Lightning AI Bolsters Executive Team With Four New VPs to Lead Engineering, Product, Marketing and Design Functions
New Leaders Bring Expertise in Open Source Platforms and Scaling High-Performance Infrastructure to Simplify State-of-the-Art AI
Lightning AI, the company accelerating the development of an AI-powered world, announced an expanded executive team with strategic new hires from Cohesity, Confluent, Kong and Meta. This new talent deepens core competencies that will accelerate the company’s vision to make building artificial intelligence as simple as building an iOS app. Lightning’s technology empowers researchers and developers to build fully functioning AI products and systems in the cloud, without having to manage complex infrastructure.
Historically, the development of AI-powered products, tools, and services has been limited to large technology companies willing to invest a significant amount of resources and expertise into their creation. Lightning’s fast-growth trajectory is lowering those barriers by unifying the research, development, and infrastructure lifecycle, making it easier and faster than ever before to build powerful AI solutions. The open source Lightning framework (previously called PyTorch Lightning) has been downloaded more than 23 million times since 2019, and has 19.5k GitHub stars and over 700 contributors. More than 10,000 organizations use the Lightning framework, including researchers in both theoretical neuroscience at Columbia University and macroeconomics at the University of British Columbia, as well as Podsights, now part of Spotify’s podcast team.
The new leadership team is uniquely suited to accelerate the next stage of the company’s growth and development to meet the growing market demand for its AI automation platform.
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Jatheen Anand joins Lightning as VP of Engineering after spending more than four years at Cohesity, a late-stage data management company, where he also served as VP of Engineering. Jatheen brings more than 23 years of experience in the software industry, including senior engineering roles at Veritas and Symantec. His proven track record of developing world-class products and building high-performing teams from a handful of engineers to hundreds across R&D centers worldwide will enable him to accelerate Lightning’s core engineering efforts. With broad domain expertise that spans data management, security, cloud infrastructure, system architecture and distributed systems, Jatheen will scale Lightning’s engineering team to build best-in-class capabilities and performance.
Priya Shivakumar comes to Lightning as VP of Product, following four years of leading product strategy for Confluent Cloud at Confluent, a newly public, data streaming company. She built the cloud-native experience for Apache Kafka at Confluent, driving product-led growth and developing enterprise pricing across service tiers. Priya’s prior roles also include product management at VMware and global strategy consulting. Using her experience in scaling product-led organizations, Priya will enable Lightning to deliver a best-in-class product and go-to-market focused on reimagining the complex, fragmented process of building ML, which currently stymies even the most tech-savvy organizations.
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Mike Bilodeau is Lightning’s VP of Marketing after four years at Kong, a Series D open-source company, where he led product marketing, technical marketing, and global field enablement. Mike brings a diverse set of experience to Lightning, having also worked at venture-backed startups Grata and Rubrik, as well as in management consulting at Kaiser Associates and venture capital at Route 66 Ventures. He has demonstrated success in developing strategies and teams to effectively cultivate open source communities and commercialize technical products at rapidly growing startups. At Lightning, Mike will drive the developer programs, community engagement and commercial marketing strategies to expand Lightning’s market leadership in AI research to the entire ML ecosystem.
John Paul (JP) Hennessy joins Lightning as VP of UX and Design from Meta, where he led product design strategy and execution for Meta’s internal tools team that powered consumer apps (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus) and internal initiatives across data, developer and AI infrastructures. He brings a kaleidoscopic professional background focusing on the intersection of experience design and brand identity for more than a decade, encompassing consumer products, AI and blockchain. At Lightning, JP will focus on bringing groundbreaking design thinking to the underserved developer and operational tech stack arena by leading product design, research, and prototyping.
“As one of the leading AI startups in the space, it’s humbling to bring seasoned experts from across the top SaaS companies to help AI become easier to be adopted at scale,” said William Falcon, CEO and co-founder of Lightning AI. “This team has proven it can build world-class companies that can help our community and clients easily scale their AI under real enterprise constraints for which this team has already built solutions in the past. I’m thrilled to partner with Priya, Jatheen, Mike and JP to build the next generational platform for AI. This marks a big step in our evolution from early stage to a sustainable company.”
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