A Slice on Eric Jensen, Co-Founder and CTO of Causality Link
Eric Jensen went from growing up on a farm to revolutionizing the technology world. Jensen dabbled in stocks as a hobby, then saw a huge opportunity to utilize advanced technology in the financial markets. From Director of Engineering to CTO, Jensen had a calling to step out on his own and become an entrepreneur. Jensen then took on the title of co-founder and CTO at Causality Link, an artificial intelligence and natural language processing platform used to better understand financial markets. To date, Causality Link is in its series A and has raised $5 million in funding.
Attending the University of Utah on a scholarship for computer science, Jensen gained an extensive educational background in the computer science world. Branching out from the technical side, Jensen started to become interested in the educational side. He focused his master’s thesis on encouraging more diversity in the ranks of new students they were trying to recruit. Although the technology stocks and recruitment were all down at the time, Jensen seized the opportunity to get involved in the curriculum, harnessing his passion for education. “I helped design some of what became the gaming studio. They were trying to marry together artists and other professions with computer science, to excite the crowd a little bit more.” Jensen and his team were finding success and growing the company while disrupting the technology industry and learning a lot at the same time. He was able to sell and successfully exit the company in 2014, and was able to “jump” into his hobby… stocks.
Jensen consistently watched the stock markets, simply because of his interest in wanting to understand trading and the financial markets as a whole. He started trading “a little bit” with the money he had saved and what he acquired from selling his previous company. Then, Jensen had a lightbulb moment and figured he could combine his hobby with his professional life. “I had this sense that, even though I was not a professional, the way the news was being distributed to the world was really insufficient. It was very hit or miss. You would go to portals and try to figure out why something major had happened, and it took me way longer to establish that was something simple… The fact that I might only have five or six companies I invest in, and it takes me two hours to come up to speed every day, seemed really inefficient.” So then, Jensen decided to share his insights with a friend, Pierre Haren. Haren, bringing a background in artificial intelligence (AI), teamed up and founded Causality Link.
Jensen recalls his fundraising experience with Causality Link taking longer than expected. He had a lot of expectations for investors he wanted to bring on because he wasn’t looking for a “small ticket” investment. Jensen was looking for millions of dollars in funding from the get-go and didn’t want to have hundreds of different investors funding his company. “You want to have a relationship [with the investors]. It’s not just the money, it’s about the experience and guidance, and everything else has to be a good fit on both sides.” Jensen set out to receive funding from California and New York, and eventually went with investors that he had already built positive relationships with. Even though he had previously built relationships, it was still hard work to receive funding. “They still need to be convinced that it’s a business model and that there is a need for what you’re trying to build. You can’t be lazy and you can’t be laissez-faire about that expectation, especially if you want to preserve that network and that connection with that person… It’s almost harder in some sense because you know that burning the relationship, burning the opportunity, is going to have more of an impact on you, especially if it’s someone who’s closer to your network, or that is well known in the Valley.”
Success means more than just financial or growth metrics to Jensen, it’s more about how people perceive the company. Whether that be internal or external perceptions, he gets satisfaction out of being published in an article and being able to share success with his team. Jensen notes that it’s not “just all about him” and he wouldn’t have been successful without his team and network of friends. “I want them to feel like they’re part of something special, and that’s part of the magic of startups that’s really hard to hold onto.” These shared wins ultimately give Jensen the drive to move onto the next step with Causality Link.