmic power of artificial intelligence and machine learning to gain a competitive advantage,” Dr. Pradeep said. “What makes MachineVantage stand out is our deep understanding of the foundational principles driving consumer purchase behavior combined with our unique algorithms that process information consumers imbibe under the threshold of conscious consumption. We’re privileged to have global innovators like IRI and Unilever join us in delighting consumers everywhere.”

MachineVantage’s artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies are developed ground-up for marketing professionals, branding and advertising agencies, and product innovators in packaged goods, retail, financial services, health and beauty, food and beverages, and automotive.

Headquartered in Chicago, IRI is a leading provider of big data, predictive analytics and forward-looking insights. As one of the original innovators in big data, IRI integrates the world’s largest set of otherwise disconnected purchase, media, social, causal and loyalty data to that help consumer packaged goods, over the counter health care organizations, retailers, financial services, and media companies grow their businesses.

“Bringing the algorithmic power of artificial intelligence and machine learning to all of IRI’s data and the IRI Liquid Data® platform has the power to re-invent marketing by transforming how advertisers develop and deliver personalized audiences and then optimize those campaigns in real time based on purchase lift,” said Andrew Appel, president and chief executive officer for IRI.  “We saw an excellent opportunity to integrate MachineVantage’s powerful technologies with the resident big data and analytics in IRI Liquid Data®. Companies that apply these exciting new capabilities are going to benefit tremendously from the ‘first mover’ advantage.”

Unilever Ventures is the venture capital and private equity arm of Unilever, the London and Rotterdam-based consumer goods company that serves 2.5 billion people daily with over 400 brands, including world-leading, household-name brands such as Lipton, Dove, Knorr, Ben & Jerry’s, Sunsilk, and Magnum. Unilever Ventures invests in young, promising companies, especially in the Personal Care and Digital categories, accelerating growth by providing access to Unilever’s global ecosystem, assets, and expertise.

“We’re constantly looking for ‘world beaters’ for our global investment portfolio,” said Olivier Garel, Head of Ventures for Unilever Ventures. “With its expertise in artificial intelligence and machine learning, and its innovative approach to product and marketing innovation, MachineVantage fits that description well, and we look forward to helping facilitate its growth.”

MachineVantage works with several of Unilever’s largest brands, operating across many of the countries where those brands are well-established consumer favorites, including in emerging markets.

“It is crucial to understand consumer trends and preferences and to determine how our brands can best respond to people’s evolving needs,” said Stan Sthanunathan, Executive Vice President – Consumer & Market Insights at Unilever. “We are already using artificial intelligence and machine learning to gain insights that our product development and marketing teams can translate quickly and effectively into innovations. A year of working with MachineVantage convinced us of the unique power of their technology and the value of our investment.”

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Tom Robbins