The Exit: I am More than My Startup with Rana el Kaliouby - Sarah Chen
Impact Investing, Impact Washing, Investment, Philanthropy
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“I felt a lot of guilt, I felt like I was giving in, selling out on my baby; because Affectiva is like my baby”

And we are back with a bang! The first episode of Season 2 features a deep dive into the ethics of AI, finding inspiration and executing on that founder’s vision while finding purpose along the way, even post-exit with the global pioneer of Emotional AI, Rana el Kaliouby.



– Why ownership of your own career path is key
– Managing career transitions & how to dissociate your identity/worth with your career
– The ethics of AI
– Emotional intelligence and why it matters
– Rethink again: how do you know you made the right decision?





A pioneer in artificial emotional intelligence (Emotion AI), Rana el Kaliouby, PhD, is Deputy CEO at Smart Eye and formerly, Co-Founder and CEO of MIT spinoff and category-defining company Affectiva. 


Rana realized a successful exit for Affectiva in June 2021 when the company was acquired by Smart Eye, where she will team with Martin Krantz, Smart Eye’s CEO to scale the company to a global AI powerhouse. Rana is the bestselling author of the newly released book Girl Decoded: A Scientist’s Quest to Reclaim Our Humanity by Bringing Emotional Intelligence to Technology


She is also an Executive Fellow at the Harvard Business School, where she co-teaches “Age of AI”. She raised over $50 million in venture and strategic funding for Affectiva, where the company’s technology is used by automotive OEMs and tier 1 suppliers to improve road safety and the in-cabin experience, in addition to 25% of the Fortune Global 500 companies to test content. 


Rana led the company’s innovation, broadening its AI to not only detect complex and nuanced emotions and cognitive states from face and voice, like drowsiness and distraction, but also to understand human activity in context. Prior to founding Affectiva, Rana was a research scientist at MIT Media Lab where she spearheaded the applications of emotion recognition technology in a variety of fields, including mental health and autism research.


Rana is one of few women leading a disruptive AI company. A Muslim-American, she frequently speaks in press and on stage about innovation, women in technology, ethics in AI, diversity and leadership. A TED speaker, Rana has been recognized on Fortune’s 40 Under 40 list, Forbes’ Top 50 Women in Tech, Inc.’s Female Founders 100 list, and named one of the three Global Business pioneers by Bloomberg in 2017. She co-hosted a PBS NOVA series on AI. Rana is a trustee at the American University in Cairo and at the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council, and. Rana is a Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum, a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization member, and a part of the Partnership on AI, alongside founding companies Amazon, Apple, Google/DeepMind and others. Rana holds a BSc and MSc in Computer Science from the American University in Cairo, a PhD from the Computer Laboratory at the University of Cambridge and a Post Doctorate at MIT. 



“The real problem is not the existential threat of AI. Instead, it is in the development of ethical AI systems.”
― Rana El Kaliouby

A scientist’s quest to reclaim our humanity by bringing emotional intelligence to technology