Do you dream of being the technical co-founder of an AI-first startup?

Do you want world-class training in applied AI and Deep Learning?

Do you want to pair with experienced entrepreneurs that would be your co-founder?


AI2's CTO Residency program is designed to help talented engineers prepare to become the CTO or key technical member of an early-stage AI startup. We provide 6-12 months of training with a particular focus on strengthening Deep Learning/AI skills while working on real-world projects at the Institute. This is a full-time program complete with salary, benefits, mentorship, and more.

Throughout the program, Residents collaborate with successful entrepreneurs to validate startup ideas. When ready, Residents exit the program and start companies, most likely as founding CTOs with significant co-founder equity. Residents also get to build relationships with the Institute’s extended network of research scientists, engineers, and venture investors.


Competition for the program is fierce and AI2 is looking for the best talent. We expect ideal candidates to come from the following backgrounds:

  • Senior engineers with experiences building large-scale software systems
  • Senior machine learning and data science practitioners with strong interests in engineering
  • Former startup CTOs or technical CEOs

While AI2 is an equal opportunity employer, AI2 is particularly interested in a diverse applicant pool.


Depending on each person's unique background, Residents would pick a subset of the following topics to form a personalized curriculum:

  • Machine Learning: Get up to speed on data science and applied machine learning. Understand how to build, deploy, and manage an ML solution for an MVP product.
  • Deep Learning: Get up to speed on the latest of applied AI, in particular Deep Learning and its application to language, vision, and speech. Understand when to use Deep Learning versus models such as tree-based models, k-nearest neighbor, etc.
  • Startup Engineering: Understand how to build, deploy, and manage an MVP product (web application, mobile application, etc.).
  • Entrepreneurship: Understand the key elements of tech entrepreneurship: market size, business validation, business model, go-to-market strategy, traction, competitive moats, exit strategy, risks, fundraising, cap tables, and more.

Our training approach is based on three principles: (a) provide you with a roadmap and resources to learn, (b) give you access to the best mentors, and (c) encourage you to build projects that showcase or demonstrate these learnings. Much like graduate school, self-starters and motivated learners will be able to get the most out of this program.


The CTO Residency program participants will also pair with several experienced entrepreneurs—possibly including T.A. McCann and Gaurav Oberoi—who have teamed up with AI2 to begin exploring new AI-fueled startup ideas. Participants will also receive coaching and mentorship from Jacob Colker, Vu Ha, Kirby Winfield, and more.


T.A. McCann is widely known and widely respected in the Seattle startup community. He is the founder of Rival IQ, was the founder of Gist (acquired by Blackberry), and is an active angel investor and advisor in over 30 companies including CreativeLive, Zooppa, EveryMove, and Inkwell Media. Additionally, T.A. serves on the board of Guidant and FullContact.

Gaurav Oberoi is also widely known and widely respected in the Seattle startup community. He was the founder of BillMonk (acquired by Obopay), the founder of Precision Polling (acquired by SurveyMonkey), and is also an active angel investor in Estately, Glowforge, Paperflip, and more.

Kirby Winfield is one of the most seasoned startup operators and angel investors in Seattle. He was a founding team member and operating executive at back-to-back tech IPOs, with Go2Net (GNET) and Marchex (MCHX). He also has two more exits as operating CEO, with AdXpose (acquired by comScore) and Dwellable (acquired by HomeAway). Additionally, Kirby is an angel investor in over 20 companies.

Jacob Colker is an early-stage startup leader with 10+ years of experience as CEO, GM, CMO, and 2x founder. He teaches entrepreneurship at the University of Washington Foster Business School and is an active angel investor, mentor, and advisor in the Pacific Northwest. Jacob was formerly a political campaign operative with the Democratic Party.​​

Vu Ha is a senior technical leader with 20+ years of experience, leading teams that have invented technology used by some of the largest companies in the world. Most notably, Vu led applied research and engineering teams at Microsoft's AdCenter Labs, Audience and Bing. He also co-founded and led its development through its first public launch. Vu holds a Ph.D. in AI from the University of Wisconsin where he studied how AI can help people make better decisions.

About AI2

The Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence is a non-profit research institute in Seattle founded by Paul Allen and headed by Professor Oren Etzioni. The core mission of AI2 is to contribute to humanity through high-impact research in artificial intelligence.

Why AI2

In addition to AI2’s core mission, we also aim to contribute to humanity through how we treat each member of the AI2 Team! Some highlights are:

  • We are a learning organization – because everything AI2 does is ground-breaking, we are learning every day. Similarly, through weekly AI2 Academy lectures, a wide variety of world-class AI experts as guest speakers, and our commitment to your personal on-going education, AI2 is place where you will have opportunities to continue learning right alongside us;
  • We value diversity - We seek to hire, support, and promote people from all genders, ethnicities, and all levels of experience regardless of age. We particularly encourage applications from women, non-binary individuals, people of color, members of the LGBTQA+ community, and people with disabilities of any kind.
  • We value inclusion - We understand the value that people's individual experiences and perspectives can bring to an organization, and we are building a culture in which all voices are heard, respected and considered.
  • We emphasize a healthy work/life balance – we believe our team members are happiest and most productive when their work/life balance is optimized. While we value powerful research results which drive our mission forward, we also value dinner with family, weekend time, and vacation time. We offer generous paid vacation and sick leave as well as family leave;
  • We are collaborative and transparent – we consider ourselves a team, all moving with a common purpose. We are quick to cheer our successes, and even quicker to share and jointly problem solve our failures;
  • We are in Seattle – and our office is on the water! We have mountains, we have lakes, we have four seasons, we bike to work, we have a vibrant theater scene, and we have so much else. We even have kayaks for you to paddle right outside our front door;
  • We welcome interest from applicants from outside of the United States;
  • We are friendly  chances are you will like every one of the 70+ (and growing!) people who work here. We do!

AI2 is proud to be an Equal Opportunity employer. We do not discriminate based upon race, religion, color, national origin, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, transgender status, sexual stereotypes, age, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability, or other applicable legally protected characteristics.

If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, you may contact us at or you may call us at 206-548-5600.  

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