The founder of Sportlogiq, a Canadian company bringing AI to athletics, said sentiment surrounding AI has shot up over the past several months – and his business is seizing the moment with a renewed focus on growth.

Sportlogiq leverages AI and data collection for insights into sports. The Montreal-based company provides analytics and other insights to professional sports teams has attracted investment from prominent businessman and ‘Shark Tank’ personality Mark Cuban.

Craig Buntin, the founder and chief executive officer of the Montreal-based company, said in an interview with BNN Bloomberg Friday that it’s been “interesting to watch the hype come back to AI” following the release of ChatGPT and other language generation models. 

“We saw huge hype in AI very early on when machine learning started getting great processing and became accessible,” Buntin said.

That early excitement about AI died down when COVID-19 set in three years ago and investors pivoted focus, he explained, but the trend has since reversed.

“We've seen a lot of it (hype) come back over the last six months.”

Amid this renewed excitement for AI, Buntin said Sportlogiq is now mainly focused on profit. 

“For us, we've just been deadly focused on profitability, on scaling, [and] building valuable products for our customers,” he said. 

Buntin said his company uses shape and motion patterns from individual pixels on a screen. This information is helpful in “assessing what’s happening and creating numbers and labels on events and player tracking” for sporting event,” he said.

“Once you've got all that data, using game models and machine learning, and even in some cases natural language models, to then translate that and turn it into useful information that people who don't build AI can actually engage with, that’s where the critical piece has been,” Buntin said. 

Sportlogiq’s research and development efforts have also benefited from supportive governments, according to Buntin. 

“In Canada and in Quebec, I think we've got a crazy competitive advantage over the rest of the world on that front. If we see an early-stage technology that we know is going to have a massive societal impact, the investment that we have in developing that and creating a lot of that IP [intellectual property], we are world-class,” he said.