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Unveiling the Innovation Behind SESAMm: A Conversation with Sylvain Forté

In the dynamic realm of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) data analytics, SESAMm, one of our portfolio companies, stands out as a beacon of innovation. Recently, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Sylvain Forté, CEO and co-founder of SESAMm, during the Raiffeisen Bank International Innovation Day. In this exclusive interview, Sylvain provides insights into the origins of the company, its groundbreaking technology, and the challenges faced on the journey to success.

  • By Mara Ene
  • 3 min read

Suleiman Arabiat and Sylvain Forté Image

A Passion for AI and a Vision for Change

SESAMm was born out of a shared passion for artificial intelligence (AI) and a desire to apply it to real-world challenges. Sylvain and his co-founders embarked on this journey in 2014 while still in engineering school, aiming to leverage AI to analyze sentiment in the stock market. The initial focus on sentiment analysis gradually evolved into a specialized niche: ESG controversy analysis.

SESAMm specializes in detecting ESG controversies by searching through billions of documents by using AI. The aim is to uncover environmental, social, and governance issues that may pose risks to companies. This involves monitoring events that violate frameworks like the UN Global Compact, ensuring that companies align with their stated commitments.

Overcoming Challenges and Fostering Future Innovation

Navigating the intricate landscape of artificial intelligence, SESAMm encountered a pivotal challenge: determining the precise focus for its powerful AI technology. In this journey, Sylvain emphasizes the importance of focus in a startup’s journey, steering the technology toward applications that address specific business needs. SESAMm’s success is a testament to their ability to navigate complexities and align technology with market demands.

Preparing to unveil the future of ESG data analytics, SESAMm sees boundless opportunities in private markets, particularly within asset management and corporate sectors. The company’s distinctive ability to extend controversy assessment to millions of private companies sets SESAMm apart. Sylvain sees potential in strengthening their position in private equity, expanding in the American market, and forging partnerships with rating agencies and ESG consulting firms.

Motivating Teams and Enjoying the Journey

In the ever-shifting landscape of technology and business, the strength and resilience of a team take center stage. Facing challenges like the seismic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the breakneck pace of AI advancements requires more than just technical know-how; it demands a united and motivated group. SESAMm gets this and has diligently crafted a comprehensive strategy to keep its team inspired and motivated. For Sylvain, deriving fulfillment from the day-to-day challenges isn’t a luxury; it’s a strategic imperative essential for the long-term sustainability and triumph of the team.

SESAMm exemplifies the spirit of innovation and adaptability that are crucial for success in today’s rapidly evolving landscape. As they continue to revolutionize ESG data analytics, SESAMm remains at the forefront of providing valuable insights to asset managers, banks, and corporations navigating the complexities of sustainable investing. We as investors are proud to be part of SESAMm’s journey and look forward to witnessing their continued impact on the world of AI-driven ESG analysis.

Listen to the whole conversation with Sylvain on our You Tube channel: A chat with the founders — SESAMm — YouTube
Check out SESAMm’s website, its products and activity:

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