The man best known for creating robotic sportswriting and automated news reporting whose efforts were backed by media giant Associated Press is now taking on machine learning.

Robbie Allen, who stepped down as CEO of Automated Insights earlier this year after having sold the company but where he remains executive chairman, is returning to the executive ranks. He’s taking over as the CEO of Infinia ML, a high-profile machine learning startup that’s already landed $10 million in venture capital from Silicon Valley and already has some Fortune 500 companies as clients.

Lawrence Carin, Duke University’s Vice Provost for Research and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and an acknowledged leader in machine learning, founded Infinia ML this year. He announced Allen’s appointment Wednesday morning.

Carrick Capital Partners is already funding the Durham-based startup.

“Robbie combines a proven operations background with a deep technical understanding of AI, machine learning, and neural networks,” Carin, who serves as the firm’s chief scientist, explained in the announcements.

“His experiences, which include growing a company in the AI space from the ground up, are exactly what our team needs to meet market demand and serve our rapidly growing client base including enterprise and Fortune 500 companies.”

Who is Infinia ML?

Little has been published about Infinia ML, a stealthy startup. It’s website still remains vacant other than a logo.

However, the firm offers a description of its business and technology at LinkedIn:

“Infinia ML empowers companies to make smarter decisions and automate complex business processes by leveraging the latest breakthroughs in machine learning. Infinia ML has a team of leading AI researchers and developers that have published dozens of peer-reviewed papers at leading machine learning conferences and are led by Chief Scientist, Lawrence Carin, Ph.D., …

The company does acknowledge already having between 11 and 50 employees.

‘Aggressive hiring’

Allen sold Automated Insight in 2015 to Vista Equity Partners but remained with the company until deciding to attend graduate school at UNC-CH’s Kenan-Flager.

Infinia ML notes Allen’s experience at Automated Insights and working with artificial intelligence.

Before launching Automated Insights, Allen was Distinguished Engineer at Cisco. He also write several “technical books.” Allen eanred a bachelor of science degree in computer science at East Carolina University as well as two Master’s degrees from MIT. He has been pursuing his Ph.D. in computer science with a focus on artificial intelligence at UNC-CH.

One of his first task, he says, will be “aggressive hiring” of additional talent.

“Due to the global shortage of people that understand complex machine learning techniques such as deep learning, nearly every large enterprise has a backlog of opportunity for our automation and predictive solutions,” Allen said. “Most top machine learning teams are part of west coast companies like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon. Infinia ML provides a new option for technical talent looking to work with leading ML experts in an affordable area with a high quality of living.”

In the announcement, Allen said he expects to be able to recruit people.

“Because of the caliber of Lawrence and the company’s core nucleus of machine learning experts, Infinia ML is in a unique position to attract and train technical experts interested in learning about ML,” he said.

“This is a critical differentiator. Unlike most companies that are limited by the shortage of senior engineers with AI and ML experience, we can leverage our team’s expertise to train our workforce. I’m very excited about the opportunity to work with Lawrence and build a leading machine learning company,”