AltaML makes new hires amid planned expansion in Ontario, eastern North America

Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) company AltaML has appointed two new Ontario-based team members as the firm looks to expand its presence in Ontario and eastern North America.

Though it is a relatively young company, AltaML has played a role in fostering collaboration in Alberta’s tech ecosystem.

AltaML, an AI-focused software company that partners with organizations to co-develop solutions, opened a Toronto office in 2020 and is now looking to double down on its expansion out east. Alberta-founded AltaML has hired Peter Barr as its new chief strategy officer. The firm also hired Rick Makos to serve as AltaML’s regional director of North America east and managing director of Toronto.

AltaML’s customers are primarily enterprise-level organizations undergoing digital transformation and looking for predictive value from their data. Since its inception, AltaML has received government grants and has engaged in partnerships with a number of notable firms. Last year, AltaML was named as one of the “companies-to-watch,” as part of Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 awards. The company also has offices in Edmonton and Calgary.

The Alberta tech ecosystem has been showing signs of significant momentum recently. One recent report from the Alberta Enterprise Corporation found not only are the number of tech companies in the province growing, but their revenues are as well.

Alberta and Toronto are also considered two of Canada’s top AI ecosystems. The two regions, alongside Montreal, have played important roles in the federal government’s Pan-Canadian AI strategy, which the government earmarked an additional $443.8 million for over the next 10 years in its April budget.

Late last year, the three organizations funded by the strategy, Amii, Mila, and the Vector Institute, entered into their first cross-Canada partnership, pointing to recent and increased collaboration between the country’s AI hubs.

AltaML’s ambitions to expand outside of Alberta also point to the province’s maturation as both an AI hub and a tech ecosystem more broadly.

Though it is a relatively young company, AltaML has played a role in fostering collaboration in Alberta’s growing tech ecosystem. In April, AltaML partnered with supply chain startup Attabotics and the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute to develop new AI/ML capabilities. The firm also received a $3.25 million grant from the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund.

RELATED: Alberta’s innovation minister wants province to be a “dominant player” in Canadian tech

“We want to become a global leader in responsible AI, and that doesn’t just happen from Alberta,” Mark Kluchky, AltaML’s head of people, told BetaKit. “While Alberta is very important to us, Ontario and eastern Canada [are] our pathway to growth.”

Kluchky said Barr and Makos will help AltaML determine where else the company should pursue growth.

Barr, who is based in the Kitchener-Waterloo region, will officially enter the role June 4. Barr previously worked at Deloitte for 40 years, where he managed Deloitte’s industry strategy and marketplace program. Barr also serves on the board of governors at the University of Waterloo.

“Peter’s demonstrated leadership will contribute significantly toward AltaML becoming a global leader in responsible AI,” said Nicole Janssen, co-CEO of AltaML. “Peter is a strategic leader with a wealth of experience navigating complex environments, and we are thrilled to welcome him to AltaML’s C-suite.”

Makos, who is based in Toronto, has previously helped lead pre-IPO businesses and divisions within multinational corporations. According to AltaML, Makos has 35 years of experience in consultative sales, marketing, product development, and professional services.

“We are thrilled to welcome Rick, whose genuine talent for building organizations, developing software, and motivating teams ensures that we have the right person to not only build our Toronto presence but also drive our expansion throughout eastern North America,” said Janssen.

Image source Unsplash. Photo by Warren Wong.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Writer, globetrotter, drone pilot & David Attenborough enthusiast