#12 David Hunter of Optimal Labs on Revolutionising Human Nutrition

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By Nasos Papadopoulos, EF Head of Content

David Hunter is the CEO and Co-Founder of Optimal Labs a company that applies cutting-edge deep reinforcement learning to create intelligent autopilots for farms, improving the efficiency, reliability and quality of food production.

High tech greenhouses can produce 10-40x yield of traditional farming and they’re universally scalable and deployable anywhere. And the implications of AI controlled farms are potentially huge – with higher quality food, produced faster and more reliably, people will be able to live better for longer.

David is one of the famous cases of someone who did EF twice – he was on EF4 and after met his Co-Founder Joao on EF7 the idea for Optimal Labs became a reality and before they knew it, they were following farmers around greenhouses in Holland and building solutions to their problems.

He studied Aeronautical Engineering at Imperial and trained as a pilot in the Royal Airforce before going into the banking industry, where he eventually ended up running Deutsche Bank’s quantitative strategies team where his algorithms traded >5% of the European stock market volume.

After going through EF4 he took some time off to earn a Masters in Deep Reinforcement Learning at Oxford before returning to join EF7.

In this episode David and I discuss:

– Why he left his well-paid job at Deutsche Bank to start a company
– What he learned from doing EF and how he applied this knowledge second time around
– The challenges he’s overcome along the way and his tips on hiring and seeking advice

This was a fascinating conversation that will not only give you an insight into the future of nutrition but will also show you the resilience and continuous learning that entrepreneurs have to apply in their lives.

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