How an Ann Arbor AI startup quintupled its staff in two years

Ann Arbor-based Clinc, which creates conversational artificial intelligence technology, has quintupled its staff in the last two years and plans to double staff again in the coming year.


In 2016, Clinc boasted about a dozen staff. Currently, it has about 75 full-time staff members, in addition to part-timers and interns. Emma Furlong, lead content strategist for Clinc, says the firm is "growing rapidly."


"We plan to double in size by this time next year, to be around 200 employees," she says.


Many of the new job titles will involve engineering, but the company also intends to hire employees who specialize in product and graphic design, tech support, sales, and marketing. The company's current and continued growth is due to reaching into other industries as well as launching the new "self-service" Clinc AI Platform, allowing users to build their own AI systems in varying industries.


"When Clinc started, it was a fintech firm and was focused just on putting technology out for financial services," Furlong says. But Clinc is expanding into other areas, including the automotive industry, hospitality, and gaming.


"We've been working with big auto companies, and we're going to be going live with them, creating an in-car virtual assistant experience," Furlong says.


The food and hospitality sectors may soon be using Clinc-based virtual assistants both in mobile ordering and in drive-throughs as well. Additionally, one of Clinc's engineers created a mockup of an in-game virtual assistant for video gaming, and Furlong says Clinc founder Jason Mars wants to pursue that line of development as well.


The company will have to scale up quickly to support its new AI platform, Furlong says.


"We can still create out-of-the-box solutions, but we've also created a platform for people to build conversational AI experiences for themselves," Furlong says. "Clinc has created something we can put in the hands of customers and they don't have to rely on us any time they need to add a new feature. It's putting the power of our technology into their hands."


Currently, about 60 of Clinc's full-time employees are based in Cahoots, a coworking space in downtown Ann Arbor, taking up the entire second floor. The company also has a small San Francisco office and one employee in London. Most of the new employees will be added in Ann Arbor, but Furlong says she anticipates building up the European and West Coast offices as well over the next 12 months.


"It's great to be connected with other Ann Arbor startups and the Ann Arbor tech community," Furlong says of working out of Cahoots. "It brings a lot of attention to Ann Arbor when companies like Duo Security and Clinc are in the press a lot. We're putting Ann Arbor on the map as a technology hub."


Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township and the interim project manager of On the Ground Ypsilanti. She has served as innovation and jobs/development news writer for Concentrate since early 2017 and is an occasional contributor to Driven. You may reach her at
Photo courtesy of Clinc.

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