This Silicon Valley pioneer bets on Guadalajara for the future of his company


Thomas Siebel, CEO of C3 AI, spoke exclusively with Forbes Mexico about the Development Center that recently opened in Guadalajara and where different artificial intelligence applications will be developed for its clients around the world.

Thomas Siebel is a Silicon Valley pioneer. He began his career at Oracle, a company that he left in 1990 and to which years later, in 2006, he sold his company Siebel Systems for 5.8 billion dollars.

In 2009, Siebel founded C3 AI, a firm that started out as a developer of enterprise software for the energy industry, but later expanded to develop enterprise artificial intelligence for business uses, predictive maintenance, fraud detection, predictive CRM, and more. Applications.

The CEO of C3 AI, with which he provides artificial intelligence to the United States Air Force to predict aircraft engine failures before they occur, believes that a Mexican Silicon Valley is possible … and he has already taken a step in that direction: on March 4, he was in Guadalajara, Jalisco, to open the C3 AI Development Center that will recruit Mexican engineers and data scientists.

Siebel spoke exclusively with Forbes Mexico about his vision of the technology industry and the potential he sees in the country.

“These sophisticated areas of application and data business require talent and we realized that these resources are increasingly scarce in Silicon Valley. That is why we began to look for options with different institutions, such as McKinsey and Co. They gave us options of where we could invest, such as India, China, Eastern Europe and Mexico, specifically Guadalajara, which is a very attractive area for us because we have universities. and between 30,000 and 50,000 telecommunications graduates ”, says Siebel.

Although he also evaluated options in Mexico City and Monterrey, the CEO of C3 AI confesses that other attributes that tilted the balance more in favor of Guadalajara were that they have the same schedule with Chicago (where he is from) and they have an engineering workforce. that in addition to having good skills and education, they are fluent in English.

The company hopes to hire 1,000 Mexicans for its Development Center, from where it will generate artificial intelligence for its clients around the world.

  • 849 unique enterprise-sourced data integrations. C3 AI brings together all data sources, across all regions and companies.

” We do not come here (Guadalajara, Mexico) to save costs, we come here because we want to have access to the talent of its human capital, to the women and men who are in this area and will allow us to continue growing in our business,” says Siebel and adds “ that is why we believe that this may be the new Silicon Valley ”.  

Do you really believe that this step can be the beginning of a Mexican Silicon Valley?, he is asked and he answers: “ I can see it as Silicon Valley. If not Guadalajara, where else?

“I must mention that we have been working with Tec de Monterrey, with local universities and they have done a great job in developing capabilities in this area of ​​data science. The technology industry is growing very quickly and within this industry the two segments with the most traffic are artificial intelligence and data science. In addition, here in Guadalajara they have a first-rate university ecosystem, the graduates and the people have an entrepreneurial spirit and this vision is really felt in Guadalajara”, he adds.

  • Shell, US Air force, Baker Hughes, Engie, Raytheon, SWFIT, among others, are part of the C3 AI client portfolio.

What will C3 AI do in Guadalajara?

Siebel explains that from its Development Center in Guadalajara, put into operation on March 4, applications will be developed for companies that use artificial intelligence, in industries such as energy, government, defense, health, manufacturing, oil, gas, automotive.

“We are going to work, for example, on what could be predictive maintenance of machinery in order to increase efficiency, to detect fraud,” he details.

He gives another example: “these applications will also be the area of ​​precision towards health, we will be developing in Guadalajara applications that will be used throughout the world to predict what diseases are going to come, that is, we will be able to know by means of artificial intelligence where deaths are going to occur and due to what diseases. We will be able to innovate in clinical diagnosis. Through artificial intelligence we will be able to carry out studies based on the genome, we will be able to have much more precise diagnoses.”

“This type of applications combined with the work and power that we can have in our smartphones, will be able to help us serve communities that have not received this type of attention in the past because they are marginalized. It will be possible to provide better, cheaper, higher quality medical care and in a greater number of communities. It is the type of applications that we are going to be developing in Guadalajara, ”says Siebel.

The Development Center will have two business lines: one focused on the central software platform, more related to the operation of the center itself, and the second on the development of applications, the first results of which may begin to appear in the next three to five years, during which they expect to grow from 700 to 7,000 employees in their different locations, including the thousand projected in Guadalajara.

  • 4.8 million AI models in use. C3 AI runs AI models at scale for powerful predictions in the most complex organizations.

The world is no longer the same as it was 40 years ago, or even five years ago. The technology industry is advancing at breakneck speed. “If we do a little memory, 40 years ago we started with large computers, then we changed to personal computers, from there we have the computer on our phone, now we even have the cloud. There have been many very important changes in the last 4 decades”, mentions the businessman.

The artificial intelligence industry, now worth $200 billion worldwide, will continue to climb apace to be worth $600 billion by 2025, Siebel estimates.

“These have been big changes and it definitely allows us to solve problems that were previously unsolvable. Artificial intelligence brings us this predictive analytics. We can, for example, predict what the amount of production is going to be in order to know where to put this production, at what time and by what means in order to satisfy a specific market. This affects the supply chain and allows us to improve business, work with less cost, do more with less environmental impact and satisfying more and more customers”, he points out.

  • 1.7 billion predictions per day. C3 AI offers more than 20 pre-built, industry-specific AI applications to optimize critical processes.

Siebel takes time in his exclusive talk with Forbes Mexico to briefly reflect on how Mexico could benefit from Russia’s conflict with Ukraine, which has caused unprecedented capital flight.

“With this situation of little calm that exists in Europe, specifically in Eastern Europe, I am sure that Mexico will be much more attractive for many other companies that may be interested in coming to invest here. Definitely, this situation that is being experienced in Europe, can be of advantage for Mexico. Although they are very unfortunate events, I think that they can represent this type of advantage for the country ”, he considers.


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