Founder and CEO of Unbabel
Dr. Vasco Pedro is the co-founder and CEO of Unbabel. He owns the vision, overall business strategy and sets the direction for Unbabel’s product development. Responsible for the company’s culture, Vasco is heavily involved in recruiting and spearheads Unbabel’s fundraising efforts, which total USD$91 million in venture capital to date. He is a leading presence in the burgeoning Lisbon startup scene, with Unbabel known for being the first Portuguese company to be accepted into the Y Combinator accelerator program. In 2016 he won the Startup Founder of Year award by Startup Portugal, and has mentored several startups both at the Founders Institute and the Lisbon Challenge. He is currently serving on the Financial Board of Beta-i, a startup accelerator based in Lisbon who count the European Commission as one of their institutional partners. Vasco is no stranger to startups. Previous to Unbabel he was the technical founder and VP of Engineering at Dezine (dezine.com), a startup focused on disrupting the way new brands reached potential customers. There, he led the technical team in developing the product. His responsibilities included building a world-class engineering team, building prototypes at breakneck speed and bringing products to market. At Dezine, he worked with Unbabel’s now-CTO, João Graça and two other Unbabel co-founders, Hugo Silva and Bruno Silva who therefore have a long history of professional and personal collaboration together. In 2011, Vasco co-founded a startup called Flashgroup (flashgroup.com), where he was responsible for building the team in Portugal and initial business development deals, and was directly responsible for the first major partner. From 2009 – 2011 he was Founder and CEO of a startup called Bueda, Inc, where he led the vision and was responsible for the creation of a semantic matching platform for user-generated content. He took the company from inception to the successful release of three products and two rounds of funding. Previously in his career, in 2007, he was an Engineering Intern at Google, in the company’s famed HQ in Mountain View, California. His work focused on developing tools for large scale natural language semantic processing. Vasco also has a strong academic background. From 2011-2012 he was an invited Research Professor at the Technical Institute of Lisbon (IST) where he was responsible for the development and coordination of research projects at the intersection of Big Data and Social Network Semantic Analysis. Vasco received his Ph.D. in Computer Science in May 2009 from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), working with Jaime Carbonell and Eric Nyberg. His thesis, titled “Federated Ontology Search,” focused on developing new methods using ontologies (a set of concepts which compartmentalizes variables for computations and establishes the relationships between them) in large scale data-processing scenarios. From 2001-2009 he was a Research Assistant at the Language Technologies Institute, contributing in the field of Question Answering (a computer system capable of answering questions posed in natural language), alongside the team that eventually went on to create IBM’s Watson. Vasco was a Fulbright Scholar, 2001-2005, and was awarded a scholarship from Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), Ph.D. Scholarship, 2006-2010. He is married to Maria João and has four girls aged 12 and under: Beatriz, Mariana, Sofia and Teresa.
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About Beta-i, Replai, Unbabel: Unbabel allows modern enterprises to understand and be understood by their customers in dozens of languages.