About Rulai

Our mission is to create a world in which people and companies can interact without friction or frustration.

Rulai is an Omni-Channel Enterprise Conversational Computing Platform provider. Rooted in academia, the founding team has a combined 200 years experience in AI research, published over 400 research papers and filed over 80 patents in AI. Its SaaS platform enables companies to build automated virtual assistants (VAs) for customer service, marketing, sales, logistics, and HR use cases and has been deployed across a wide variety of industries.

Rulai-powered VAs help companies automate many human-centered processes to create a fast and frictionless experience for employees and customers. Its self-serve platform allows business users to create and evolve bots with minimal use of precious IT resources. Rulai was recently recognized by Forbes, Gartner, Forrester, and Bloomberg.

Management Team

Rulai’s team combines industry veterans, researchers and engineers who each have a depth of experience not typically seen in an early stage company. The team brings to the table backgrounds in artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing, recommendation systems and customer service and engagement strategies.

Yi Zhang


Dr. Zhang is the founder of Rulai. She is a full Professor at University of California, Santa Cruz. She has more than 20 years of experience in AI. She has been a technical adviser for several startups and consultants for companies (HP, Toyota, Alibaba etc.) in industries including AI, security, healthcare, financial, e-commerce and automotive. She has received the U.S. National Science Foundation Faculty Career Award, Best Paper Awards from ACM SIGIR, and research awards/grants from companies, including Google, Microsoft, Ebay, Yahoo, NEC, Nokia and IBM. She has served as program chair, area chair and PC member for top international conferences. Dr. Zhang received her Ph.D. from School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University.

Fuliang Weng

Lead Expert in Speech Technologies

Dr. Fuliang Weng has been working in the field of human language technologies and conversational AI for about 30 years, ranging over speech signal processing, speech recognition, language understanding, dialog system, multi-modal interaction, and intelligent assistance. He has been associated with several leading research institutions in the field, including the LTI of Carnegie Mellon University, the CRL of NMSU, the Speech Lab of Stanford Research Institute, Intel and Bosch Research. Fuliang's contributions include the design and development of the GSL representation and understanding mechanism for Nuance Communications at SRI, the driver for the design and development of conversational intelligent dialogue tech & multi-modal interaction tech at Bosch, and driving force behind the award-wining dialogue system in GM CUE. Fuliang has more than 70 research papers and nearly 70 issued & pending patents.

Jim Diaz

VP of Business Development

Jim is a visionary, hands on, leader known for taking innovative ideas that pair deep learning and natural language processing with differentiated data sets, and turning them into game-changing businesses to generate rising revenue, profits and shareholder ROI. Zero to $300m+ revenues with profitability through IPOs and multi-billion dollar exits more than once. Previously at Excite, Ask Jeeves, Turn, Affine, Shotzoom, Attune.

Joey Pan

VP of Product & Engineering

Prior to joining Rulai, Joey was the SVP of Engineering and Data Science of Affinity Solutions, a Fintech company working with many large banks and FI’s in the US. Before Affinity Solutions, he worked as Head of Data Science for Tapjoy, a leading mobile ad tech company. Before that he was one of the founding engineers of Rocket Fuel, a company pioneering programmatic ad bidding leveraging AI, IPO’d in 2013. His strong passion is to make AI work for the real world.

Advisory Board

Jamie Callan

Jamie Callan is a Professor at the Language Technologies Institute, a graduate department in Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science. His research and teaching focus on text-based information retrieval, large-scale distributed search, federated search, adaptive information filtering, and a variety of text analysis/mining/analytics methods. Jamie has published more than 200 research papers on these and related subjects. Jamie is a past Chair of SIGIR, the international professional society for Information Retrieval research, a co-founding Editor-in-Chief of Foundations and Trends in Information Retrieval, and a past Editor-in-Chief of ACM’s Transactions on Information Systems (TOIS). Jamie is an organizer of 2019 Conversational Assistance Track for Evaluating Conversational Dialogues at TREC.NIST.GOV conducted by National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Wei Xu

Wei is a researcher and pioneer in general artificial intelligence. He was named one of the 20 leading technologists driving China’s AI revolution by Forbes. Wei has more than 20 years’ research experience in AI. In the late 90s, he lead the Communicator Dialog System at Carnegie Mellon University and published the first paper on neural network (i.e. deep learning) for language models in 2000. He was a Distinguished Scientist at Baidu Research, a scientist of Facebook, and a researcher at NEC Laboratories USA. He started and lead the open source deep learning framework PaddlePaddle. He also has developed deep learning visual understanding technologies, and deployed them to the surveillance systems of many US airports around 2005.

Sri Kurniawan

Sri Kurniawan is a professor in the Computational Media Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She was a lecturer at the University of Manchester. Her research is focusing on human–computer interaction, human factors and ergonomics, accessibility, assistive technology, usability, empirical studies, and human-centered design. She has served as general chair and program chair for the International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers & Accessibility.

Gary Hsieh

Dr. Hsieh is an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE) and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington. His research focuses on human–computer interaction, social computing, behavior change and related topics. Dr. Hsieh has served as Associate Chair for ACM CHI and Program co-Chair for HCI Consortium. He has received research grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Health, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Nokia, and Intel. Gary received his PhD in Human–Computer Interaction from the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University.



Beatriz is a business advisor for Rulai, and a award winning director for multiple public and private companies. She has served as the Chairman and CEO of Aspect Communication, senior vice president at Oracle. She is a National Association of Corporate Directors 2016 Directorship 100 Honoree and an NACD Board Leadership Fellow, and was named by Financial Times to its 2013 Top 50 Digital Directors list. Beatriz is an advisor to the Princeton University School of Engineering. She received an undergraduate degree from Princeton University and a graduate degree from California Institute of Technology.