Home PublicationsData Innovators 5 Q’s with Tony Beltramelli, Co-founder and CEO of Uizard

5 Q’s with Tony Beltramelli, Co-founder and CEO of Uizard

by Martin Makaryan

The Center for Data Innovation spoke with Tony Beltramelli, co-founder and CEO of Uizard, a Copenhagen-based startup that uses machine learning algorithms and AI to help users create designs for websites and mobile apps. Beltramelli spoke about the inspiration behind Uizard, the challenges of innovating at a time when data was more scarce, and the company’s vision for the future. 

Martin Makaryan: What exactly is Uizard, and what makes your product unique? 

Tony Beltramelli: In today’s competitive digital economy, regardless of the specific industry that a business operates in, many organizations need to have an online platform to effectively market their products and services. The visual appeal, user-friendliness, and overall design of a platform plays a big role in a company’s success. That is why user interface (UI) has become so critical and why everyone strives to create a pleasant UI experience for their customers. The challenge we repeatedly see is that designing the perfect interface is really challenging for people and companies.

This is where Uizard comes in. We have built a tool for companies to automate creating the kind of UIs they want. The biggest challenge we identified as we were starting the business was the amount of time it takes developers and designers to design their digital platforms. What makes Uizard unique is that we use AI to exponentially reduce the time spent on the process. We provide easy-to-use AI-powered tools for users to customize their designs based on their vision or needs of their particular industry. Users can generate UI designs from simply inputting text prompts and editing the designs on our platform easily.

Makaryan: How did Uizard come about? 

Beltramelli: Uizard was born from my personal research project in 2017 about how to automate the creation of UIs from images called pix2code. I dedicated my weekends to machine learning and experimenting with AI as a hobby even though I had a full-time job at the time. This was around the time Tesla had started to train self-driving cars and I thought that if we can use technology to train self-driving cars, why can’t we use it to make UI design easier, less time-consuming, and more high quality? 

Then I started reaching out to my co-founders who were working on starting a business with the same vision and mission that I had with pix2code. In 2018, I flew to San Francisco where we all teamed up and decided it was time to launch the first AI-powered platform to bring machine learning into the field of software design. The trip to San Francisco crystallized the vision we had, and the rest became history.

Makaryan: How do you harness data and AI to deliver your design services to customers?

Beltramelli: Uizard is entirely built on the power of AI, and by extension the power of data, to streamline and optimize many things that we as humans do. Data was front and center when we first started. We were in desperate need of as much data as possible to build our product. Unfortunately, we did not have access to the kind of AI resources we do now. This is why I like to say that we were doing UI design with AI before it was cool to do it. We had to get our own data and because of that, we faced a chicken-and-egg problem. On one hand, we needed data to train our pilot model, and on the other hand we needed a model that we could use to showcase the product we were going to market to our customers and to the larger industry.

We decided to generate synthetic data—artificially generated data—through a custom-built computer software. Generating synthetic data in-house helped us avoid copyright infringement challenges in the initial phase and allowed us to train our model before we got access to real data to improve and perfect Uizard. 

Makaryan: What have been some of the biggest challenges you have navigated as a data innovator?

Beltramelli: I was an engineer before helping co-found Uizard and I was fortunate to start the company with a team that also had a strong technical background. To some extent, this background has helped us easily lead the project from the start in terms of the data and AI. 

What I have found the most challenging are the business operations. Starting a business from scratch was the hardest thing I have had to do in my life because it required significant time and energy to prepare for our takeoff. Other business challenges for me as an innovator are managing people and work culture, navigating remote work, and marketing. 

Makaryan: What are your thoughts about the future of Uizard?

Beltramelli: At Uizard, we think that AI will empower people to be more creative, more productive, and create more value in their lives, communities, and businesses. We see AI as a way to augment human intellect and capacity.

We have benefited greatly from the expansion of AI models and have also tried to give back through open reports and other research resources we have shared with the community. Something that we are thinking about in the future is how to empower more marginalized groups, such as minority groups or low-income groups, to create their own businesses with powerful and appealing UIs by giving them the tools they need and can afford. The vision that guides us as we are all moving forward with rapid advancements in AI is how to make it more accessible and more affordable to as many people as possible.

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