Jeremy Howard (entrepreneur)

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Jeremy Howard
Jeremy Howard.jpg
Howard in Maui, 2014
Born (1973-11-13) 13 November 1973 (age 43)
London, England
Residence San Francisco, California
Nationality Australian
Alma mater University of Melbourne
Occupation Founding Researcher at, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Enlitic, Distinguished Research Scientist at the University of San Francisco, Data Science Faculty Member at Singularity University, Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum
Known for Work in Deep Learning, Machine Learning
Awards Winner of global Kaggle Data Science Competitions, 2011 and 2010[1][2]

Jeremy Howard (born 13 November 1973) is an Australian data scientist and entrepreneur.[3] He is a founding researcher at, a research institute dedicated to make Deep Learning more accessible. Previously, he was the CEO and Founder at Enlitic, an advanced machine learning company in San Francisco, California. Prior to it, Howard was the President and Chief Scientist at Kaggle, a community and competition platform of over 200,000 data scientists. Howard is the youngest faculty member at Singularity University, where he teaches data science. He is also a Young Global Leader with the World Economic Forum, and spoke at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2014 on "Jobs For The Machines."[4] Howard advised Khosla Ventures as their Data Strategist, identifying the biggest opportunities for investing in data-driven startups and mentoring their portfolio companies to build data-driven businesses. Howard was the founding CEO of two successful Australian startups, FastMail and Optimal Decisions Group. Before that, he spent eight years in management consulting, at McKinsey & Company and AT Kearney.

Early life and background[edit]

Howard was born in London, United Kingdom, and moved to Melbourne, Australia in 1976. He attended Melbourne Grammar and studied philosophy at the University of Melbourne.


Howard started his career in management consulting, working at some of the world’s most exclusive firms. Described as a “wunderkind”,[3] he was earning over $200,000 while still a 19-year-old student in the Australian offices of McKinsey & Company. Later, he became the youngest Engagement Manager world-wide at AT Kearney, creating a new global practice in what is now referred to as Big Data. He remained in management consulting for eight years before becoming an entrepreneur.

Early in his career, Howard contributed to open source projects, particularly the Perl programming language, Cyrus IMAP server, and Postfix SMTP server. He helped develop the Perl language, as chair of the Perl6-data working group, and author of RFCs.

While in Australia, Howard founded two successful startups: the email provider FastMail.FM, which he sold to Opera Software, and the insurance pricing optimization company Optimal Decisions Group (ODG), which he sold to ChoicePoint.[5]

FastMail was one of the first email products that enabled users to integrate their familiar desktop clients. In a comparison of the world's top web-based email systems, PC World ranked FastMail.FM and GMail as the superior services, saying “if you take your e-mail seriously, FastMail is the service for you."[6]

Howard founded Optimal Decisions Group on the basis that a company’s most important strategic decision is often how to optimize actionable outcomes with predictive models. ODG addressed this need with one of the early uses of the widely applicable Drivetrain Approach,[7] and applied the Approach to develop insurance pricing algorithms. As of Q4 2014, both Optimal Decisions Group and FastMail are still operational.


Howard first became involved with Kaggle, founded in April 2010,[8] after becoming the globally top-ranked participant in data science competitions in both 2010 and 2011. The competitions that Howard won involved tourism forecasting[1] and predicting the success of grant applications.[2] Howard then became the President and Chief Scientist of Kaggle.[9]

In December 2011, Wired Magazine ran a piece on Howard, calling him 'The Accidental Scientist' and relaying his observations on the tendency of Silicon Valley to be "something of an echo chamber."[10] Howard was also interviewed by the McKinsey Quarterly, where he explained that the rapid advance of machine learning presents an economic paradox; while productivity is rising, employment may not.[11] By December 2013, Howard had left his position as President of Kaggle.[12]


In August 2014, Howard founded Enlitic with the mission of leveraging recent advances in machine learning to make medical diagnostics and clinical decision support tools faster, more accurate, and more accessible. Enlitic uses state-of-the-art Deep Learning algorithms to diagnose illness and disease.[13] Howard believes that today, machine learning algorithms are actually as good as or better than humans at many things that we think of as being uniquely human capabilities.[14] He projects that the application of deep learning will have the most significant impact on medicine out of any technology during this decade by effectively aggregating data.[15] On October 28, 2014, Howard announced Enlitic's seed funding round.[16]

Personal life and interests[edit]

Howard developed a new system for learning Chinese, which he used to develop usable Chinese language skills in just one year.[17] The method he uses is called Spaced Repetitive Learning, in which a person prompts himself to remember information just prior to forgetting it. Jeremy has mentored and advised many startups, and is also an angel investor. He has contributed to a range of open-source projects as a developer, and was a regular guest expert on Australia's most popular TV morning news program Sunrise.


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